Easter 2024

29 June 2011
Show - Peep

I was reminded this week of my passing interest several months ago in the British television show Peep Show which I have just got around to watching this week.

It is funny, but a dark, awkward, irreverent, immature material for mature audiences kind of funny.

I am especially fond of Mark's first scene (which, for our more sensitive viewers, contains one bad word beginning with S and ending with HIT):

Another bonus of this show is that Mark keeps making Columbo refernces, so I wandered on over to Netflix and also caught one of those. This comes on the heels of hearing Terry Gross's Fresh Air interview with the late Peter Falk, which I found very entertaining despite never having scene the program in which he starred.

So there it is. This week's pop culture synergy.


27 June 2011
surplices - worn by women

On women in church choirs wearing surplices:

'Aside from the grave impropriety of the matter, a growing evil we fear, in certain places—there arises the practical objection of the illegality of the practice, even in the eye of the civil law. Our opinion most decidedly is, that girls and women doing this would readily be liable to arrest and fine, before the civil magistrate; and any objector to this costume could easily so move, were he minded, and stir up the largest sort of an ecclesiastical rumpus. [...] Our judgment therefore would be, that females appearing in this acknowledged male attire in our public worship, are liable to arrest, and could be arrested. They might just as well, and just as lawfully, appear in pantaloons, cutaways and plug hats—parading on the public streets.' (October 1894)

Isaac Lea Nicholson (1844-1906), Bishop of Milwaukee, quoted by Anglicans Online

It's interesting to note that at St. Paul's, Richmond, a vested choir (presumably of men & women, as a mixed quartet had existed for years) appeared the following Easter.

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19 June 2011
Darke, Harold - "St. Anne" Fugue

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16 June 2011
color - endless

I received the following email yesterday. I didn't have time to read it so, naturally, I'm posting it here.

date Wed, Jun 15, 2011 at 16:25
subject Fwd: pipe organ
hide details 16:25 (1 hour ago)
In a message dated 6/14/2011 3:15:52 PM Eastern Daylight Time, writes: 
pipe organ availability 

I am in a position to broker the following  consisting largely of several vintage organs:
1] a symphonic instrument from an academic institution
2] an ecclesiastical organ of 1920s and 1970s pipework from a now- defunct religious institution 
3] additionally stock pipes of high qulaity plus new pipe fill in the missing elements for a gran american symphonic organ with american classic elements for a magnificent ensemble of great power, dignity, authority and endless color and nuance
4] a complete pipe organ to suite ANY budget as LOW as $79,865 for TEN pre-owned unit ranks: 1 diapason; 3 strings, 3 flutes;3 reeds

all manual chests to be new
off-set chests to be preowned or new
an elegant vintage console with restored ivory keys and knobs and a new pedalboard with all new console solid-state controls

all this plus on-site tonal finishing by expert flue and reed voicers to assure a custom fit 

write for more info

s bournias
warren ohio

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 14 Jun 2011 15:15:52 EDT
Subject: pipe organ
pipe organ availability 

I am in a position to broker the following  consisting largely of several vintage organs:
1] a symphonic instrument from an academic institution
2] an ecclesiastical organ of 1920s and 1970s pipework from a now- defunct religious institution 
3] additionally stock pipes of high qulaity plus new pipe fill in the missing elements for a gran american symphonic organ with american classic elements for a magnificent ensemble of great power, dignity, authority and endless color and nuance
4] a complete pipe organ to suite ANY budget as LOW as $79,865 for TEN pre-owned unit ranks: 1 diapason; 3 strings, 3 flutes;3 reeds

all manual chests to be new
off-set chests to be preowned or new
an elegant vintage console with restored ivory keys and knobs and a new pedalboard with all new console solid-state controls

all this plus on-site tonal finishing by expert flue and reed voicers to assure a custom fit 

write for more info

s bournias
warren ohio 

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15 June 2011
Holly - Buddy

It's a song. I played it.

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12 June 2011
water - wind and

Christopher Webber reflects on baptism and commercialism:

But then there’s Pentecost, the festival of the Holy Spirit. Where are the merchants on this one? How much action have you seen in the store windows or on television to remind you that Pentecost is coming? If you weren’t a Christian, how would you know? Even if you are a Christian, how would you know? Did you remember it was Pentecost yourself when you came to church today? The fact is, that for all their ingenuity and pursuit of capital gains, no one seems to have figured out how to capitalize on the Holy Spirit. How do you promote Pentecost? What is there to sell?

"Wind and Water", a sermon by Christopher L. Webber


07 June 2011
Kevorkian, Jack - Passacaglia on BACH

In college I hosted the Organ Pump, a monthly midnight organ recital.

As we approached the famous "Halloween" Organ Pump at Oberlin College in 2002 with a brand new Fisk organ we knew we'd have a full house. Interest in the Organ Pump's homecoming to Finney Chapel, it's home since 1992, was high.

My organ professor, David Boe, was interested in the repertoire for the recital and had an idea about it.

"You know," he said one day, "Jack Kevorkian wrote a piece for the organ".

"Really?" a nerdy, overzealous, undergraduate (myself) replied.

"Yes," he said, "it might be fun to play it on the Organ Pump program, but it's not a very good piece."

As I recall he gave me the score a few days later. It was a fax of a few generations of photocopies, but still perfectly legible. The kind of thing that had been passed around organ academic circles for a while beginning in the days before email, I suppose.

It didn't really matter what it sounded like, did it? It was organ music by Jack Kevorkian! Sadly, I must have thrown this copy out with my music theory assignments later in the year (see?! being a pack rat can come in handy now and then!).

But as luck would have it, another self-professed "nerdy" undergraduate at the time was in the habit of recording these Organ Pumps. So, after nine years, I present to you a recording of the performance.

I can't remember if it really was an organ piece. Could I have been adapting this from a piano score? Kevorkian loved Bach, but this piece doesn't turn up anywhere on Google that I can find. I would be very grateful if anyone could point me to another copy (that I promise to take better care of).

And writing organ music on the theme BACH (the pitches B-flat, A, C, B-natural) has been a popular form of homage since the great composer left this earth.

It was a great homecoming Organ Pump that year. As I recall we had an audience of (estimating conservatively) 800 college students and one very kind, very mischievous organ professor.

Passacaglia on BACH
Jack Kevorkian (1928-2011)

David Sinden, organ
Finney Chapel, Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio
C. B. Fisk organ, Opus 116
recorded live 1 November 2002


Many thanks, Jonathan! Never expected to hear this again!

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06 June 2011
violence - workplace

A year ago I was attacked in the place where I worked.

While rehearsing the choir in the church on Sunday morning in preparation for the service I was suddenly and violently grabbed, held and verbally threatened by a choir member.

The circumstances of the violent incident meant that it was deeply upsetting not only to me, but to the choir and members of the congregation.

And while violence can occur in church just like anywhere else (and, yes, there are those pioneering pastors packing pistols) most people assume that it will be random. A drifter, a bum, a drunk. Someone wanders in and does something stupid.

But what if it's someone you know? What if it's someone you love?

What if it's someone who you've known worked with for several years? You've sung, prayed and shared many meals together. Week in and week out: rehearsal, Evensong, breaking bread, Eucharist, passing the peace.

“this cannot be happening”

By now you've probably figured out that this is not a pleasant topic and you're tempted to stop reading. This will never happen to me, you think. Or, this will never happen in my church . . . in my denomination . . . to anyone I know.

Let me tell you that I thought exactly the same thing as I was being held against the choir stall in front of about 100 or so people: "this cannot be happening".

But it was.

Here are a few thoughts:

  1. Should you call the police? If the handbook you give to your church staff and lay leadership addresses violence it probably requires this anyway. In the situation I experienced no one called the police that morning (myself included). It's hard for a community to call the cops on someone they love, but by not reporting an illegal action you implicitly condone it. Tough love, I think they call it.
  2. Should you pray? Despite everyone being shaken, I think continuing with the service that morning was a very good thing. I was not physically injured and was eager to continue with the job I was there to do. I really love this church music work -- what Erik Routley called our "duty and delight". In my haste to get on the organ bench and begin the prelude, however, perhaps I passed over other opportunities for prayer, not just for myself, but for the congregation. I think it was difficult for the congregation to pray that morning. I heard audible gasps from the church as I was being held. I'm told that some left the church for a time to talk but came back for most of the service. Perhaps I should have allowed time for the community to respond to what had just happened.
  3. You should sing because singing is a kind of prayer. It can be hard to sing through tears, but I've always believed that a community is meant to sustain those who loose their voice for a few beats, whether they cough, sneeze or sob. And pray for the offender.

    That day was the Second Sunday after Pentecost and the Epistle reading, Galatians 1:11-24, include's Paul's admission that "[he] was violently persecuting the church of God and was trying to destroy it." Immediately after this lesson we sang Hymn 255, "We sing the glorious conquest", which include's John Ellerton's verses

    Your grace, by ways mysterious, our sinful wrath can bind,
    and in those least expected true servants you can find

    I have to believe it no accident that the hymn that I had chosen weeks earlier led for me to pray for my attacker, a child of God, in very short order. Again, in the words of Ellerton:

    . . . that we, in every hour,
    in all that may confront us, will trust your hidden power.
  4. Should you help each other? Yes. You need to talk about what happened. The service ended, and I needed many friends in the coming days and weeks. The community, especially one that witnessed the event so closely, needed conversation, prayer and fellowship.
  5. Pray for peace. The community also heard in no uncertain terms that violence is not God's way and is not appropriate in the Christian community that we strive to be.
    O God, the creator and preserver of all mankind, we humbly beseech thee for all sorts and conditions of men; that thou wouldest be pleased to make thy ways known unto them, thy saving health unto all nations. More especially we pray for thy holy Church universal; that it may be so guided and governed by thy good Spirit, that all who profess and call themselves Christians may be led into the way of truth, and hold the faith in unity of spirit, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life. Finally, we commend to thy fatherly goodness all those who are in any ways afflicted or distressed, in mind, body, or estate; that it may please thee to comfort and relieve them according to their several necessities, giving them patience under their sufferings, and a happy issue out of all their afflictions. And this we beg for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen.

This is difficult to write about. There is still a lot of pain surrounding this for me, even a year later. Because of this I worry that what I write may be muddled or misguided. If so, I ask your forgiveness.

I didn't choose to be a victim of workplace violence on that Sunday morning, but I do hope I can offer some insight or be helpful in some way on this topic.

I continue to pray for healing for all involved.

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05 June 2011
Revere, Paul - Anglican chant about

Surely choirs are looking for a quick, easy, patriotic introit for the upcoming Independence Day holiday. I think the recent account of Paul Revere's midnight ride is, um, if not appropriate than at least fun to sing to Anglican chant. Find a single chant by an American composer and you're all set.

He who | warned the | British
that they | weren’t going • to be | taking a-way our | arms 

by | ringing those | bells 
- | and by | making | sure 

that as he is riding his | horse through | town 
to send those | warning | shots and | bells 

that we were going be secure and we were going | to be | free
and | we were | going • to be | armed.

Language standardized to the way people should really talk. I call it NRSP (New Revised Standard Palin)


02 June 2011
carols - Ascension Day

I have searched every year for the past several years for the following information: what carol does the Choir of St. John's College, Cambridge sing from the Chapel Tower on Ascension Day?

Today, via the Choir's Facebook page, I found a definitive answer:

Every year since 1903 the Choir has ascended the Chapel Tower to sing the Ascensiontide Carol.

At 163 feet the Tower is the highest point in Cambridge and, once the bells have struck midday, the Choir sings each year to a massed crowd down below in First Court.

Praetorius - The Lord Ascendeth up on High
Marenzio - O Rex Gloriae

"The Lord ascendeth up on high" is found in the Episcopal Hymnal 1982 at hymn 219, Words by Arthur T. Russell (1806-1874), altered, and music by Michael Praetorius (1571-1621).

The answer to this puzzle has been within easy reach lo these many years!

There are, of course, other carols for this major feast -- the American Prayer Book calls it a "Principal Feast" -- of the church.

You can find a few more in the Cowley Carol Book (1922), compiled by G. R. Woodward

The second anthem (not a carol) seems to change, as a YouTube video shows the choir singing Stanford's "Coelos Ascendit Hodie" in a previous year.

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Day - Ascension

This is a great t-shirt for today:


Happy Ascension.



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