Last Wednesday, on International Women's Day, the weekly BBC broadcast of Choral Evensong was from Truro Cathedral.
In that service all of the music – we do mean all of it – was composed by women. We do commend this service to you if you have not already heard it (you have about a month left to listen as of this writing).
One composer that I was particularly glad to hear was Sasha Johnson Manning (b. 1963). You might have heard of her, but chances are that if you live in the USA (like me) you haven't.
Her Responses for the service were splendidly rich, and her Anglican Chants for the psalms were splendidly conceived – a breath of fresh air.
Who is Sasha Johnson Manning? Well, you can read a bit about her on this Wikipedia article.
But coming to St. Peter's, St. Louis a bit over a year ago, it was hard not to encounter her music.
Thanks to a connection with a parishioner, St. Peter's has commissioned Manning on numerous occasions.
Said parishioner is at the helm of the Saint Louis Chamber Chorus, where Manning has previously held the position of composer-in-residence.
And let us pause for a moment to laud the work of the Saint Louis Chamber Chorus in commissioning and performing new music. This group and their work on this front should be more widely known.
Organist Scott Montgomery recorded her Parade for St. Peter on his 2010 CD Inspirations from England, which was recorded on the Mander organ at St. Peter's, the instrument for which it was composed.
Her music was recorded on the St. Peter's Choir's 2013 CD A Year In Saint Louis. Her carol "A wonder of angels", recorded on that disc, is immediately attractive.
Manning was commissioned to write a piece in honor of my predecessor which he directed St. Peter's for the AGO Regional Convention in St. Louis in 2015.
And last May I conducted the premiere of a new communion anthem by Manning, "Here, O my Lord".
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