Easter 2024

30 November 2005
words of Jesus - relation to reeds

Trumpet pipeSome bibles print the words of Jesus in red.

Some organs print reed stops in red.

Hmm . . .

Again they came to Jerusalem. As he was walking in the temple, the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders came to him and said, "By what authority are you doing these things? Who gave you this authority to do them?" Jesus said to them, "16 Posaune. 8 Trumpet?" They argued with one another, "If we say, 'From heaven,' he will say, 'Why then did you not believe him?' But shall we say, 'Of human origin?'"--they were afraid of the crowd, for all regarded John as truly a prophet. So they answered Jesus, "We do not know." And Jesus said to them, "8 Oboe."

Mark 11:27-33, emended




Tangent: That picture is kind of enormous. I hope you enjoyed it. It is, of course, a reed pipe. Specifically, it's a Trumpet. I mean, a "Did the baptism of John come from heaven, or was it of human origin? Answer me." A good Trumpet stop can get you to consider that very question.

28 November 2005

Saint Petersburg Yacht Club, St. Petersburg, Florida

Busch Gardens, Tampa, Florida

27 November 2005
cell phones - organists with

Calling organists on Sunday mornings is always fun, and it might just become a new hobby of mine.

First, I called Megan in Iowa thereby domnstrating a cellular communion of the Saints at a very inopportune time. Oops.

Then I dialed up Christopher Wm. in New York and was treated not to a "hello," but to a vibrant (though a little distorted) organ interlude before what turned out to be the final stanza of MERTON. Then I heard some chanted dialogue between the celebrant and the congregation before the organist went into the postlude. For a few moments, I had been transported to an Advent service in the resonant Church of St. Mary the Virgin, New York City where Chris was visiting.

Who will I call next week? Keep your phone on vibrate because it might be you!

26 November 2005
Advent, 2005

This site had been green for so long, I was worried it was going to stay that way, but finally purple has arrived.

Advent is probably my favorite season of the year.

I love the richness and depth to the images and words of this season.

I love Advent hymns, especially "Lo, He comes with clouds descending . . ." Incidentally, HELMSLEY is the longest tune to have a completely diatonic melody (no accidentals).

Oh yeah, candles. I really like candles.

The Advent computerAnd I like purple. It's nice on this website, but it's nice in church too. What I realized tonight is that purple is the traditional color for visited hyperlinks (blue; unvisited hyperlinks).

Seeing purple in Advent should remind us that we share a "link" with people who have waited expectantly for the coming of Christ throughout space and time.

Some churches use blue for this season. "We haven't been there yet."

Either way, click on through. Advent is worth visiting.

Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Collect for the First Sunday of Advent

Tangent: I don't like blue for Advent. It denies the parallelism of preparatory periods (Advent:Christmas :: Lent:Easter). You don't see anyone using blue for Lent.

22 November 2005
"the important thing in a

"the important thing in a military operation is victory, not persistence." -Sun Tzu

Psalter - phantom 31st day in the Book of Common Prayer

Book of Common Prayer title pageMy copy of the Book of Common Prayer -- along with most other copies, I would presume -- hints that one could read/say/sing all the psalms in a month.

For example, prior to Psalm 1 is the tantalizing rubric: "First Day: Morning Prayer." Skipping ahead to Psalm 6 we read, "First Day: Evening Prayer."

So this is all very good, but what had bothered me until tonight was the absence of a 31st day ("Thirtieth Day: Evening Prayer" includes psalms 147-150, the end of the Psalter).

I had proposed varying solutions myself, none of which was very satisfactory. Maybe one just doesn't do psalms at the end of a long month -- a little liturgical break. Perhaps, I mused, one reads the apocryphal Psalm 151, twice? Or it could be choristers' choice! Aleatoric psalm singing?

All of these theories were quickly put to rest tonight when I came across an instruction in the 1662 BCP:

And, whereas January, March, May, July, August, October, and December have one-and-thirty days apiece; It is ordered, that the same Psalms shall be read the last day of the said months, which were read the day before: so that the Psalter may begin again the first day of the next month ensuing.

Well said, and a good solution to boot!

Why is this hint absent from the 1979 book I wonder? If the rubrics for complete monthly recitation are interspersed with the psalms themselves, why wouldn't it be explained anywhere?

If Charles Mortimer Guilbert knew how much sleep I would lose over this, I think he might have put in a little note.

Heck, I'll even write one in BCP "Contemporary:"

In months with thirty-one days, January, March, May, July, August, October, and December, the same Psalms should be read on the last day as were read the day before, so that the Psalter begins again on the first day of the following month.

Pathetic. Clearly I've just founded the traditional-language rubric movement.

Tangent: Tigger comes head-to-head with the BCP

20 November 2005
Gradual - Anglican Use, free

Christ Pantokrator

Introit (Rev. 5:12; 1:6; Ps. 72)
Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and glory and honour. To him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Ps. Give the King thy judgments, O God: and thy righteousness to the King's son. Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and glory and honour. To him be glory and dominion forever and ever.

Gradual (Ps. 71:8, 11)
His dominion shall also be from the one sea to the other, and from the river unto the world's end. All ye kings shall fall down before him; all nations shall do him service.

Alleluia (Dan. 7:14)
ALLELUIA. Alleluia. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away; and a kingdom that which shall not be destroyed. Alleluia.

Offertory (Ps. 2:8)
Desire of me, and I shall give thee the nations for thine inheritance; and the utmost parts of the earth for thy possession.

Communion (Ps. 29:9b, 10b)
The LORD remaineth a king forever: the LORD shall give his people the blessing of peace.

The minor propers for Christ the King Sunday

All the minor propers are available in English for free! Download a PDF file of the corrected version of the first edition, published 6 November 2005.

The Anglican Use Gradual

18 November 2005
t-shirt - celebratory, free

16 November 2005
School of Music - Jacobs

Developing story: Indiana University's School of Music has revceived a gift of $40.6 million dollars from Barbara and David Jacobs Sr. of Cleveland, Ohio.

The school will be renamed the Jacobs School of Music in their honor at a press conference tomorrow (Thursday) at 10:30.

This announcement comes on the heels of the Yale School of Music receiving a $100 million dollar gift a few weeks ago.

Update: (17.11.05 0:30) It seems that the money is being given by Barbara Jacobs. Her husband, David, died in 1992. These are the same Jacobs of Jacobs Field and the Cleveland Indians. Barbara, an IU alum, was awarded an honorary degree in 2000. From the above press release:

Jacobs, who was co-owner of the Cleveland Indians until earlier this year, earned a bachelor of science degree from the College of Arts and Sciences at IU Bloomington in 1948. She has been known for many years, along with her late husband, David, as a civic and cultural leader in Cleveland and in Florida. Through her longstanding service to numerous organizations, she has supported the arts, education, hospitals, health associations, human services and churches in both areas.

The diversity of her commitments ranges from working as a hospital volunteer to serving on the boards of the American Cancer Society's Hope Lodge, the Fairview/Lutheran Foundation, the Cleveland Orchestra and the Cleveland Playhouse, among many others.

Jacobs has devoted an astonishing degree of energy to supporting IU. She has endowed faculty chairs, student financial aid, and research and development funds across the university. Among her many contributions are the David H. Jacobs Chair in Infectious Disease at the IU School of Medicine; the Barbara B. Jacobs Endowed Professorship Awards to recognize achievements in musicianship, scholarship and teaching; and the Barbara B. Jacobs Chair of Education and Technology at IU Bloomington.

She has served on the IU Foundation's board of directors since 1989 and is national co-chair for the IU Bloomington Endowment Campaign. For these and many other instances of volunteer service and support, she previously was honored with IU's Thomas Hart Benton Mural Medallion.

Update: (29.11.05 20:45) Barbara Jacobs died this morning in Cleveland.

15 November 2005
organic milk - have I mentioned how much I love?

I've been drinking organic milk lately. It's incredible. Let me tell you why:

Organic Valley lowfat milk

My Coop, Bloomingfoods, carries Organic Valley milk.

Tangents: Take a look at that Organic Valley domain name. Apparently, .coop is a "new" (five years old as of tomorrow) restricted Top Level Domain name for cooperative organizations.

I wonder what kind of strings I would have to pull to register "" and/or ""

14 November 2005
deadlines - organbuilder Manuel Rosales can't meet his

Back in 1997, organ builder Manuel Rosales was supposed to have finished an organ, his Opus 27, at Indiana University.

But the School of Music and [Indiana] University counsel contest that Rosales was straying too far from the task.

"There were a number of stages outlined in the contract," [IU Organ Professor Larry] Smith said. "Once he was late on one deadline, he was late on everything else."

Sauers, Elisha. "Silenced Sounds." Indiana Daily Student 4 October 2005.

The organ was supposed to be finished in 1997.

Rosales ambiguously refers to "Completion: Summer 2001" on his Opus 27 webpage.

Now, 2005 is nearly over and the organ still isn't finished.

So what's Rosales working on, his website?

Yes! Take a look at

Our website is undergoing some changes. Please return November 10, 2005. 14 November 2005

Nothing happened last Thursday when we returned. Now Rosales is three days late on this new deadline that he set for himself.

Mr. Rosales, a message from the organ students in Bloomington: We have not forgotten and we will keep returning. Even if it's late, we can't wait for you to finish your new website! Even if it's late, we can't wait for you to finish your organ!

Tangents: The article I refer to above is now ironically available from the University's Office of Marketing and Publicity. I mean, is this something they want to publicize?

Why is it that a former dean of the Music School had his picture taken with the organ-shaped object? By it's appearance (as the first picture, no less) on Rosales's Opus 27 webpage, it takes on the impression of endorsement. If I were him, I would be quite embarrassed, and demand that it be removed.

12 November 2005
Slayer - Vampire, Elizabeth the

Buffy logoDid you know that "Buffy" is a nickname for Elizabeth?

I didn't either.

Nicknames are increasingly used as legal names. Consider that the following began their lives as nicknames, and then try to guess the name they were derived from:

Need answers?

Pop quiz: nicknames

11 November 2005
Semper, Caeleb - see Simper, Caleb (1857-1942)

Caleb SimperIn August 2004 I made reference to a "Caeleb Semper." Oops. I was actually referring to Caleb Simper (1857-1942). (We sing his Creed at Lake Delaware Boys' Camp.)

His is a late-Victorian style that has been ridiculed by Vaughan Williams and Erik Routley.

His music was once "sung throughout the civilized world."

Victorian church composers were often not of the highest quality, and few would rank Simper with Stainer. But the fascination of Caleb Simper is his invisibility. Here was a man who sold over 5 million copies of his sheet music. Just think of that - an army of Simper anthems - yet he is practically invisible. Do a web search on Simper and you will come up with only a handful of entries. He's not in Grove, or many other musical references. Yet he clearly plucked many a Victorian and Edwardian heartstring.

Church Music - Caleb Simper

see also: Gordon Rumson investigates the sacred choral music of Caleb Simper

Labels: ,

10 November 2005
fallenness - flatness as

A flat?  A-flat.When congregations sing together unaccompanied, they often slow down and go flat.

I think the retardation they experience is the result of competing theological and acoustical phenomena: the desire to listen to others and sing "with one voice" versus the speed of sound.

But how can the flatness be explained? This is not a group phenomena, but it's interesting that a mutually accountable group of religious adherents cannot hold itself together pitch-wise.

Maybe it is because since modern society sings less than societies past, their undeveloped voices tire and go flat. I suspect, however, that this has always happened to the human singing voice.

The organ, historically the voice of God in worship (vox Dei), reveals the error of flatness by its unchanging pitch.

In short, the organ reveals fallenness, error, the brokenness of humankind, original sin.

A rewriting of Romans 7:18: "For I know that nothing in tune dwells within me, that is, in my ear. I can hear what is right, but I cannot sing it."

Isaac Watts sensed this same principle:

In vain we tune our formal songs,
in vain we strive to rise:
hosannas languish on our tongues,
and our devotion dies.

Watts, Isaac. "Come, Holy Spirit, heavenly Dove"

We "strive to rise," to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, but we just can't do it ourselves.

Some would argue that if the community is singing at the same pitch, they are in tune with themselves. Sure, whatever, but they're flat -- under the true pitch.

Just because you're going the same speed as other cars on the road doesn't mean you are going the speed limit. Relativism doesn't lead to truth; it leads to discord. Perpetual compromise will never establish pure intonation.

The saints, however, are singing in tune. We say that we join "our voices with Angels and Archangels and with all the company of heaven," but to God, the combination must be some kind of cosmic celeste. We aren't singing quite at the same pitch. We are constantly in need of raising our pitch in order to attain their perfect in-tune-ness.

Give me the wings of faith to rise
within the veil, and see
the saints above, how great their joys,
how bright their glories be.

Watts, Isaac. "Give me the wings of faith."

07 November 2005
men's bathroom - door to lecture hall soundbooth in the

At Concordia Theological Seminary the door to the lecture hall soundbooth is inside the men's restroom. This is weird.

And what does it say about gender roles in the priesthood?

Thankfully the seminary does have a "deaconess" program. And are deaconesses useful? Absolutely!

Some of them waited tables at our banquet tonight. They wore male tuxedo shirts while the male seminarians wore collars, sat at tables, and enjoyed dinner.

MO Synod, mo' problems.

01 November 2005
Justice - sometimes God has to be full of


Sometimes you don't want to be this guy (WMV 2.9 MB from Ship of Fools: Signs & Blunders).

Sometimes, God rains down His justice on guitar-megachurch-hipster-preachers like Pastor Blake Bergstrom from Southeast Christian Church, Parker, Colorado.

Rambling fundie-praise-banders get what they deserve. (Did I type that out loud?)

Sometimes it helps to have organ music.

Sometimes it helps to have sacramental theology.

Sometimes it helps to have coherent, lectionary-based preaching.

And sometimes it just helps to have your sermon written down so that you can get back on track quickly if you say something really inappropriate.

Ahh, sweet, sweet justice. God's just full of the stuff.


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The author of this website is an organist whom the New York Times calls “repeatedly, insisting that he pay for his subscription”. He likes to read parking meters, music, Indianapolis Monthly, and weather forecasts in Celsius, particularly whilst wearing cassock and surplice. He serves lasagna, overhand, as an example to many, and on ecclesiastical juries. He mixes salads, drinks, and metaphors. He takes photos, lots of dinner mints, and a little bit of time to get to know.




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