Congregational Church in Sayville to host award-winning vocalist

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The interior of the Sayville Congregational Church, built in 1888, is a stunner, with its dark wood, ceiling designed like a ship’s hull, and 18 stained-glass windows.

But its beauty will be heightened on Saturday, Dec.14, with the harmony of song when Marieann Meringolo brings her show “In the Spirit” to this sanctuary. The performance starts at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20.

Meringolo has been lauded by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Broadway World for her superb singing, including her recent sold-out stint at Feinstein’s/ 54 Below. She is a MAC Award-winning recording artist and Back Stage Bistro Award-winner for Outstanding Vocalist, and besides Feinstein’s, has performed at such clubs as the Rose Theater Jazz at Lincoln Center and The Iridium.

Her powerful, sensitive voice will, well, raise the roof.

She’ll be accompanied by Doyle Newmyer on piano, Josh Marcum on bass and Brian Woodruff on drums.

Get set to sway to classic holiday songs like “Silver Bells.”

So how did pastor Ray Bagnuolo get to this voice stunner?

“I serve on the Arts Project at Cherry Grove; it’s the oldest continuous LGBTQ performing arts theater in the country,” Bagnuolo said as sunlight glowed through The Good Shepherd window. “Each summer we have about 12 shows and events for the community.” Those who performed include Broadway and movie stars like Liza Minnelli and Chita Rivera.  “Debbie Reynolds did her last performance at the Grove before passing away that year,” Bagnuolo explained of the well-known classic film star/singer and Carrie Fisher’s (Princess Leia) mom.

Meringolo was one of the hit performers there last year. “I’ve been wanting to add to the talent in Sayville that brings us together as a community, and when I approached her, I thought of a holiday show,” Bagnuolo said.

“It’s really my favorite show,” said Meringolo in a phone interview. “And when I met Ray at Cherry Grove and he asked, it was my first response to the show, to get the message out. Also, Long Island is where I’m from. I started out at Theatre Three in Port Jefferson, apprenticed there, and was in early productions.” Meringolo sang in Longwood High School’s choir and started vocalizing in her elementary years and at home. She is also part of an inspiration-singing group and is a soloist at Unity Church in Manhattan. “I just did this concert at Feinstein’s/54 Below just this weekend, which I’m bringing to you guys, and my high school friends came out to support me,” she said.

Get set to be part of the cheering section along with Meringolo’s family.

Bagnuolo said there was a lot of music involved in worship, but hoped to have more concerts; last year’s Christmas concert was “Emmanuel: The Folk, Blues, Good News Musical.”

“The primary thing was to bring a gift to the community during this special season and coming together,” Bagnuolo said. “When we have an artist like Marieann, it’s an expression of God.”

The Sayville Congregational United Church of Christ will host award-winning vocalist Marieann Meringolo, performing “In the Spirit,” on Dec. 14 at 7:30 p.m. It’s a 75-minute show. The church is located at 131 Middle Road, Sayvillle. Tickets are $20 per person and are available online at www.sayvillechristmas.org or by calling 631-589-1519. Part of the proceeds will aid the church’s benevolence ministry.

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