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Holy Week 2019

02 March 2019
Down with Robot Organists!

I love the Episcopal Church and I am privileged to be an organist working in it. But I am not alone in wondering about the future of the Church in which I find myself employed.

I applaud those who think creatively about ministry and are able to empower small and mid-sized congregations to be the best they can be. But I think a recent article published by the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas is destructive to the church's worship and mission. (The article has since been removed the Diocese's website, but without any notice and without any word from the Diocese about why it has been taken down. You can read an archived copy here: "The Future of the Organ for Church Worship")

We live in an era marked by increasing technicization. It's not enough to be able to turn on electric lights in our homes by flipping a switch; now it is possible to operate lights with voice commands. Parallel parking is less important in driver education as more and more cars park themselves. With the click of a mouse, we readily assign friendships, likes, loves.

But the church should and must resist such technicization. Don't get me wrong. Electric lights, the public address system, and word processing are probably the three greatest enhancements to Episcopal worship. But electric lights do not replace real candles (at least I hope they don't!). The public address system doesn't read the lessons or preach the gospel on its own. Service leaflets may help worshippers to follow the liturgy, but they draw their effectiveness from the Book of Common Prayer, the Hymnal, and our liturgical tradition.

Furthermore, all of these technological enhancements are added costs. It would be cheaper not to turn on the lights, maintain the sound system, or run a church print shop every week. It is only with music, it seems, that we regularly find a desire to radically cut the expense of producing worship.

It is a similar desire for economic efficiency that drives the author of "The Future of the Organ for Church Worship" to suggest an electronic replacement for the organist itself. The author argues that organists are hard to work with and difficult to find (a double whammy!). Why not just get what he calls an "organ in a box"? But let's be clear: this name is terrible. He's talking about replacing the lay professional who plays the organ with a device so the more accurate term would be "organist in a box", or even a "robot organist".

The reason that the organ has developed as an instrument for Christian worship (and it did so in physically large churches) is that it is tremendously efficient already. There is no other single instrument capable of such a wide range of pitch, color, and sheer sound. That an organist was required to play such an instrument was simply a fact of life. It was still a paragon of efficiency.

Now, however, a further kind of efficiency is sought: the elimination of the organist him/herself

The reasons given for the elimination of the organist in the article in question are somewhat offensive:

  1. "Pastoral control over weekly content". Yes, in the Episcopal Church the rector is in charge of worship, but it doesn't seem to me that he or she is necessarily an expert in music or hymnody. In a Christian context, it seems that control is less important than conversation. How else will clergy keep abreast of new hymns and new currents in church music? In an ideal situation, it seems that someone skilled in music should have some input too.
  2. "Accurate and professional sounding organ led worship". Where we really see the Emporer's New Clothes for what they are is the "professional sounding" remark. This is now full-on illusion. The expertise is desired at none of the expense, or even a relationship.
  3. "Reliability". On balance, I don't know that organists miss any more Sundays due to illness, injury, or family emergency than clergy do. I don't think we have a reliability crisis in the organist profession, and I think it's disingenuous to suggest that we do.
  4. "Cost". I'm reminded of a classic email forward of many years ago about an employee that took his boss to hear the local symphony orchestra for the first time. (I don't know how well I remember this; maybe someone has a copy?) I think it went like this:

    On Monday morning after the outing to hear the orchestra, the employee got a memo from his boss detailing all the ways that the orchestra was inefficient. There were too many violins, for instance. All of the violins were effectively doing the same thing. Why were there so many of them? The best violinist should represent the whole section and his or her sound should be amplified. The remainder of the section should be fired since they are redundant. I believe the conductor, too, was called into question. He was the only person on stage who didn't produce sound.

    Musicians laugh at this kind of thing because it is so far from the reality of what the tradition of good music dictates. Yes, of course, you could eliminate all but one string player in each section, but you would not then have a symphony orchestra. It would be something else.

  5. "Diversity in styles and hymnal access". This is a Red Herring. I find it hard to believe you have greater access to diversity of style and hymnal if you are reliant solely on electronic means. The best way to have creative music is to have a professional musician who is rooted in your congregation and engaged with relevant professional organizations like the American Guild of Organists, the Association of Anglican Musicians, and the Hymn Society.

The most lamentable part of "The Future of the Organ" article isn't about efficiency or any of the perceived "advantages" listed above; it's the fact that excising the human element of music in worship is horribly destructive to the role of music in the liturgy.

Built into the very warrant for sacramental worship is a verb of performance. Hidden in that performance is a vision of life in Christ that is not a state of being but rather an act, an act of the worshippers who enact a cosmos and a community that is nothing less than God’s act of creation.

McCall, Richard D. Do This: Liturgy As Performance. University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, Ind (2007). p. 2

An organist robot does not perform in a human sense.

Furthermore, I am dubious of the ethics in having the regular organist record music on MIDI to be played in his or her absence, also mentioned in this article. Everyone is entitled to some amount of vacation, right? Does the rector record his or her sermon in advance and simply have it broadcast over the church public address system? I hope not. Yes, recording sermons or organ music in advance is possible, but it is not desirable. Even when we are fortunate enough to have human organists, let's please not treat them like robots.

If you want sermons that are relevant to the community, they must be preached by someone in that community. If you want a church music that is relevant to the community, it must be led by people in that community.

I have a specific way that I like to lead breaths in hymns. Many years ago, I became convicted that I and too many organists are guilty of rushing each successive stanza of the hymn one after another. It diminishes a congregations ability to mentally finish the words they have just sung, get a good breath, and a confident start on the next stanza.

In every congregation I have served, I can hear the congregation adapting, hymn by hymn, week by week, year by year, to the way I lead breaths between stanzas of a hymn. Sometimes I don't have it quite right, and their singing lets me know. We're in the room together, and its a symbiotic relationship. I guarantee you a robot cannot do this. In fact, the symbiotic breathing I am describing is the opposite of robotic. It's the very definition of being human.

In the "Future of the Organ" author's own words: "many young Christians have grown weary of the high tech entertainment based worship and seek something with deeper ties to historical Christianity."

Robots don't have deeper ties to historical Christianity, at least not yet.

Down with robot organists!

 
18 February 2019
I bought my car with “drug money.” Yes, I was working in an Episcopal Church at the time.

I've about had it about up to here with all the anti-wealth rhetoric leading up to the annual conference of the Consortium of Endowed Episcopal Parishes (CEEP) meeting in Boston this week. I am not attending this year, but I have attended a conference in the past, and I've worked for three endowed parishes in the Episcopal Church in the past twelve years.

I'm not sure what it is exactly that people assume happens at these CEEP conferences, but from some of the discussion on social media, you might assume that attendees sit around wearing cassocks and smoke cigars lit from flaming dollar bills.

Spoiler alert: this is not what goes on.

The list of CEEP member parishes (which is public) includes nineteen Episcopal cathedrals, and churches from every state except Alabama, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Vermont.

Some of what I read online is anti-endowment. This just doesn't make any sense. Every parish asks members to give. Why is it so problematic if members give a lot? What if the church, from a gift, or a series of large gifts, is able to begin an endowment? Do we really not want financial security for our churches?

Parishioners give large gifts to their parishes because they love God, and they love the places in which they have worshipped God. Eli Lilly famously endowed three churches in Indianapolis, Indiana along Meridian Street, the street that bisects not only the city but lies at the north-south axis of the whole state: Christ Church (now a cathedral), Trinity, and St. Paul's; together, they are the "Meridian Street Parishes".

My first full-time job was as the Assistant Organist and Choirmaster of Christ Church Cathedral, Indianapolis. I was elated. I had "made it" as a professional church musician, which was my goal from about age 12.

At the same time, I also realized that my thirteen-year-old Ford Crown Victoria wasn't the best choice of car for the extreme commute that I faced from Bloomington, Indiana for the foreseeable future (especially in the winter months). So, I decided it was finally time to buy a new car, and I bought a gray Honda Civic (not a Lexus, mind you). I still drive it. It turned 180,000 miles this weekend.

Given that a full-time assistant organist position was a rarity in the church (and still is) I think it's safe to say that one of the reasons the position existed was because of Christ Church's endowment. Since this endowment was begun by the pharmaceutical industrialist Eli Lilly, I enjoyed telling people that I had bought my new car with "drug money."

That's not all. I also played an organ that was purchased with "drug money." Ruth Lilly, who gave a $100 million gift to Poetry magazine in 2002, also gifted Christ Church with an organ in 1991: the gallery organ built by Taylor and Boody in 1992.

It is said that the bishop at the time, the Rt. Rev. Ted Jones, suggested that the gift would be better deployed by gifting several smaller churches in the Diocese of Indianapolis their own pipe organ rather than adding an additional organ to the Cathedral (Christ Church already had a sizeable organ by Hellmuth Wolff in the chancel).

And while there is nothing wrong with this idea, per se, it doesn't have quite the same grand vision that Ruth Lilly must have had. The presence of this additional organ greatly enriches the music and liturgy of worship in this cathedral for the whole Diocese. Furthermore, the Cathedral sits in the very center of busy downtown Indianapolis and is uniquely suited to offer music to the whole region, not just on Sundays but during the week as well. Five weekdays a month, I played the organs (both of them at every service, mind you) at Evensong. These services were also broadcast on the radio. For many years, the Cathedral was able to maintain a weekly organ recital series, in part due to the high quality of both of those instruments, particularly the Taylor and Boody.

For me, personally, I will say that the organ was a delight, and I spent every spare moment I could on this organ. I sincerely believe this organ made me a better organist early in my career, and everyone – Episcopalian or otherwise – who has heard me since is a beneficiary. I probably don't say it enough, so let me say it again now: thank you, Ruth Lilly.

Isn't it the nature of gifts that giving begets more giving?

Everything that is given to our churches – pledges, endowments, stained glass windows, organs, vestments, 30 copies of an anthem, a new clergy position, a bronze bust of someone who appears in Lesser Feasts and Fasts – all of it has the possibility to form congregations and communities as disciples of Jesus Christ.

I hope that we are not too quick to criticize the givers of these gifts, but rather we respond with immense gratefulness and go and do likewise.

to give and give, and give again,
what God hath given thee;
to spend thyself nor count the cost;
to serve right gloriously
the God who gave all worlds that are,
and all that are to be.

–Geoffrey Anketel Studdert-Kennedy (Hymnal 1982: Hymn 9)

We should be grateful for CEEP. We don't need fewer CEEP conferences or attendees. We need more.

Why? Because I think we all agree that it's important to use endowments wisely. To whom much is given, much is expected. I can't remember who said that – it was either Jesus or Gandolf the Grey.

Do these parishes mess this up sometimes? Yes, for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

We should be grateful for endowed Episcopal parishes. We don't need fewer endowed Episcopal parishes. We need more.

Every church asks its members to give. We should be grateful when members actually do and when some of those members have the means to give more than the church can wisely spend in a given fiscal year.

And, frankly, we don't just need more endowed Episcopal parishes, we need more dioceses that are endowed. Nobody remembers the diocese when it comes time for an endowment, and that's a shame because a well-endowed diocese would have an opportunity to more creatively staff itself for the work of the kingdom beyond the more "required" diocesan work. (Actually, I could be totally off-base on this, but it's a thought that I've had more than once.)

I've worked in rich churches, and I've worked in poor churches. In my experience, endowed churches are still just churches. The copier still breaks down, the staff still celebrates birthdays, the undercroft still floods, the Gospel is still preached, the Eucharist is still celebrated, God is still praised.

What makes endowed churches different is that they can and should do more. They should be the best versions of themselves that they can.

Endowed parishes should be encouraged to think and act creatively, and many do. These innovative staff positions, creative projects, and new missions should be more readily shared with the wider church. Many of these projects fail. I know. I've seen them. These results should be shared too.

Finally, the whole Consortium should be willing to act boldly and creatively for the sake of the Gospel. The UCC and the Methodists have attractive, memorable national advertising campaigns. Why doesn't the Episcopal Church?

If Bishop Curry would agree to do a Super Bowl commercial, the members of CEEP could probably pick up the tab.

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30 December 2018
A Practical Christmastide Lessons and Carols

On the First Sunday after Christmas, we sang a service of Lessons and Carols with Holy Eucharist at the parish where I serve as organist and director of music.

I'm not breaking new ground here. Drop me a line (comment below) and let me know what lessons are used at your service. I'd love to know more about what the church is up to here.

I want to share some thoughts on this with you today for several reasons.

I hope this will be useful to many Episcopal (and other churches) that may wish to imitate what we have done.

Some background: St. Peter's, St. Louis, the parish where I work, had a long custom of Morning Prayer, but has in recent years moved to a near-weekly celebration of the Holy Eucharist at the principal liturgy. When we conducted this service on Sunday morning three years ago, we were able to use the full nine lessons in a "Morning Prayer" mode. But, with the addition of Holy Eucharist, this was untenable.

Can I just pause here to say how much I admire (and envy) the custom of Christmas Lessons and Carols at Church of the Advent, Boston on New Year's Eve?

St. Peter's has full choral Lessons and Carols services for Advent and Epiphany, so this Christmas service is not as important as it may be in some places. It seemed good to us to be slightly experimental with this liturgy in that it does attempt to fully reconcile a service of Lessons and Carols with a celebration of the Holy Eucharist, and the result – I think – was very successful.

Here's a play-by-play of the service, which was preceded by the Prelude on "Irby" by David Willcocks (found in the Oxford Book of Christmas Organ Music).

Final thoughts: we did not incorporate the Epistle Lesson for the First Sunday after Christmas. This is a very short lesson, and this would be easy to do. It does not seem desireable, however, to incorporate the proper Psalm in a service of this type.

I'm also aware that this activity flies in the face of the perscription NOT to replace the Word of God with a service of Lessons and Carols in the Book of Occasional Services. I think that guidance is, well, misguided.

As promised, here are the full details for the Service of Lessons and Carols and Holy Eucharist sung on the First Sunday after Christmas at St. Peter's, St. Louis.

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12 December 2018
Routley, Erik - on the popularity of the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols at King's College, Cambridge

It is only speculation, but I venture the opinion that the immense popularity of the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols at King's College Chapel, Cambridge, (when compared with the popularity of sung evensong anywhere) arose from the fact that the invention of this service aroused a response through its paradoxical quality. Here was a cathedral foundation singing not Stanford in C or Wood in the Phrygian mode but the earthy, secular, cheerful, friendly songs of Christmas. The collision of this earthiness and familiarity with cathedral remoteness and beauty caused a minor explosion in the affections of the British public. It is interesting to observe how, with the gradual rising of the standard of that choir to something as near perfection in its own line as mortals dare approach, there has been, over the fifty years of its acceptance as a national institution, a gradual de-sacralizing of the music. One by one the vestiges of cathedral romanticism have been pared away—Walford Davies's "O little town," for example, gave place to a Bach recitative and chorale, and this in turn gave place to the austere medieval hymn "Corde natus." Carols of the F-sharp major Pettman school have gradually made way for the fresh simplicity of Berkeley's "I sing of a maiden," the good-humored asperities of Mathias' "Nowell," and the gaunt medieval coolness of "There is no rose." King's College Chapel will remain romantic as long as it stands; even Thomas Tallis will sound romantic there as long as people think of the place with the affection they show at present.

Routley, Erik. Church Music and the Christian Faith. Agape, 1978, pp. 47-48.

 
01 October 2018
Houston, Whitney - influence on Ēriks Ešenvalds

The Latvian composer Ēriks Ešenvalds was in St. Louis this weekend for the premiere of a new choral work with the St. Louis Chamber Chorus. On Friday afternoon, he gave an interview to the public radio station here.

And at that time, Whitney Houston was very popular singer. You know, she still is one of my top, top singers because there is such a freedom in her voice. … We couldn't buy her sheet music in Soviet Union, but we did saw her on TV, we heard her on radio and audio cassette. So, so main subject in during music school was piano playing. And I was very good in the piano. So I just learned to play her songs by listening. And I was surprised to figure out that her songs consisted of playing chords – six, seven different chords. … Those beautiful songs were created just with simple chords. And that was like the next step.… But that was the beginning at age 10, 11, thanks to Whitney Houston.

Listen: the Whitney Houston portion comes at about 13 minutes in.

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18 September 2018
worship - sacramental, a verb of performance

Built into the very warrant for sacramental worship is a verb of performance. Hidden in that performance is a vision of life in Christ that is not a state of being but rather an act, an act of the worshippers who enact a cosmos and a community that is nothing less than God’s act of creation.

McCall, Richard D. Do This: Liturgy As Performance. University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, Ind (2007). p. 2

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17 August 2018
St. Joseph - characterization in 'The Cherry Tree Carol'

I've always been quite taken with Stephen Cleobury's arrangement of "The Cherry Tree Carol".

It's a traditional English carol about a pregnant Mary and her husband Joseph walking through an orchard. Mary wants a cherry and the cherry tree itself, recognizing who Mary is, bows down to her so that she can easily pluck cherries.

I find the idea compelling. Nature itself recognizing the Queen of Heaven.

And because Mary is still pregnant throughout this carol, it works at Advent or Christmas carol services.

But as I compared two slightly different versions of Cleobury's arrangement recently, I noticed a profound difference in the role Joseph plays in the carol.

In Cleobury's first version of this arrangement from 1985, he sets a seven stanza version of the carol. (This version is available in a publication called A Trio of Carols from Oxford.) Joseph doesn't really do or say much here.

"Old" version from 1985

Joseph was an old man
And an old man was he,
When he wedded Mary,
In the land of Galilee.

And as they were walking
Through an orchard so good,
Where were cherries and berries
As red as any blood.

O then bespoke Mary,
With words both meek and mild,
‘Pluck me one cherry, Joseph,
For that I am with child.’

‘Go to the tree then, Mary,
And it shall bow to thee;
And you shall gather cherries
By one, by two, by three.’

Then bowed down the highest tree
Unto our Lady's hand;
‘See,’ Mary cried, ‘See Joseph,
I have cherries at command.’

‘O eat your cherries, Mary
O eat your cherries now;
O eat your cherries, Mary, 
That grow upon the bough.’

Then Mary plucked a cherry,
As red as any blood;
Then Mary went she homewards
All with her heavy load.

In this carol, Joseph seems to know that the tree is ready to bow down to Mary. He encourages her to go to the tree. In the penultimate stanza, Joseph rejoices with Mary, if the lines "O eat your cherries, Mary" can be considered rejoicing. Maybe it's just some encouragement? This is odd. Perhaps Mary is skeptical about the tree's intentions. Anyway, Joseph comes off as a supportive husband in this one.

In the version that is more familiar to us now, however, the carol is rather dramatically reworded. There is an additional stanza, and Joseph doesn't come off well at all. This "new" version is published in Advent for Choirs from Oxford and is published separately. It was in the King's College Choir's hands as early as 1996.

"New" version

Joseph was an old man
and an old man was he,
When he wedded Mary,
in the land of Galilee.

Joseph and Mary walked
through an orchard good,
Where was cherries and berries,
so red as any blood.

O then bespoke Mary,
so meek and oh, so mild:
‘Pluck me one cherry, Joseph,
for I am with child.’

O then bespoke Joseph,
with words most unkind:
‘Let him pluck thee a cherry
that brought thee with child.’

O then bespoke the baby,
within his mother’s womb:
‘Bow down then the tallest tree,
for my mother to have some.’

Then bowed down the highest tree
unto his mother’s hand;
Then she cried, ‘See, Joseph
I have cherries at command.’

O then bespoke Joseph:
‘I have done Mary wrong;
But cheer up, my dearest,
and be ye not cast down.’

Then Mary plucked a cherry,
as red as any blood;
Then Mary went she homewards
all with her heavy load.

Things take a severe turn in that fourth stanza. In this "new" version, he is not exactly a supportive husband.

In the "old" version, Joseph was happy to tell Mary how to get the cherries. In fact, he was privy to the knowledge that the cherry tree was willing to bow down. Here, however, he seems to have some unresolved issues with Mary's pregnancy.

Furthermore, the in utero Christ gets a voice in this carol, which is perhaps unique in the carol repertoire(?).

But the inherent conflict in this carol gives the narrative more texture. From within the womb, Christ instructs the "tallest tree" to bow down.

The connection we are meant to draw, I think, is that "him…that brought thee with child" is depicted here with nature itself operating at Mary's command.

In the "old" version you could describe Joseph as lazy, at worst. In the "new" version Joseph is mean, but his momentary cruelty allows for Mary's command of nature to stand more clearly as a symbol.

What I find utterly awkward in this "new" version, is the egg-on-his-face Joseph of the penultimate stanza.

O then bespoke Joseph:
‘I have done Mary wrong;
But cheer up, my dearest,
and be ye not cast down.’

There is a brief apology in there, which is nice. It's addressed to us, the audience, but I wish we could just sit Joseph down and be like, "look, dude, apologize to your wife directly."

It would be the catharsis this carol needs.

The feeling of things being unresolved persists for me, not only with Joseph's weak, saccharine apology but also with the way Cleobury masterfully arranges the last line of this carol: "all with her heavy load."

Not only is she bearing the infant Christ, but she's burdened with this mean "old man" as her husband.

The heaviness of the organ part, especially as performed in King's College, Cambridge, is marvelously evocative of these burdens. (You really need to be listening on proper speakers/headphones, or with a subwoofer, to get the full effect.)

"New" version

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30 June 2018
Resolution B006 at General Convention: Regulations Respecting the Laity #GC79
  
In 2017 the board of the Association of Anglican Musicians appointed a task force to craft a resolution for General Convention that would support the ministry of lay employees of the Episcopal Church.  The task force membership includes Dr. Paul Ellison, Marty Wheeler Burnett, the Rev. Geoffrey Butcher, Linda Patterson, and Ellen Johnston. 

The duties and requirements for the ministries of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons are outlined in multiple canons giving the requirements and duties of those in holy orders. No canon is provided, however, outlining the duties and responsibilities of Lay Employees.  This resolution will not just affect church musicians (both full time and part time) but will also cover all lay employees – Christian education directors, parish secretaries, parish administrators, bookkeepers.  It calls for letters of agreement to be executed by the church and her employees, which includes a job description, details of salary, a provision for an annual review, and a dissolution clause.  These are issues of fairness, justice, and equity.  There has been concern expressed by some as to how this affects “at will” employment states.  Of course, this canonical change, if approved, cannot override state laws; however, the Church should do better by her employees than relying on the lowest common denominator. 

The resolution, which has been proposed by the Rt. Rev. Shannon Johnston and endorsed by the Rt. Rev. Keith Whitmore and the Rt. Rev. Neil Alexander reads:

Resolution B006 to Amend Canon 1.17

Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, That Canon 1.17: Of Regulations Respecting the Laity is hereby amended to include the following addition:

Sec. 9. Any Lay Person accepting employment within the Church in any capacity is entitled to a letter of agreement describing the duties and responsibilities of the position, including details of salary and any benefits. The letter will include provisions for an annual performance evaluation, procedures for the reconciliation of disagreements, and contain a clearly articulated dissolution clause. Employees are to be circumspect in their conduct avoiding any moral or pastoral conduct of a nature to bring material discredit upon the Church.

The task force urges you to contact your bishops and your General Convention deputation and ask them to vote for Resolution B006.  This is a matter of justice for all of the lay employees of the Episcopal Church. 



This post was written by the Employment Task Force of the Association of Anglican Musicians

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28 June 2018
Some further thoughts and observations about the worship at the 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church

General Convention starts in less than a week, and the service bulletins still contain errors that will hinder the participation of the people.

I'm not going to go into full detail the way I did in my first post on this subject, but here, briefly, are the remaining services for General Convention.

July 7 - General Convention Revival at Palmer Center

I think this service sounds really interesting. If you're unaware of the word "revival" in Episcopal parlance, you can find information on the recent and upcoming Episcopal Revivals here.

I'm fascinated by the compelling blend of evangelical and liturgical. I'll be honest: the first time I read the versicle and response "Lord, send a revival. / And let it begin in me!" I got chills.

For me, this is some of the most compelling of the liturgy that will be offered at General Convention. This seems like exactly the time and the place for this kind of service, and it builds on the present Episcopal Revival movement.

What I don't like so much is that the printing of the Acclamation Hymn is woefully incomplete. The last three lines are missing. This is the kind of error that hinders the participation of the people gathered for this service, most of whom will not know this hymn at all.

I also question the choice of having the hymn "I have decided to follow Jesus" twice in this short service, albeit to different tunes. But who knows. Maybe it works.

But the second iteration of this hymn includes what appears to be English words engraved under the notes, and Spanish words printed below the hymn. A closer inspection reveals that the "English" words actually contain stanzas two and three in Spanish, but they don't correspond to the Spanish "translation". (Did you follow that?)

Another example of a significant error that will, in this case, prevent people from singing in unison.

UPDATE: the plot thickens. The music listing that was made available quite recently (Music of the Liturgy) indicates that the final hymn is to be "This little light of mine". If the music has been changed, it's very possible that there is now yet a third set of service bulletins that we do not yet have access to.

July 8 - Holy Eucharist

The sources of this service appear to be Enriching Our Worship 1 and Eucharistic Prayer A.

One also notes at this service the repetition of Siyahamba, which was sung on July 7. Why all the repeated hymnody at this Convention?

July 9 - Eucharist of Reconciliation

This service is Rite II beginning with the Penitential Order, and has a Eucharistic Prayer called "Mass of the Immigrant". It does live up to its name: "Your Son Jesus Christ, our brother, the immigrant from heaven and a model of immigrants…".

July 10 - Eucharist for the Care of God’s Creation

I can't identify the source of the first part of the service, but the Eucharistic Prayer is Prayer C.

It is puzzling that the Song of Praise "Sing of the raven, bird of creation" is printed in the time signature of six-four and not nine-four as the Hymnal has BUNESSAN. The result is that half of the strong beats arrive on weak parts of the bar, and vice versa.

Is Canticle 12 (Song of Creation) truly to be recited? Another wasted opportunity. And if so, why make people stand for it?

Even in the newly published Music of the Liturgy document there is no attribution for "God of the galaxies", a hymn which really gives "Earth and all stars" a run for its money. I suppose it is simply mistitled in the service leaflet, and that the attribution for "Honor the earth" by "Douglas Mews/ Shirley Murray, lyrics" applies here.

July 11 - Benedict of Nursia, Abbot of Monte Cassino, c. 540

This "Silent Song of Praise" has been the most-discussed element of these services so far, at least among Episcopal Musicians. It is preceded by the Taizé "Veni Sancte Spiritus", so I suppose the intent is to have a bit of Taizé-style silence to follow. But silence in Taizé is not meant as a "hymn", it is meant as silence. Even on paper, this just doesn't appear to work in the context of a Rite I Eucharist.

Oh yeah, this service is Rite I. Kind of.

The Acclamation is. The Collect for Purity is. And then [*record scratch*] the salutation to the Collect of the Day is not ("And also with you").

But then we're right back to Rite I with the Collect of the Day.

And then [*record scratch again*] the Gospel Acclamation is back in Rite II ("Glory to you, Lord Christ").

Why the back and forth with the two Rites? It is perplexing, and I can think of no justification for it. This is the only appearance of Rite I at the Convention, and it's not even permitted to be itself.

Finally, we settle with Eucharistic Prayer II (which is found in Rite I).

July 12 - Closing Holy Eucharist

The Sequence Hymn is "In Christ alone", which I find lamentable. The phrase "...the wrath of God was satisfied" is there in black and white for all in attendance to sing. I'm sure that will go over well.

Maybe the Presiding Bishop is preparing to shift his focus from the "loving, liberating, life-giving" God to the "reverent, redeeming, wrath-filled" one.

Who knows.

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24 June 2018
Note - Deep

It comes as no surprise to us that the THX "Deep Note", the sound created by Andy Moorer that accompanies the THX logo, was inspired in part, by organ music.

... I wanted to start with something that would thoroughly bewilder everyone. They wouldn't be sure that the sound was being played properly, or whatever. That is, to start with chaos and then evolve into the big chord, like a great organ chord. I'd always been impressed by the huge pipe organs and the sounds it could produce, so that was sort of the idea I had in the back of my mind.

listen: #43 | THX Deep Note, Part 1 from Twenty Thousand Hertz

The good stuff starts about nine minutes in, but really the whole thing is worth hearing.

Labels: ,

 

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