From the Bench
Alleluia, Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed, Alleluia!
I promised Fr. Chris a Dovetale article for April. I used to write church newsletter articles once a week. Surely I can now handle writing once a month. It requires getting back in the habit.
We all know the Opening Acclamation during the Easter season. We sing it after the Procession Hymn each week until Pentecost. It is a joyous season for Christians around the world.
In an effort to garner a bit of inspiration for this article I decided to search Youtube for some musical inspiration. I rarely do this as I prefer live performance to recorded music; always have, always will. But, I was inspired by what I found and surprisingly, what I found posted online in the New York Times.
Now, when I speak of The New York Times please allow me to tell you what I have found. There is nothing political here, but, something of a surprise that I just don’t recall from my New York days.
The New York Times published all the music which was to be performed at all the major services during Passiontide; Palm Sunday through Easter. That is a lot of services! I was stunned…in a good way!
From The New York Times:
THE CATHEDRAL OF ST. JOHN THE DIVINE (Episcopal), 1047 Amsterdam Avenue, at 112th Street, Morningside Heights. Louis Vierne’s “Messe Solennelle”; Howard Helvey’s “Rejoice All Spirits!”; Taverner’s “Dum Transisset Sabbatum”; canzoni of Giovanni Gabrieli. The Cathedral Choir; Kent Tritle, music director. At 11 a.m.; 212-316-7540, stjohndivine.org.
We are now Anglicans but I do pay attention to what is happening musically at St. John the Divine. Kent Tritle and I were classmates at Juilliard. We weren’t just classmates; we were friends. He grew up on a farm in Iowa. Since we were both from “small towns” we could relate to each other in many ways. He is a fantastic organist, choir director, and musician.
Also from The New York Times:
CHURCH OF ST. IGNATIUS LOYOLA (Roman Catholic), 980 Park Avenue, at 84th Street. Bach’s “Christ Ist Erstanden” (BWV 627); Rutter’s “Christ the Lord Is Risen Again”; Louis White’s “Psalm 150”; Lynnwood Farnam “Toccata on O Filii et Filiae” (10:30 a.m. only); Charles-Marie Widor’s “Toccata” from Organ Symphony No. 5 (noon only). Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola; Parish Community Choir; St. Ignatius brass and percussion; K. Scott Warren, music director. At 10:30 a.m. and noon; 212-288-3588, stignatiusloyola.org.
This is Jesuit Catholic Church where Jackie Kennedy’s Requiem Mass was held. In fact, Kent Tritle played the service. This is an incredibly beautiful church with Tiffany stained glass windows: yes, Tiffany as in the jewelry store. There are three organists on staff at this church. I don’t know the current music director but I do know one of the organists quite well and have played on this organ.
For the record, our newspaper article listed Charles-Marie Widor’s “Toccata” from Organ Symphony No. 5 , too!
So, what is my point of all of this?
People are drawn into church for a myriad of reasons. In a perfect world one would hope it would always be the Gospel. People have to have a reason to attend church. Maybe they find inspiration in the stained glass windows and the Gospel. Maybe they comfort in the BCP’s in the pew racks. The Rectors and the music directors of these “famous” churches believe the music, which was scheduled to be performed on Easter, was important…in fact, important enough to be published in the city paper which happens to reach around the globe.
Music has played an historic role at Holy Comforter since it’s inception in Cleburne. There will more about this in the near future. It will continue to do so with God’s help.