A Merry, Merry Noise
, May 9, 2018
This past Sunday, our Cherub Choir sang for the final time this program year. As expected, they did a great job. Working with these young singers is a highlight of my week. They are enthusiastic, energetic, inquisitive, loving, and fun.
Making Worship Longer
, March 14, 2018
Not long ago, I attended a service at a different church and the hymns were all shortened – that is, we only sang random verses of each hymn rather than all of them. It was especially odd given that for one hymn, we sang verses 1 and 4, but verse 3 ended with a comma and verse 4 was a continuation of the thought from verse 3.
A New Instrument of Praise
, February 5, 2018
In the fall of 2012, organ consultant Jonathan Ambrosino visited Christ Church to give us an assessment of the 1975 Austin Organ in our church. His detailed report analyzed the condition of our organ as well as its limitations. He noted that the instrument should likely continue for another decade before requiring any major attention, but also noted that the organ is not musically remarkable, lacking in “character, variety and loveliness of tone,” and that its appearance “gives itself away as a child of the Modern Movement. Rather than echoing the ornamental grammar of its surroundings, it gives the impression of an industrial object.” Guest organists over the past 13 years have all made similar comments.
The Peace of God, it is no Peace
, January 24, 2018
When parishioner Bill Eckhof died a few years ago, he had wisely left requests for his own funeral. One of the hymns he requested was #661, They cast their nets in Galilee. I was caught by surprise because Bill was a regular 8:00 worshiper and I did not recall us singing this hymn very often, if ever, at the 8:00 service. While it also appeared in The Hymnal 1940, I never thought it was a well-known hymn. Nevertheless, I’m so thankful to Bill because he led me to look at the hymn with fresh eyes and now it is a hymn that I deeply love myself.
Ode to a Hymnal
, November 1, 2017
We want to sing what we believe, and believe what we sing. These words were issued by Ray Glover, General Editor of The Hymnal 1982, to members of the committee working to create that particular book.
, 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:
In quires and places where they sing
, 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.
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.
A Warm Welcome
, 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.”