Showing posts from April, 2018

Easter Bells

The Fifth Sunday of Easter
April 29, 2018

In the next three editions of Praying Twice, we'll focus on some of the people who provide musical leadership for worship at Trinity Cathedral. At today's 10:30 Eucharist, you will hear festive Easter music played by our Handbell Ensemble.

Bells have long been associated with Easter joy. Throughout the season, you have heard Trinity's historic tower bells, small bells (and occasional sets of car keys) rung during the Gloria in excelsis at the Great Vigil of Easter, and even a bell stop (zimbelstern) on our pipe organ. 
Handbells were originally invented to allow ringers to practice long, complicated tower bell peals without disturbing the entire neighborhood. By the 20th century, composers began writing music specifically for groups of ringers. In addition, handbells play a role in liturgical music, accompanying psalms, hymns, and chants.
Our Trinity Cathedral Handbell Ensemble is directed by Janeen Jensen and involves 4-8 adult volunte…

Good Shepherd Sunday

The Fourth Sunday of Easter
April 22, 2018

The Fourth Sunday of Easter is often called "Good Shepherd Sunday." The lessons reflect the image of Christ as the Good Shepherd. Psalm 23 is appointed for this day.
Many favorite hymns and anthems incorporate this theme, and we will sing several of them today. Our offertory anthem is a lyrical, contemporary setting by William Bradley Roberts - "Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us." The Rev. Dr. Roberts is Professor of Church Music and Virginia Theological Seminary and a widely respected composer of church music. The gentle, lyrical melody floats peacefully over a serene organ accompaniment. Listen to a recording: Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us
A favorite hymn for this day is "The King of love my shepherd is" (St. Columba), a lovely Irish tune paired with a metrical paraphrase of Psalm 23. It is a hymn often requested for funerals, but it is also especially suited to this day. We will sing it during Communion. Here is a…

Composer Michael McCabe

The Third Sunday of Easter April 15, 2018

Sing to the Lord a new song! -Psalm 96
Easter - a celebration of new life in Christ - serves as the perfect season for the creation and offering of new music. Our cathedral celebrates Nebraska composers, and we're blessed by a wealth of talent in this state.
Today, our Cathedral Choir sings an anthem by Omaha composer and organist Michael McCabe. McCabe began his study of piano and organ as a child. As a student at Creighton University, McCabe was appointed university organist and choir director. During a 20 year military career, various assignments provided McCabe with unique opportunities to study with leaders in the field of Anglican church music, including Leo Sowerby, David McK. Williams, Thomas Matthews, and Dale Wood. McCabe has served numerous churches, including Grace Cathedral in San Francisco. As a published composer, McCabe was elected to ASCAP in 1972, and his ASCAP credits include NBC Television, foreign and domestic recordings, …

Hail Thee, Festival Day!

The Second Sunday of Easter
April 8, 2018

In the Episcopal Church, Easter isn't a day - it's a season. The Great Fifty Days of Easter continue through the Day of Pentecost. The season is marked by festive music and joyful worship. "Alleluias" have returned and appear throughout the liturgy from the opening acclamation to the dismissal. The Paschal candle burns brightly throughout the season.

The season is set apart through our service music which is used throughout the Great Fifty Days. We sing the Gloria in excelsis (Glory to God in the highest) and Sanctus (Holy, holy, holy) from the festive mass setting by William Mathias. Instead of a sequence hymn, we sing an Alleluia before the reading of the gospel. In this ancient tradition, the choir sings a verse related to the specific gospel lesson for each Sunday, and the congregation frames that verse with joyful alleluias before and after. The Fraction Anthem (sung at the breaking of the bread) specifically refers to the …