Advent 2021

27 February 2008
outside - shivering

All Starbucks stores (even those in close proximity to Episcopal cathedrals) were closed for several hours yesterday for some training. Here's an excerpt from an article about the closure in the Houston Chronicle

Luong is a regular at the Starbucks at Westheimer and Post Oak Boulevard, and employees had warned him about the closure. But 45 minutes after they locked the doors, he still was shivering outside, hanging out with a dozen other people who consider the coffee shop their second home.

Claudia Feldman and Jeannie Kever. "Starbucks' break brews frustration" Houston Chronicle 27 Feb 2008, emphasis added

I just want to point out that it was 60 degrees Fahrenheit (16 Celcius) in Houston when Starbucks closed yesterday.


Elsewhere in Houston, for those who may be unfamiliar with the distribution of Starbucks stores in the city, are two stores located across the street from each other. I visited both on Christmas Day, 2007. One was closed.

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organists - employment rights for, UK

The result of a recent tribunal probably means that organists in the Church of England will gain "full employment rights".

You know, like parking spaces and coffee privileges.

Organists across the pond evidently constitute their own religion:

Of the estimated 30,000 practising organists in Britain, only about 100 are full time. The majority have other jobs and can expect to take home about £40 a week for their services.

Nugent, Helen. "Church told to play pipes of peace as organists get workers' rights" The Times (London), emphasis added

I like the phrase "practising organists", and I imagine large late-night bonfires and Messiaen.

How do "practising" organists contrast with North America's "practicing organists?"

Do the latter play better?


organists - shortage of Roman Catholic

"The quantity [of organists] is declining," says Louis Cantor, associate director of worship for the archdiocese and also an accomplished church musician who currently plays at St. Charles Borromeo in Detroit. "I’m not quite sure why that is, especially with the electronic age. It’s much easier to sequence and use an electronic instrument… but it’s not an instrument that people are very drawn to."

Kohn, Joe. "Church organists encourage young musicians to take up the 'king of instruments'" Michigan Catholic, a site that shamelessly steals it's design from the New York Times

More incoherent ramblings for the "shortage of organists" file.


26 February 2008
La Trinité, Paris - how to see

I don't think this video was on YouTube in December 2005, so it makes another appearance on today (the link I posted then is now broken).

This is a great clip, but you can also consider it my commentary on how to see La Trinité, Paris now that Olivier Messiaen no longer plays the organ there. A simple drive by the place will suffice.


Psalm pointing - subjectivity of

Let's focus on a single verse from Sunday's Psalm lection, 95:11

So I swore in my wrath, *
      "They shall not enter into my rest."

Psalm pointing is the craft of divvying up the syllables of this ancient Hebrew poetry (that has since translated into English) so that it might be sung to a chant formula.

In the Anglican choral tradition, the chant formula is often what is known as Anglican chant, but plainsong chant formula is sometimes used (especially in Purple seasons).

Yesterday, Lent 3A, was an interesting case study in Episcopal plainsong psalm pointing. Bruce Ford has pointed settings in the Eucharistic Psalter and James Litton has edited the Plainsong Psalter. The pointing for Psalm 95:11 differs in these two books.

The solution for pointing first part of the verse is simple. This part includes the mediant, which is just a single change from the reciting tone. In this case, simply move on "wrath".

So I swore in my wrath *

Both Psalters agree on this.

The second part is a bit more complicated.

The termination consists of a few more changes from the reciting tone. In this case, a minimum of three pitches. Backing up three syllables gives us the simple answer, as is found in the Eucharistic Psalter.

"They shall not enter in-to my rest."

The other approach would be to nuance this slightly (for what reason? We'll get there). The Plainsong Psalter offers:

"They shall not enter in-to my rest."

In this case, the "my" and "rest" end up being on the same pitch, the last part of the termination.

So, the question at the end of this is, why?

Why wouldn't the first approach work all the time? Is there something inherently more musical or rhetorical about moving the termination back by a syllable? Is it more faithful to the word "rest" if the termination rests on the final syllable? But the verse says that "they shall not enter into my rest". So shouldn't we go with the first one?

Do different editors point psalms differently depending on what tone or chant they have in mind? (I think they do). If so, should they? Or should the pointing be such that it can fit any musical setting?

To what degree is Psalm pointing subjective? should it be subjective?

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25 February 2008
Marriage - Concerning

I cannot commend enough the Episcopal Diocese of New York Liturgical Commission's document "Concerning Marriage".

It is a great source of clear thinking on the marriage liturgy.

One of the highlights for me was this explanation on why the Wagner and Mendelssohn aren't really appropriate for weddings.

Inevitably, this brings us to the matter of the wedding march from A Midsummer Night's Dream by Mendelssohn or the "Bridal Chorus" from Wagner's Lohengrin. The weight of secular custom behind these two pieces of music is so immense that we are aware our disapproving note may not be well-received. Clergy should consider, however, that neither of these pieces is, properly considered, sacred music. They are drawn from operatic contexts which are neither appropriate nor encouraging. The Mendelssohn piece occurs at the "wedding" of an ox to an ass, and the Wagner piece precedes the tragic death of the bride who has been unfaithful to her husband. If clergy decide to discourage their use, and we hope they will, it may be necessary to implement such a policy over a long time and in the face of considerable popular opposition.

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McKinney, Texas - First United Methodist Church of, music director search

Performance Appraisals are an
integral part of church music

I've seen some weird church musician position descriptions in my day but the one that I saw today from First United Methodist Church in McKinney, Texas is particularly a doozy.

Now, let me just add here that I understand that churches all have their own way of operating, but some of them jump off of the deep end in terms of institutional language, and this seems to me to be an instance of that.

It's one thing to list "essential duties and responsibilities", but it's quite another to list the "Performance Appraisal measurements" by which said duties will be evaluated.

Take a deep breath:

ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES include the following. Other duties may be assigned. Performance Appraisal (PA) measurements are noted in brackets [ ]. 1. Plans and selects vocal, instrumental, and recorded music suitable to type of program and to musicians who are to render selections. [PA: Appropriate and complete presentations consistently produced.] 2. Supervises Organist and Associate Director of Music and recruits volunteer staff. Issues assignments and provides leadership in such areas as rehearsing, scoring, arranging and copying music, lyric writing, and vocal coaching. [PA: Tasks completed by incumbent, staff or volunteers in a timely and complete manner.] 3. Auditions and selects vocal and instrumental talent for musical presentations. May also perform as soloist or with group in musical presentations. [PA: Appropriate presentations made at all times required.] 4. Auditions and hires musicians or orchestra personnel for special events. [PA: Appropriate presentations made at all times required.] 5. Positions members within choirs or musical groups to obtain balance among sections. [PA: Appropriate presentations made at all times required.] 6. Directs vocal choirs and bell choirs and musicians at rehearsals and performances to achieve desired effects such as tonal and harmonic balance, dynamics, rhythms, tempos, and shadings. [PA: Appropriate presentations made at all times required.] 7. Directs and/or supervises children’s and youth choirs including handbell choirs. Works with youth minister to coordinate youth music program. [PA: Activities conducted in an appropriate and professional manner consistent with church needs.] 8. Transcribes musical compositions and melodic lines to adapt them to or create particular style for choirs. [PA: Appropriate presentations made at all times required.] 9. Schedules performances and arranges for proper publicity. [PA: Performances complete and appropriate with publicity arranged as needed.] 10. Oversees care and appearance of the choir room, choir robes, musical instruments and other accessories. [PA: Choir supplies and other musical supplies maintained in a clean and orderly manner.] 11. Maintains music library in an organized manner, assuring adequate and appropriate musical selections are provided for all musicians and choir members. [PA: Library maintained at all times with sufficient musical supplies.] 12. Serves ex officio on Music Committee and Worship Committee. [PA: Attends and participates at meetings, completing assignments in a timely manner.] 13. Attends church-sponsored training programs. [PA: Satisfactory participation, retention and application of training program subjects.] 14. Develops work area budget and administers all area budget expenditures. [PA: Expenditures are within budget amounts and are appropriate for the work area.] 15. Consults with the Choir Council to foster communication between the choir and the director. [PA: Attendance and participation in meetings.] 16. Oversees the church arts program [PA: Additional specific Arts responsibilities will be defined along with PA measurements. Part of the job responsibilities will be to develop these specifics.] 17. Attends weekly staff meetings. [PA: Attendance and participation in meetings.] 18. Other duties as assigned as needed. [PA: Efficient completion of assigned duty, responsibility or task.] SUPERVISORY RESPONSIBILITIES Directly supervises the Director of Children’s Choir and Organist. Carries out supervisory responsibilities in accordance with the organization's policies and applicable laws. Responsibilities include interviewing, hiring, and training employees; planning, assigning, and directing work; appraising performance; rewarding and disciplining employees; addressing complaints and resolving problems. QUALIFICATIONS To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. EDUCATION and/or EXPERIENCE Master's degree (M. A.) or equivalent; or four to ten years related experience and/or training; or equivalent combination of education and experience., emphasis added

Aside from being one of the longer position descriptions I have ever read, this position description comes off as arrogant, disorganized and redundant. Of course the person hired will be expected to fulfill his essential duties and responsibilities. You have, in fact, already identified this with the word essential.

Putting in the performance assessments (or Per Asses, as I will refer to them here) raises the hood on what I can only assume is a bloated, numbers-based Sport Utility Church (SUC) atmosphere.

This wouldn't be all that surprising. MacTown, as McKinney is known, has doubled in population in the last six years, and the parish probably can't help but salivate at the rich fields of wheat springing up all around it.

Intrigued, I dug deeper via the web. The church's website boasts that "there are three Sunday morning [traditional] worship times to fit your life." And the adult choir is labeled as "outstanding" yet they are not given a page of their own on the site. In fact, given the description above, I found the dearth of music department information to be completely incongruent with their expectations.

The visitor's page is full of success expletives superlatives:

We have something for everyone and that’s what makes us unique!

visitors page

Yes, just like a shopping mall.

When you arrive, there are many opportunities to make you feel at home. If you have small children, we have a wonderful nursery where you can drop off your child with skilled workers who are doing what they love. You can also receive a pager when you drop off your little one to help you feel connected to your child while you worship.

Ah yes, the technicization of intimacy -- a cardinal Christian virtue.

We have exceptional programs for both our children and youth. Most recently, the youth program was nominated as the Best Youth Program in McKinney! We also offer a variety of adult Sunday school classes for all ages and walks of life! Outside of Sunday morning worship, we have a variety of exciting ministries, classes, opportunities for bible study, and fun-filled church events. The fellowship at First United is amazing, and there really is something for everyone! We truly want to welcome you to our church family, and would love to have you visit one of our worship services.

emphasis added

Did you catch all that? Exceptional! Variety! Amazing! Something for everyone! Love to have you visit!

I think we're only scratching the surface of what's going on with this church, but whatever it is, it has made its way to this hiring process. The part of the position description that said that one's ability "to achieve desired effects such as tonal and harmonic balance, dynamics, rhythms, tempos, and shadings" would be appraised is extremely off-putting. One has to ask, who will do the appraising? The arm-chair music director?

Perhaps the music director's supervisor will ask that he wear a pager so that he can be notified mid-liturgy if the desired effects are not being achieved.

All of this makes me wonder, where is the gospel in all this? I am not sure that First United Methodist, McKinney and I understand church music to be the same thing. Whereas I understand it to be a imperfect yet thrilling and fluid exercise in creativity and grace, I think they see it as a more of a legalistic enterprise.

If the music director does wear a "pager", so to speak, he might then ask the choir members also to wear the device. (This is a nice thought, isn't it? During communion: "Altos: your entrance in m. 43 poor")

Ah yes. Pagers Per Asses.

Author's note: I am not actively looking for another job. I have always studied the American Guild of Organists position listings as a way of keeping abreast of the state of church music in this country. (Thanks Will!)


24 February 2008 is still working on our "Best of 2007", and by that I mean the article that will be titled " - Best of, 2007", and by "working on", I really mean "thinking about".

Can we appeal to our loyal readers to go through last years' posts and suggest a few things?

Muchas Gracias,


Nokia - historical logo

Whoa. And as if the awesome historical Nokia logo (seen here) wasn't enough:

It took a visit to Finland in 1996 to realize that Nokia the cellphone company and Nokia the tire company were one and the same.

"The Evolution of Tech Logos" at Ask H&FJ

Finland. Awesome.

See Also:

historical logos of Nokia and the Nokia section of The Evolution of Tech Companies' Logos at Neatorama

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22 February 2008
cathedrals - know your English

Name that cathedral a photo identification quiz from The Independent.

Lots of fun -- but beware of the pesky navigation on the pictures (next vs. last). If you're like me, you will be very familiar with Exeter by the time you are finished.

Pictured here: Ely.


21 February 2008
Ben-Hur (1959) - #100

The first part of a new series that reviews the American Film Instute's list "100 Years... 100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition)".

I was pretty impressed when two DVDs arrived in the mail (it's an old school epic with overture, entr'acte), but not as impressed as I was by the awesome, nine-lap chariot race. It is clearly the model for the podrace in The Phantom Menace, but that one is not nearly as good.

The rest of the movie -- and there is a lot of it -- is less impressive. Leprosy and Jesus make an appearance.

This film fell 28 places (and nearly off the list), and I can't say I am surprised. It was #72 on the original.

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20 February 2008
eclipse - total, lunar, 2007, reprise

Tonight: a total lunar eclipse.

Last August?

The previous total lunar eclipse.

eclipse - total, lunar, 2007

Eclipse Feasts: The August 2007 eclipse was on the feast of Augustine, Bishop of Hippo. The next, Tuesday 21 December 2010 will be on the feast of St. Thomas, the Apostle (liturgical color red -- once in a red moon?).

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19 February 2008
bio - brief, new

Regular visitors, or those who read via a newsreader, may not have noticed that I have updated my brief biography on the sidebar under "Archon". It has been updated to include some recent criticism (thanks Scott!).


18 February 2008
news - Sindens in the, voting

The community building is a youth vote hotbed given nearby College of William and Mary. Daniel Sinden, an 18-year-old freshman, cast his first-ever presidential vote for Sen. Barack Obama.

How did Sinden feel about his first non-local race vote?

"It's cool," he said.

Freedland, Seth. "At the polls in James City, Williamsburg". The Daily Press (Newport News, Virginia) 12 February 2008.


17 February 2008
Knight Rider (2008 film) - liveblogging the premiere of

22:57 Right before the conclusion, the show settles into a very familiar rhythm. Mike is given an assignment, and drives out of the back of a semi WHAT? -- no -- it's a PLANE! This is geekily pleasing. It sure sets it up for the "next episode". Whether or not there is one, I don't know.

22:51 This was pretty lame, but it strikes me as similar to the original pilot for Knight Rider. I think all the elements are in place to make a cheesy weekly show, and I hope NBC does.

22:44 Denouement begins. That's it? I don't feel like we saw KITT do a whole lot. Not even a Turbo Boost?!

22:42 The bad guys SUV (was that a Ford?) wrecks into KITT, the FBI arrives. Charles is alright.

22:37 Mike and FBI Agent Rivai quickly take the upper hand despite being on their knees and not having guns. Charles is still caught.

22:33 Everyone is caught; Mike's mom dies. Orders to kill have been given and KITT can only be driven manually at this point. Doesn't look good.

22:29 Michael Knight is Mike Traceur's father. Nuts, KITT is being hacked. And the bad guys arrive.

21:21 A big todo is about to go down. Everyone is converging on a hotel. Looks like we're staying in the tradition of Mike not having a gun?

21:14 KITT knows Matthew 7:12

22:11 It is revealed that KITT utilizes solar power and gets 160 miles per gallon of gas.

22:08 Nope. Not a bad guy. Charles is in the clear. Turns out this is Mike's mom.

22:03 Thirteen minutes after learning he is alive, Charles is caught by a gun, presumably held by a bad guy, right before we go to commercial.

21:57 Plot is clarified: Mike spent time with the "Black River" security firm in Iraq. Sarah worked with her father on the encryption codes for all his work, which is ultimately what Black River is after.

21:50 Charles Graiman, Sarah's father who, is still alive. The man we saw in the opening seen was someone else.

21:49 Mike and Sarah are escaping in KITT. The usual introduction-to-KITT routine ensues.

21:40 Mike's plan to gamble for his winnings is interrupted by Sarah. Uh oh, the bad guys are in casino too.

21:38 A tender moment between KITT and Sarah.

21:32 So we're headed to Las Vegas to find Mike Tracer (the KITT driver-elect) , who I suspect will use KITT to get his $10,000? And Sarah's only been caught by the bad guys for four minutes including commercial. I suspect she will be caught again.

21:27 Special effect: KITT's skin transforms and the car is "disguised". Well, it has a new license plate.

21:21 Lines: "KITT: Sarah your fear is irrational and misplaced.
Sarah: Welcome to the world of being human."

21:20 Geez, even the bad guys drive a Ford.

21:18 The Knight Industries Three Thousand (KITT) arrives and Sarah is safe .

21:15 According to Wikipedia, this would be the first Knight Rider production to see the light of day since 1997.

21:12 Oh dear, Sarah's been caught by the bad guys, and we go to commercial, featuring the Ford Mustang.

21:08 Line: ". . . and the knocking doesn't sound like the hey-let's-all-grab-a-latte kind of knocking."

21:06 Tiny robots: classy. And the old license plate? "That's my kind of ride". Slow-motion special effects are a nice touch at this point. It's nice to see the bullets "handled" by the side of the car, and not simply bounce off. And cue credit sequence.

21:03 Guys in a yellow truck, clearly up to no good. Now look. They're bungling their own plan. Not exactly predictable, but not far off either. And we don't waste much time getting to KITT.

20:59 p.m. Here we go.


poster - motivational, for organists

(via Christus Vincit)


16 February 2008
New York Times - organ in the

Barack Obama -- diligently courting the church musician vote -- is again pictured with the organ at Brown Chapel (African Methodist Episcopal Church) in Selma, Alabama in today's New York Times.

Previously: New York Times - organ on the cover of the

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15 February 2008
lists - listless

An appeal for help from my loyal readers: many churches publish a "music list". Some are in PDF format while others are just on the web, but to my knowledge there is no complete list of these lists.

I think a repository of such lists would be a useful resource for anyone working in, studying or simply curious about Anglican Church music.

If you know of one, or you want to help, would you drop me a line?



14 February 2008
couples - Valentine's Day (2008)

Celebrity canine confusion: Ellen and Paris

Ruckpositiv and Hauptwerk

People I like who I recently discovered were once on the cover of Time magazine: Britten and Cram

Saints: Cyril and Methodius


12 February 2008
Redford, John (d. 1547) - Christe Qui Lux es et Dies

The compline hymn Christe Qui Lux es et Dies in a setting by John Redford might be performed in alternatim, with the organ "singing" stanzas one, three, five and seven.

O Christ, who art the Light and Day,
Thou drivest darksome night away!
We know Thee as the Light of light
Illuminating mortal sight.

All holy Lord, we pray to Thee,
Keep us tonight from danger free;
Grant us, dear Lord, in Thee to rest,
So be our sleep in quiet blest.

Let not the tempter round us creep
With thoughts of evil while we sleep,
Nor with his wiles the flesh allure
And make us in Thy sight impure.

And while the eyes soft slumber take,
Still be the heart to Thee awake,
Be Thy right hand upheld above
Thy servants resting in Thy love.

Yea, our Defender, be Thou nigh,
To bid the powers of darkness fly;
Keep us from sin, and guide for good
Thy servants purchased by Thy blood.

Remember us, dear Lord, we pray,
While in this mortal flesh we stay:
’Tis Thou Who dost the soul defend—
Be present with us to the end.

Blest Thee in One and One in Three,
Almighty God, we pray to Thee,
That Thou wouldst now vouchsafe to bless
Our fast with fruits of righteousness.

1981 Brombaugh
Fairchild Chapel, Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio
David Sinden, organ

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11 February 2008
Litany - Great

I for one believe that the Great Litany really is great, and I live for the first Sunday of Lent (and any other occasions that it might be used).

And I love the latitude given by the Prayer Book:

"To be said or sung, kneeling, standing, or in procession; before the Eucharist or after the Collects of Morning or Evening Prayer; or separately; especially in Lent and on Rogation days."

Did you catch that? Kneeling, standing, or in procession! I've done it kneeling (Trinity on the Green, New Haven) and I've done it in procession, but I have yet to do it standing. I suppose procession is a type of standing.

Church of the Advent, Boston, also sings the Great Litany in Procession.

If you're on Facebook, check out the Great Litany Fan Club.


08 February 2008
Bell, C. D. - "With tender look"

A hymn for the beginning of our Lenten journey into the desert:

With tender look, and voice of thrilling grace,
The SAVIOUR once to His disciples said,
"Come ye apart into a desert place.
And rest awhile the aching heart and head."

He says so still to all who are His own,
To all aweary with the world's sad strife,
"Come, spend with me a little while alone,
Leave the hot fever and the fret of life.

"Come from the world's hard struggle and its din,
Discords that pain the ear and never cease,
Wild stormy passions, tumults of man's sin,
Which put to shame the angel's song of peace.

"Come, when perplexed by doubt or anxious fear,
And I will make dark things all clear and plain,
Will shed the light of hope on dull despair,
And give true peace where now is only pain."

C. D. Bell.


07 February 2008
testicles - goat

On the Diane Rehm show today: the story of John Brinkley, inventor of the goat testicle implant.

Rehm's guest, author Pope Brock (the book is Charlatan), said that the inspiration came from a farmer who reportedly told Brinkley that he had "lost his pep" and said that he wished he "had a pair of Billy Goat nuts".

This, according to Brock, was the eureka moment.

Apparently the wife of this same farmer also had a goat-themed operation from Brinkley. The two conceived a son and named him "Billy".

You can't make this stuff up.

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05 February 2008
tithes - church musicians and political

If church music and Super/Fat Tuesday were to intersect, would be the one to bring that convergence to you.

From the two political donors who have identified their occupation as "organist", Barack Obama has received $250, while Mitt Romney has only received $225.

Expand the criteria to those who identify as "music directors", and there's a lot more money involved:

There you have it. "Music directors" have given $4,242 to Barack Obama, and $350 to John McCain.

How do you like them pancakes?

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04 February 2008
the USAT Dorchester Chaplains - Feast of

The Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music in the Episcopal Church is considering whether to add to Lesser Feasts and Fasts a commemoration of the four U.S. Army chaplains killed on the USAT Dorchester on February 3, 1943.

In the Episcopal Church calendar, February 3 is a commemoration of Anskar, Archbishop of Hamburg, Missionary to Denmark and Sweden.

So the proposed commemoration of the Four Chaplains would be on February 4.


02 February 2008
McGrath, Daniel James - The Choir School in the American Church

Herself was away last evening, so one thing led to another, and before I knew it, I had read all 147 pages (double-spaced) of Daniel McGrath's doctoral thesis, The Choir School in the American Church, which is a hearty defense of men and boys choirs and an advocate for their implementation.

McGrath wisely points out the checkered past of the men & boys choir phenomenon in England: moving from monastery to cathedral and being periodically suppressed by ornery monarchs. In the U.S. choirs of men & boys enjoyed a brief golden age from the 1890s to the early 1920s when there were well over 100 such choirs in the country, many accompanied by choir schools. Now there are about 25 and one school (St Thomas, New York).

McGrath gets a lot right in his dissertation, and his keen observations on rehearsals and structure of choir programs would be well worth a look to anyone in the business.

One of the irritating facets of the dissertation, however, is McGrath's insistence that the 1979 American Prayer Book is antithetical to the notion of a men and boys' choir.

[The] development [of the 1979 Prayer Book] has had a devastating impact on American choirs of men and boys because their repertoire uses the words of the classic Anglican liturgies, and thus the content of the liturgy, rather than the shape, is of greater importance. Some choirmasters of this era argued that it was “inconceivable” that four and a half centuries of great choral repertoire would have to be abandoned just because the priest was saying some thing new at the altar. However, music and the liturgy are so closely intertwined in the Anglican tradition that it is difficult to see how there could be any other outcome.

At face value this just doesn't seem factual or logical. Choirs of men and boys still exist at 25% of their Golden Age levels, and the repertoire they sing is still drawn from those "four and a half centuries". It should be noted that some of these churches still use the 1928 book, but it simply doesn't follow that "traditional prayer book parishes" are the only ones able to support choirs of men and boys.

At times it seems like McGrath's distinction between content (1928) and shape (1979) is an artificial dichotomy he constructs to further his preference for the 1928 book. In my mind, the shape of the Gloria, and its original place in the service (not the errant place it is given in the 1928 book!) has been preserved in the 1979 book. Whether the "content" of the choral Gloria matches the book is irrelevant; no Book of Common Prayer has ever included the Gloria in Latin, yet most choirs of men and boys sing a number of settings in that language.

The 1979 version of Evensong, however, does necessitate some revision in order for the traditional versions of the Preces and Responses to be sung. But to my mind, the 1979 Prayer Book accommodates these "content" changes within the "shape" of Evensong.

And even McGrath admits that places like Grace Church, Newark perform the 1979 liturgy "tastefully".

For all that is well reasoned in the dissertation, McGrath's personal contempt for the 1979 prayer book clouds his arguments in favor of the traditional liturgy. I am not convinced that the Anglican choral tradition is a propaganda tool with which to advocate a return to the traditional liturgy. In some sense, McGrath, whom I presume identifies as an Anglican, and not an American Episcopalian, comes dangerously close to suggesting this.

Nor am I convinced that present liturgical realities will permit a large-scale return to the traditional prayer book. Those cathedrals and endowed parishes in the Episcopal Church who have or desire to have choir "schools" will likely have them with Rite II liturgical language. But how do we prepare our choirs for the next prayer book revision? How do we reconcile the tradition with the theoretical "Rite III"?

If we recognize the men and boys'/girls' choir as an outreach opportunity for the Church that edifies the moral and musical fiber of young men and women, we should seek to open that tradition to all who are interested, and not limit it to a singular understanding of the liturgy.

We limit not the truth of God
to our poor reach of mind,
by notions of our day and sect,
crude, partial, and confined.
no, let a new and better hope
within our hearts be stirred:

The Lord hath yet more light and truth
to break forth from his word.

George Rawson (1807-1889)

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©MMXVII a site for fun and prophet

Organ and church music, esoteric liturgics, and a site that changes color with the liturgical year.


Looking for Carol Spreadsheets?

Hungry? Try the Liturgical Guide to Altoids Consumption

Thirsty? Try the Tibia Liquida

The Eric Harding Thiman Fan Page: The greatest composer you've never even heard of.

Infrequently Asked Questions

picture of a chicken

Questions? Problems? email the sexton.


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.




Anglicans Online
Alex Ross: The Rest is Noise
Book of Common Prayer
Brain Pickings
The Daily Office
The Lectionary Page
Sed Angli
Ship of Fools
The Sub-Dean's Stall
Vested Interest - Trinity Church in the City of Boston


Andrew Kotylo - Concert Organist
Anne Timberlake
Bonnie Whiting, percussion
conjectural navel gazing: jesus in lint form
Friday Night Organ Pump
Halbert Gober Organs, Inc.
in time of daffodils
Joby Bell, organist
Musical Perceptions
Musings of a Synesthete
My Life as Style, Condition, Commodity.
Nathan Medley, Countertenor
Notes on Music & Liturgy
The Parker Quartet
Roof Crashers & Hem Grabbers
Steven Rickards
That Which We Have Heard & Known
This Side of Lost
Wayward Sisters
Zachary Wadsworth | composer

Archenemies Aviary



Advent (Medfield MA)
All Saints, Ashmont (Boston MA)
All Saints (Indianapolis IN)
Atonement (Bronx NY)
Broadway UMC (Indianapolis IN)
Cathedral of All Saints (Albany NY)
Christ Church (Bronxville NY)
Christ Church (Madison IN)
Christ Church (New Haven CT)
Christ Church Cathedral (Indianapolis IN)
Christ's Church (Rye NY)
Church of St. Stephen (Hamden CT)
Congregational (Belmont CA)
Coventry Cathedral (UK)
First UMC (Lancaster SC)
Gloria Dei ELCA (Iowa City IA)
Immanuel Lutheran (St Paul MN)
Immanuel Lutheran (Webster NY)
John Knox PCUSA (Houston TX)
St Andrew (Marblehead MA)
St Andrew's, Oregon Hill (Richmond VA)
St Bartholomew the Great, (London, England)
St James's (Lake Delaware NY)
St James's (Richmond VA)
St James Cathedral (Chicago IL)
St Mary's Cathedral (Memphis TN)
St Matthew and St Timothy (NYC)
St Paul's (Cleveland Heights OH)
St Paul's (Indianapolis IN)
St Paul's Cathedral (Buffalo NY)
St Paul's, K Street (Washington DC)
St Peter's (Lakewood OH)
St Peter's ELCA (NYC)
St Stephen's (Richmond VA
St Thomas (New Haven CT)
St Thomas ELCA (Bloomington IN)
Second PCUSA (Indianapolis IN)
Towson Presbyterian Church (MD)
Tremont Temple Baptist (Boston MA)
Trinity (Indianapolis IN)
Trinity on the purple (New Haven CT)


BBC Radio 3 Choral Evensong
New College (Oxford, England)
St John's College (Cambridge, England)
St Thomas (New York NY)


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