Showing posts from November, 2018

Advent Begins

The First Sunday of Advent
December 2, 2018

The season of Advent, which begins today, marks the beginning of a new liturgical year.  The liturgical color for the season is purple.  The candles of the Advent wreath mark our progress through the four Sundays of preparation for the coming of Christ at Christmas.  Advent service music is more contemplative in tone, including the ancient Trisagion.  Greenery takes the place of flowers on the altar to help set this season apart.  Advent hymns and readings help us prepare our hearts and minds for the gift of Christ’s Incarnation and the joy of Christmas. 
Over the course of the four Sundays of Advent, we will sing many of the great Advent hymns contained in The Hymnal 1982. If you want to know more about Advent, read and reflect on Hymns 53 through 76 during the coming weeks. I also encourage you to consider purchasing the Advent book selection from the Canon's Bookshelf: Let Every Heart Prepare by Barbara Cawthorne Crafton. Through the wi…

Christ the King

The Last Sunday after Pentecost
Christ the King
November 25, 2018

Christ in Judgment, Florence, Italy, c. 1300. Vanderbilt Divinity Library.

Today is the Last Sunday after Pentecost, known as Christ the King Sunday. As the liturgical year draws to a close, this day celebrates Christ's kingship and sovereign rule over  all creation. Festive hymns and anthems are a hallmark of this glorious celebration. We will welcome a new year next Sunday as Advent begins.
One of the great hymns we will sing is "King of glory, king of peace," a poem by the Anglican priest and poet, George Herbert (1593-1633). As you read the text and listen to the recording, reflect on its message of praise and adoration that is central to this day. We are called to sing God's praises with our "utmost art," "seven whole days, not one in seven." May God's grace be with us as we renew our baptismal vows and prepare to enter a new year of prayer, community, and service.

King of glory…

Lamb of God

The Twenty-sixth Sunday after Pentecost
November 18, 2018

During my sabbatical last summer, I spent time working on several musical composition projects. One of those was a mass setting for unison voices and handbells. Our Cantate and Laudate Choirs are premiering one movement of the mass setting - "Lamb of God" - at today's 10:30 Eucharist. Members of the Cantate Choir have also learned and memorized the handbell accompaniment. 
I started composing in elementary school, and it is one of my passions. I believe that it is important for children and adults to understand that our church's musical tradition continues to bloom and flourish as contemporary composers create new settings of both ancient and modern texts. In addition to singing the classics of the sacred repertoire, we seek to offer the best music of our own time to the glory of God. As a teacher and choral conductor, I encourage all of our children to develop their creative gifts. It's especially important …

Remembering the Armistice

The Twenty-fifth Sunday after Pentecost
November 11, 2018

Today is the 100th anniversary of the Armistice marking the end of World War I - the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. We are joining with churches throughout the country and around the world in tolling our tower bells 21 tunes at 11:00 a.m. as we remember all who died in the "war to end all wars."

In the Church of England, the liturgical calendar designates today as "Remembrance Sunday." Although we have no such designation in the Episcopal Church, we are acknowledging the historical significance of this day through music.
Our communion anthem is "In Remembrance" by Canadian composer, Eleanor Daley (b. 1955).

This anthem is a movement from her Requiem (1993). Like many 20th and 21st century composers, Daley combines the traditional Latin prayers from the mass for the dead with settings of non-liturgical, poetic texts. Daley chose to set this anonymous poem, "Do not stand at my grave an…

Sing a Song of the Saints of God

All Saints' Sunday
November 4, 2018

I sing a song of the saints of God faithful and brave and true...
Today is All Saints' Sunday, and we will celebrate by singing several of the great hymns of faith appropriate for this day. One of those is an ever-popular and distinctly British children's hymn, "I sing a song of the saints of God."
Lesbia Scott (1898-1986) wrote a number of children's hymns during the 1920s. She was the wife of an Anglican priest and created hymns to assist in the religious education of her own children and those in the parishes her husband served. Her most famous hymn, "I sing a song," was included in The Hymnal 1940 and quickly became a part of the Episcopal Church's repertoire. The lighthearted tune, Grand Isle, was composed by John Henry Hopkins, a priest and musician who was a member of the 1940 hymnal committee. The hymn was retained in The Hymnal 1982, and it remains popular with children and adults. It was chosen as number …