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Ubi caritas

Posted by Jason, September 15, 2017

One of my favorite hymn texts comes from the canon of Gregorian chants – Ubi caritas. The text traditionally is sung on Maundy Thursday, when we hear about Jesus washing the disciples’ feet and calling for us to show love to one another. The translation of the text is:

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In quires and places where they sing

Posted by Jason, June 7, 2017

If I were to approach the clergy or vestry at any church and say, “Hey, I’ve got 50+ people who are looking to donate 3 to 4 hours each week to the church from September to June, is that OK?” I cannot imagine that they would not jump for joy in response. But perhaps you don’t realize that is what our choirs offer each week, and sometimes more.

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An Easter Trifecta: Jesus, Bach, and Dolly

Posted by Jason, April 20, 2017

Happy Easter! It is unfortunate that the music of Easter has never caught on in society like the music of Christmas. Walk into any shopping mall and it’s doubtful you’ll hear orchestral arrangements of Welcome, happy morning or Hail thee, festival day blaring through the speakers. Similarly, nobody is clamoring for Beyoncé to record an Easter album with the hope that she’ll include He is risen!

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On Our Way Rejoicing!

Posted by Jason, February 23, 2017

About five or six years ago, Christ Church began a program entitled “Kids of Note.” Using the financial offerings donated at Lessons and Carols each December, we began supporting a marvelous group of young junior high students who had shown strong abilities in both music and academics. These young individuals were all former band students of parishioner Kristi Thomas. Over the years we’ve been able to purchase instruments for these students, provide support to allow them to attend school activities, and participate in other opportunities that would have been financially impossible for them.

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A Warm Welcome

Posted by Jason, January 4, 2017

I am not a morning person. And those who know me well know it’s best to avoid interaction with me before 10:00 am (and sadly, coffee doesn’t make any difference). Thus, each week, it’s a challenge to be “ready to go” on Sunday mornings at 8:00 a.m. A former rector of mine in Alabama, who shared my dislike of mornings, would often complain about how “Holy Mother Church somehow got confused and forgot that it’s the Last Supper we are remembering, and not the Last Breakfast.”

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Listening More Carefully

Posted by Jason, November 2, 2016

When I was in graduate school, one of my organ professors was part of a panel of judges adjudicating an organ competition. One player after the next would perform the same repertoire. With but a few exceptions, I thought all of the players sounded alike. In my lesson the following week, I made this comment to my professor. He smiled and said, “Yes, it could all sound alike.”

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Newport Revelations

Posted by Jason, August 31, 2016

In early August, I was fortunate once again to attend the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM) training course in Newport, Rhode Island. Every summer these weeklong courses are held throughout the country. Each course has its own make up – some are for boys only, some for girls only, some are just for trebles, and some, like Newport, are for both trebles (boys and girls) and adults. I’ve attended this same course the past five years, and each year I return invigorated and optimistic for the future of church music.

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Mid-Day Musicale

Posted by Jason, July 28, 2016

A friend shared this video last week, and I’ve watched and listened to it numerous times over the past few days. In a time of extreme heat, and non-stop political rhetoric, I’ve found this performance of Schubert’s Impromptu by Vladmir Horowitz to be a welcome respite. I hope you might take a few minutes to just relax, “chill out,” and listen to a breathtakingly beautiful musical offering. (Warning: children learning to play piano, don’t try to copy Horowitz’s “flat finger” technique. He had extremely large hands and also had his pianos adjusted to be very light to the touch.) 

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Weeping spends the night - again

Posted by Jason, June 21, 2016

The murder of 49 innocent people in Orlando has been weighing heavily on my heart. And I know I’m not the only one.

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Thoughts and Prayers and Honesty

Posted by Jason, June 8, 2016

I had a high school speech and drama teacher who shared with me that one of her biggest annoyances was the casual greeting people offered of “How are you?” As she pointed out, people seemed to just say that as an alternative to “Hello” because in fact, people really didn’t want to know how someone was doing.

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