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.
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.
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!
Weeping spends the night - again
, 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.
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.
Hark! A thrilling voice is sounding!
, December 16, 2015
The past few weeks in choir rehearsals, as we have begun our practice time by reviewing hymns for the upcoming Sunday, I have regularly remarked "Gosh, isn't this a great hymn?!" I hold the belief that the Advent section of hymns in the Hymnal 1982, is the richest section found in the book.
God of our silent tears
, June 24, 2015
Last week, I attended the annual convention of the Association of Anglican Musicians. As many of you know, this is one of my favorite weeks of the year – getting new ideas from my colleagues and friends and experiencing truly transformational worship. The singing is always unlike anything I’ve ever heard anywhere. On Thursday, the mood was a bit subdued as we were all shocked and horrified at the events that took place in Charleston on Wednesday evening. In the quiet before our closing Eucharist, I opened the hymnal and read the marvelous words to hymn #599 with fresh eyes.
Sing to the Lord a new song!
, October 15, 2014
This past Sunday, we sang two hymns by Richard Dirksen who for many years served as Canon Precentor at Washington National Cathedral. Even though the hymns are in The Hymnal 1982 and have been around for nearly 40 years, I suspect most people would still consider them to be “new.” Although, I’m 40 and people long ago stopped referring to me as “new.”
, July 23, 2014
Well, I had a pretty bad weekend. I was down with a cold since Friday so I spent all weekend coughing and lounging on my couch. Nothing much of interest to watch on tv – just the horrible news about the downed Malaysian airliner and the sense that things are only going to get worse in Ukraine before they get better. When that wasn’t being discussed on the news, it was about the continued escalation of fighting between Israel and Palestine.
Sing an Easter Song!
, April 16, 2014
I’ve often wondered why Easter music hasn’t “caught on” with the public like Christmas music has. Walk into any mall during December and you’ll hear a continual medley of sacred and secular carols being piped through the speakers. But it’s not the same for Easter. It can’t be due to the fact that it’s a distinctly Christian holiday since Christmas is too. It’s also not due to the fact that Christmas music might be older, because most Easter music is older than most Christmas carols.