Easter 2024

22 September 2017
Jackson, Francis - 100th birthday of

The birthday celebrations have begun! English organist and composer Francis Jackson will turn 100 on Monday, October 2.

With Heart and Voice, the organ and church music program from WXXI in Rochester, N.Y., begins the celebration with this week's episode, "Comes Autumn Time." The program include Jackson's hymn tune EAST ACKLAM and his Benedicite in G.

Episcopalians have this lovely tune at their disposal at Hymn 424 in the Hymnal 1982.

So often we see a birth date like (b. 1917) in this Hymnal, published over thirty years ago, and mentally assume that the person must have passed on. Not so with Francis Jackson!

Last night, a young chorister asked me if the author of the hymn, Fred Pratt Green was still living. The hymnal notes his birth year as 1903. Green died in 2000.

At St. Peter's, St. Louis, we will sing his marvelous anthem "Lo, God is here" this Sunday. Jackson composed this anthem for the Oxford anthology Anthems for Choirs 1, which he edited. I love this little anthem and its raw, visceral energy.

The anthem is acrobatic. There are no fewer than four key changes. The harmonic twists and turns sound unexpected but are not terribly difficult to manage. There are no fewer than four key changes in this short anthem! I find the consecutive upward leaps of a major seventh at the words "To thee may all our thoughts arise" particularly compelling and memorable.

Anthems for Choirs 1 is out of print, and used copies are cost-prohibitive for choirs that do not already own them, like the Choir of St. Peter's, St. Louis. Luckily, an Oxford "archive print" is available through Banks Music. It is a legally available facsimile of what appears in Anthems for Choirs (the first page is numbered 88).

We'll sing Hymn 424 and hear a bit of his organ music next Sunday.

And I think it's time to dust off his lovely Magnificat and Nunc dimittis in G, too.

Update, 3 October 2017: Pipedreams episode 1740, "Music for a Long While" also celebrates the Jackson centenary. The program is a good mix of Jackson's composition, performance, and includes some of the York Minster choir under his direction.

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21 September 2017
Hymnal 1982 Errata

At rehearsal tonight someone asked a question about Hymn 307 in the Hymnal 1982: is it supposed to be "thou art here" or "thou are here?". The hymnal prints it both ways at the conclusion of stanza 2.

There are little inconsistencies like this all through the hymnal. Some are musical, some are textual. Some occur in early editions but are fixed in later ones. But it's like a big scavenger hunt figuring out where they are and what the correct answers are.

Isn't it time we had a centralized location for all these things we've learned about this hymnal in its 32 year history?

I think so.

That's why I hope you'll join me in helping to create a Hymnal 1982 Errata.

What mistakes have you found? What do other Episcopal choirs (and congregations, ack!) need to know about?

Let's work together on a list.

It will live as a Google Document until we feel like it might be ready for more formal distribution.

Please add your suggestions in the comments below, or send me an email (

You can view the current version of the document here: Hymnal 1982 Errata (Google Doc)


09 September 2017
David Sinden 2017 Salary Guide for Musicians in Religious Institutions

The PDF document may be downloaded here: David Sinden 2017 Salary Guide for Musicians in Religious Institutions

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06 September 2017
2017 AGO Salary Guide

9 September 2017

Dear organist colleagues,

I am a member of the American Guild of Organists (AGO) and have been since about the time my feet were able to reach the pedals. I have performed in Member Recitals. I have served on Program and Executive Committees. I am a Past Dean. I believe in the mission and the work of the AGO, even as our profession and our professional organization continue to evolve.

I also believe that religious organizations should fairly compensate organists for their work.

The AGO published a Salary Guide for Musicians Employed by Religious Institutions for many years. I understand that the AGO no longer publishes this document for legal reasons.

But copies of this document still exist. It was published in The American Organist and surely remains available in academic libraries that received the journal. The AGO also hosted a PDF copy of the Salary Guide on their website. The PDF files of these past Salary Guides remain freely available on, which is where I retrieved the 2015 Salary Guide and other documents in January of this year.

I am not presently in a leadership position in the AGO. I am a member, and I intend to remain one. The original content of the post you are reading has been removed. The AGO asked that the content of this post be removed. Upon receipt of this request, I took immediate action to remove the content.

But I do wonder if attempted total censorship of this old material is really warranted, or even possible. The Salary Guide and other documents are, at the very least, a part of Guild history. Destruction of this material in libraries and on the internet seems infeasible.

It is clear to me that AGO members have very practical employment concerns, and I know that many who visit will be frustrated by my decision to remove this material. I hope that AGO members, chapters, and regional and national leaders can find more ways to openly discuss employment and salary without running afoul of federal regulatory agencies.

All of the material I have removed today is scheduled re-publish on on Tuesday, May 26, 2037, the day the Federal Trade Commission order terminates.

David Sinden

p.s. I hope you’ll check out my new podcast on Liturgy and Music from an Episcopal/Anglican perspective called All Things Rite and Musical. Listen at


03 September 2017
Smith, George Wayne - on the importance of keeping the liturgy for the Ordination of a Bishop in the Book of Common Prayer

Recently, I was listening to From All Points a podcast from Episcopal Cafe, specifically "Episode 8: The Prayer Book".

In this episode, the suggestion was made that we need a "pew edition" of the prayer book that takes out some of the lesser used elements. The service for the Ordination of a Bishop, it was suggested, would best be moved to The Book of Occasional Services since it is, quite literally, a very occasional service.

This did not sit well with me. But I couldn't really articulate why.

Luckily, I didn't have long to ruminate on it, because I've been reading Admirable Simplicity: Principles for Worship Planning in the Anglican Tradition by George Wayne Smith. Smith wrote this book in 1996 when he was an Episcopal priest. He was ordained a Bishop of the Diocese of Missouri in 2002.

As Smith so clearly articulates, the reason that we keep this service in the Book of Common Prayer has to do with the role of the prayer book in our belief as Anglicans (lex orandi lex credendi: "the law of prayer is the law of belief;" or, in the title of another book on Episcopal liturgy, "Praying Shapes Believing").

But for Anglicans the consensus achieved through common prayer does provide a center point not only for practice but for belief. Thus the Book of Common Prayer bears scrutiny for all aspects of Anglican believing. And so BCP 1979 includes, for example, the order for the ordination of a bishop, despite the fact that this service will be used about once every decade or two in a given diocese. It is even then a matter for diocesan worship, not parochial worship. But this infrequently used service tells us what Anglicans believe about bishops in a way no other resource can. The way faithful people worship when gathering as the church to ordain a bishop tells Anglicans what they believe about bishops on all occasions. And so any practical concerns about omitting a little-used service from the book in order to save on printing costs has to give way to the principle of lex orandi lex credendi.

Smith, George Wayne. Admirable Simplicity: Principles for Worship Planning in the Anglican Tradition. Church Hymnal Corporation, 1996, p. 38.

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