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A rare and valuable late 17th-century manuscript, confirmed to be that of composer/singer William Turner (1651-1740), was acquired by Western Illinois University in 2010, according to Music Librarian Rod Sharpe. A March 19 Restoration Cathedral Music Symposium — sponsored by Western Illinois University Libraries, the School of Music, the Visiting Lectures Committee and the Council on Student Activities Funds — will center on this rare and valuable manuscript.
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WIU Restoration Cathedral Music Symposium March 19

March 5, 2013

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MACOMB, IL – Western Illinois University Libraries, the School of Music, the Visiting Lectures Committee and the Council on Student Activities Funds are sponsoring Restoration Cathedral Music: A Symposium from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 19 in the University Union Lincoln Room.

According to Music Librarian Rod Sharpe, the symposium will center on WIU's recent acquisition of a rare and valuable late-17th century manuscript of English church music.

"In 2010 the WIU School of Music received an anonymous donation of a bound notebook containing English church music: a full service – settings of the canticles for morning prayer (mattins) and evening prayer (evensong) – and two anthems (psalm settings)," Sharpe explained. "The manuscript was placed in the care of Western's music library, where research confirmed it is written in the hand of William Turner (1651-1740), a composer and singer regarded as one of the most important musicians of the Restoration period (1660-1710). Apart from the anthem 'Try me, O God,' the music is otherwise unknown and appears to be unique to this source."

Sharpe said when it was determined that all but one of the pieces in this manuscript are apparently unique to it—not known in any other source—he wanted to do something to honor the historical significance of this discovery and came up with idea of the symposium.

"The symposium will cover music in Restoration England, an assessment of the manuscript and the University Singers will perform a program of music of the period, including excerpts from the manuscript. As a result of the historical significance of this discovery, we were able to invite presenters of international repute," Sharpe noted.

A complete list of the speakers and discussion times can be found at

WIU School of Music Professor and Director of the University Singers James Stegall will direct the choral group in a concert performance at 12:45 p.m. at the Wesley United Methodist Church.

"This is a wonderful opportunity for the University Singers to perform a historical piece," Stegall said. "The students have been practicing for weeks and are excited to perform something that may not have been heard in centuries."

The symposium and the concert are open free to the public. Attendees are encouraged to register their attendance at

Participants are not require to attend all events, and are welcome to come and go as they please. For more information, contact Sharpe at or call (309) 298-2039 or (309) 298-1105.

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