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Sunday Music Musings March 4, 2023

March 4, 2023

Sunday’s prelude by Ohio organist Janet Rupp Linker’s Reflection on ‘Lift High the Cross’ sets the tune clearly and meditatively in the right hand. Janet Linker (b.1938) received her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Organ Performance from Capital University and The University of Michigan (with Marilyn Mason).  She held church positions in Lubbock and Waco, Texas, Sacramento, California and Columbus, Ohio. She is now organist at Trinity United Methodist Church in Upper Arlington, Ohio. Mrs. Linker’s first teaching position was at Texas Tech Univ. in Lubbock, Texas. She taught at the Capital University Conservatory of Music for over 30 years. For many years she played for various events at the Ohio Theatre, on the well-known “Mighty Morton” theatre organ.

The school choirs will lead us as cantors in McNeil Robinson’s Kyrie (Hymnal S-88). Robinson (1943-2015) chaired the organ department at the Manhattan School of Music for more than two decades, and served as organist at many of New York City’s most celebrated houses of worship including the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, the Church of the Holy Family (United Nations), Park Avenue Christian Church, Park Avenue Synagogue, and Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church. Please echo back the congregation response enthusiastically!

The choristers will then stay an extra 5 minutes so they can sing a favorite right in the context for the psalm: a duet setting of Psalm 121, I Lift up my Eyes by renowned Lutheran musician Paul Bouman (1918-2019). This appeared on the Grace Church CD we recorded in a studio over 20 years ago.

Our anthem goes with the gospel, God So Loved the World and as an alternative to the famous chestnut by John Stainer we will sing a setting by Bob Chilcott (b. 1955), with the Daughters of Zion as the soprano solo, coming from the back gallery. Robert “Bob” Chilcott is a British choral composer, conductor, and singer based in Oxford, England. He sang in the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, both as a boy and as a university student. In 1985, he joined the King’s Singers, singing tenor for 12 years.

The Presentation hymn is an old favorite, My Faith Looks up to Thee, to the tune OLIVET by American music educator Lowell Mason (1792 – 1872). The author, Ray Palmer (b. Little Compton, RI, 1808; d. Newark, NJ, 1887) is often considered to be one of America’s best nineteenth-century hymn writers. After completing grammar school he worked in a Boston dry goods store, but a religious awakening prodded him to study for the ministry. He attended Yale College and was ordained in 1835, going on to pastor Congregational churches in Bath, Maine (1835-1850), and Albany, New York (1850-1865). He wrote these words while employed as a teacher at a private girls’ school in New York. He had experienced a difficult year of illness and loneliness and was inspired to write this verse one night after meditating on a German poem that depicted a sinner kneeling before the cross of Christ. Two years later he showed them to composer Lowell Mason in Boston. Mason’s prophecy that Palmer “will be best known to posterity as the author of ‘My Faith Looks Up to Thee’ ” has certainly come true. (

At communion we will sing Now Let Us all With One Accord, with gentle handbell parts for the choristers. The tune BOURBON is a southern folk tune attributed to Freeman Lewis (1780-1859), a Pennsylvania surveyor. The words are attributed to Pope Gregory the Great (540-604) who also had all of Western plainchant attributed to him (because he organized and reformed much of the liturgy) – hence “Gregorian” chant.

The closing hymn of the day is The God of Abraham Praise to the tune of LEONI (a Hebrew tune also known as Yigdal). The text is attributed to Daniel ben Judah, a Jewish liturgical poet who lived in Rome in the middle of the fourteenth century, as paraphrased by Thomas Olivers (1725-1799), an itinerant minister, and for a while, associate of John Wesley.

The postlude is an exciting Toccata on “The God of Abraham Praise” by the prolific Michael Burkhardt (b.1957), choral clinician, organ recitalist, and hymn festival leader, who is currently Director of Worship and the Arts at Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Livonia, Michigan.

Luckily I have written about much of this music before, because it is time for me to dress for my Harmonium Choral Society concert tonight (7:30) and tomorrow at 3 in Morristown. I hope some of you can come–I so so happy with this amazing variety of music about the moon! You can read the program notes here. We have a really cool handpan player in the first piece!


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