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Sunday Music Musings June 11, 2022

June 12, 2022

I am so happy to celebrate another choir year, get a chance to thank choir members and acolytes and hear senior sermons from kids once in the red choir! Five new choristers and 4 adults will receive their first year crosses and all the other kids are recognized with new color ribbons representing their years of service.

5. Let every instrument be tuned for praise!

Let all rejoice who have a voice to raise!

And may God give us faith to sing always: Hallelujah!

Our processional hymn is When in Our Music God is Glorified, (Hymnal #420) tune (ENGLEBERG) originally by the great late Romantic Irish composer Charles Villiers Stanford (1852-1924), and text by the Rev. Fred Pratt Green (1903-2000)-one of the most important 20th century hymn composers. According to hymnary.org the text “is the only hymn text in Christendom that explains the reasons for church music while simultaneously offering “alleluias” to God. The various stanzas deal with our humility in performance (verse. 1), the aesthetics of musical worship (verse. 2), and the history of church music (verse. 3). The final two stanzas present a biblical model (verse. 4) and quote Psalm 150 (verse. 5).”

The prelude is Robert Hobby’s joyful setting which sets this tune clearly in the trumpet in the left hand, and later in canon between hands and feet. Hobby is a prolific composer and church musician who serves as Director of Music for Trinity English Lutheran Church, Fort Wayne, Indiana. Hobby received his Bachelor’s Degree in Church Music from Wittenberg University in 1985 and a Master’s Degree in Organ Performance from the University of Notre Dame in 1987.

The School Choirs Song of Praise is a piece by Jim Papoulis (b. 1961) that affirms their inner life. “Now I am learning the spirit within me, and that is the reason I’m standing so tall.” When I Close My Eyes is a favorite and we actually sang it for a year of zoom choir just because it is so loved. I am so proud of these children and the leadership and singing they have done under challenging circumstances!

Jim Papoulis’ work focuses on combining the music of his roots – classical and jazz. As well as having his work performed all over the world, he is passionately dedicated to Arts in the Schools programs. As a composer he loves to write for young people, often using their own words. He is also active as a professional percussionist in New York City.

In place of the psalm, the adults are singing God of All Creation by my RSCM colleague David Kelley, Minister of Music at Church of the Holy Comforter in Vienna, Virginia, He has broad classical training, including a Doctorate in Organ Performance from Peabody Conservatory; degrees in Music Theory, Composition, and Liturgical Music; and professional certificates from the American Guild of Organists.

The text is newly written text by the Reverend Canon Gordon Giles (b. 1966)

God of all creation,

for whom the church, in liturgy and song,

has borne faithful witness through the centuries;

let us be your instruments of praise,

that in us may be found that new dimension of sound

which tunes our souls and bodies to the infinite beauty of your truth

and the profound glory of your eternal light.

This week we had two college Gargoyles return and sing with us, and what with the state of the world, we really wanted to sing a gorgeous and moving piece, Kurt Bestor’s The Prayer of the Children. Originally written for young victims of the war in Sarajevo, it is dedicated to all young victims of war and gun violence. Here is a deep dive into the story of its creation. http://www.kurtbestor.com/prayer-of-the-children#story-behind-prayer-of-the-children. I am so moved by the dedication of these guys, and happy that we could end our rehearsal with the traditional trip to McCools.

The Daughters of Zion (including 3 of Sunday’s preachers, Mia, Claire and Niamh) have learned a few pieces from the Justice Choir Songbook over the past 2 years, and will sing When We are Singing at the beginning of communion. “When we are singing, we are bound together…“ (lyrics and arr. Kevin T. Padworski from a  Mexican hymn, Somos del Señor).

Our communion hymn will be Dr. Anne’s favorite, King of Glory, King of Peace, #382. I don’t know which I love more, the words by George Herbert, or the tune by David Charles Walker, named after General Seminary in New York City (remember, hymn means text, and tunes are usually named for places).

Walker died in 2018—here is an excerpt from his obituary: “The Rev. David Charles Walker, Class of 1973 (General Seminary), — priest, chaplain, organist and composer — died Dec. 3, 2018. He served as chaplain and director of pastoral care at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles from 1991 – 2003 and previously served congregations in San Diego, Beverly Hills, and Brooklyn New York. Walker also served General as Organist and Director of Music. After serving three years on General’s faculty, he moved to parish life, becoming rector of St. Philip’s, Dyker Heights-Brooklyn for the next four years. In 1980 he moved to San Diego to become associate rector at All Souls’ Church. Five years later, he began his ministry in the Diocese of Los Angeles as associate for worship and pastoral care at All Saints, Beverly Hills. Walker became interim priest-in-charge at St. Luke’s, Monrovia, in 1990 before moving to Good Samaritan Hospital, by then a century-old diocesan institution, where he served as chaplain and director of pastoral care until his retirement.”

George Herbert (1593-1633) is one of my favorite poets: a Welsh-born metaphysical poet, orator, and priest. Just a few weeks ago, we sang “The Call.”

Our closing hymn is When the Morning Stars Together (WEISSE FLAGGEN) by British minister Albert F. Bayly (1901-1984), also known for “Lord Whose Love through Humble Service.” The kids have a joyous bell part and there is a descant by yours truly, and possibly some dramatic text painting with organ and cymbals…

Henry, our organ scholar will play a grand postlude: The Toccata from Suite gothique by French composer Léon Boëllmann (1862 –1897).

We will conclude with more thank-yous, and some special farewells in the coffee hour! Please take a moment to thank a choir singer or acolyte, and bid adieu to our Chapel Choir co-director, Claudia, who is moving to Colombia to finish high school. She has given so much to the choirs, especially the little ones, and me in particular, and her parents Diana and Stuart have been so supportive of our program here.

Bless, O Lord, us thy servants,

who minister in thy temple.

Grant that what we sing with our lips,

we may believe in our hearts,

and what we believe in our hearts,

we may show forth in our lives.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Amen.

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