Casey Crosby in Concert in the reformed Church Unterstrass in Zurich


As the son of a Baptist minister, Crosby has a special bond with churches: His first audience as a pianist was the believers in his father’s church. As soon as Crosby started to play the piano aged ten, he musically contributed to the services in his father’s church. Since Crosby often takes inspiration for his music from childhood memories, many of his own compositions reflect events and memories from the time he spent in churches. Therefore he likes to play his original music in churches. He deliberately chose the Reformed Church Unterstrass in Zurich as a venue for his solo piano concert July 7th 2018. The church is situated in the city center of Zurich. Although Crosby does not reside in the city center of Zurich itself, he considers Zurich his hometown and he likes to play concerts where he feels home. Furthermore he loves the beautifully colored windows of the church with the 45 m bell tower and the neo-Gothic style of the church: “Anytime you expect the Hunchback of Notre-Dame to show up”, Crosby laughs.

The church was built between 1883 and 1884 in neo-Gothic style by the architect Paul Reber. About 80 years later, the interior of the church was completely renovated and alternated so that the nave results as a transept. The reactions to the radical changes of the interior were mixed: Some people were pleased that the neo-Gothic “kitsch” was gone, others were appalled to find a transept with benches set in a semicircle. The semicircle-like arrangement of the benches should reflect the democratic character of the Swiss reformed church and lay the focus on the community.

Franz Carl Opitz created the beautifully colored windows in the church on the west side in 1965. They display mainly biblical themes such as a vine, a symbol for Jesus Christ, angels, fishery scenes and doves. The rainbow in the first window symbolizes the connection between God and all creatures. The windows on the east side were created in 1997 and display abstract motives. Opitz was inspired by a journey through Greece and display beaches with rocks and sand, the sea with water and waves.

Crosby wrote the song “Hymn” as a memory of the Wednesday night services in his father’s church where the believers would gather and pray for each other.

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