Live, from Asylum Hill Congregational Church, It’s Easter Service

04/11/1971 |


CBS broadcast the Easter service from Asylum Hill Congregational Church live to a national audience. 

  1. The choir began rehearsing the timing of their pieces at 8:30.
  2. Someone from CBS asked Richard Einsel to wear a bright blue robe rather than the black one he chose.
  3. The choir took its usual coffee and pastry break before the service.
  4. The broadcast began at 11:00.
  5. As Bernard Drew rose to give his sermon, the stage manager informed him that the broadcast was running long, so Drew cut two minutes from his sermon on the fly.
  6. The choir, which had 25 members, sang “Hallelujah Chorus.”
  7. The broadcast ended precisely at noon.
  8. Bernard Seabrooks complimented the CBS program director on a job well done.
  9. The CBS crew of 25 began to break down their equipment.

  1. In addition to “Hallelujah Chorus,” the choir also sang “Entrata Festiva,” “O Clap Your Hands,” and “Achieved Is They Glory.”
  2. An usher watched the service on one of several color televisions in the vestry.
  3. WTIC taped the broadcast in order to show it to the church members at a later date.

  1. Bernard Drew gave a sermon on the radio on January 17, 1954.
  2. The CBS crew began setting up for today’s broadcast yesterday.

Bernard Drew’s retirement as minister would be officially announced on December 6, 1972.

  1. “’Today, quite unashamedly,’ [Drew] said, ‘I shall proclaim another way of facing death – the Christian way. For the Christian, death is a comma separating one phrase from another with the sentence of life – a sentence which is set in the structure of the everlasting.’”
  2. “’I cut about two minutes,’ said Dr. Drew. ‘I just speeded up.  I’ve never found it very much different to preach to a few or to many.  It would embarrass me just as much to fail in front of 10 [as] it would be in front of 10 million.’”

  1. The broadcast was directed from a truck parked on Huntington Street.
  2. Bernard Seabrooks was the CBS producer in charge of the broadcast. He was the first African American to work as a producer at CBS.
  3. Richard Einsel was the choir director.

Hall, Ann, “TV to Air Services from City Church,” Hartford Courant, March 23, 1971, page 1A.

Kauffman, Bruce, “City minister preaches Easter sermon to millions via TV,” Hartford Courant, April 12, 1971, page 5.

Asylum Hill Congregational Church


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