An Easter Trifecta: Jesus, Bach, and Dolly
, 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!
On Our Way Rejoicing!
, 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.
Listening More Carefully
, 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.”
, 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.
, 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.)
How Can I Keep From Singing?!
, April 28, 2016
The past month, I’ve had a couple of occasions to be a singer in a choir rather than the director. I always find this to be helpful to me – what is the director doing that I like/don’t like? What can I take away from this experience to make me a better director? Additionally, I enjoy singing. I always have; even though I’m not exactly a voice you’d want to hear singing a solo.
Should We Still Sing This?
, November 4, 2015
It recently was revealed that a deceased Bishop in the Church of the England had committed a terrible offense during his time as Bishop. He was much beloved by many and quite popular at the time of his death. In fact, he has the equivalent of a Feast Day in the Church of England. The latest news is likely to result in the removal of his Feast Day.
Kids of Note: Making a Joyful Noise
, October 6, 2015
Several years ago, Jason and the Christ Church choir made a commitment. Instead of using the offering from Lessons & Carols for the church music program, they wanted to donate it to support young musicians. That led to a partnership with Mt. Vernon Woods Elementary School, where parishioner Kristi Thomas directed a band that included every fifth and sixth grader.
And just where do you think you’re going?!
, April 29, 2015
On Monday evening, I attended a master class taught by Olivier Latry, the principal organist at Notre Dame in Paris. As one of the students was playing, he kept asking her “Where are you going?”
Striving for Excellence
, January 21, 2015
I have just returned from Chicago where I attended a conference hosted at St. James' Cathedral. The title of the conference was "Cultivating Excellence in Liturgy, Music, and Preaching: A Conference for Musicians and Clergy." This concept came from an inspiring sermon delivered by The Rt. Rev. Eugene Sutton, Bishop of Maryland, last summer as part of the annual conference of the Association of Anglican Musicians. Bishop Sutton spoke of the need for the Episcopal Church to return to its identity of being known for its excellence at worship. He urged us to create a new three-legged stool for our church based on liturgy, music, and preaching. Strength in all three of these, not just one or two, but in all three, he believes, will stop our membership decline and help us reach more people with the great news of the Gospel of Jesus.