Both of the Sunday services this weekend, 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., will be steeped in jazz!
6:00 p.m. service music coordinator and pianist Bobby Brannock will lead a quartet featuring UNC professor Kenyon Brenner (sax), Cameron Collums (bass), and Matt Brown (drums). Vocalist Blair Carpenter will join the group at 6:00. Jazz standards by McCoy Tyner and Dave Brubeck will be heard. You will even have a chance to sing a hymn tune by Duke Ellington.
In another life (it seems...) I studied jazz bass at Berklee College of Music, Boston and fell in love with the genre. Even though much beauty can be discovered in music from the classical period and earlier, the harmonies and aesthetic brought to life in jazz creates an affect like no other. What an original American art form and gift to the world! It is also true that much can be attributed to the compositions of Debussy, Ravel, Brahms, Franck and other 19th century masters to help pave the way to the creation of jazz, which I always found very interesting.
So I do hope you will find these worship services meaningful and moving! I wish I could be there but will away for a conducting workshop in San Diego. Jazz at Plymouth is not uncommon to those who hear the musical stylings of Mr. Brannock weekly. My predecessor, I know, offered the genre in various ways to Plymouth as well, of which I'm grateful. More to come in this approach, perhaps sooner than later...
Director of Music
In the morning, we will hear two selections from Max Reger’s Opus 59, a collection of twelve pieces for organ published in 1901. Pastorale is a trio from the first half of the collection, which comprises settings of traditional compositional forms such as a toccata, fugue, and intermezzo. The pastorale form itself is typically in a three meter over a drone-like bass and has often been associated with nature, specifically the Christmas story of the shepherds. Famous examples include the Pastoral Symphony from Handel’s Messiah and the third movement of Vivaldi’s Spring concerto (The Four Seasons). The second half of Opus 59 contains mostly liturgical pieces of which the final work will be offered, Te Deum. Based on the Gregorian Chant melody ascribed to the ancient Christian hymn of praise, Te Deum Laudamus (Thee, O God, we praise), the piece slowly crescendos to a grand Regerian finale.
Soprano Jennifer Stimson will offer a setting of Psalm 23, our scripture reading this Sunday, by composer David Childs.
At 6:00 p.m., Bobby, vocalist Blair Carpenter, and other familiar friends of Plymouth will present a Celtic-inspired selection of songs and musical offerings.
At 10 a.m., we hear two organ works by German composers from two very different eras. J.S. Bach’s chorale prelude on Liebster Jesu, wir sind hier (translated as “Dearest Jesus, we are here”) opens the worship service. Bach wrote several settings of this tune by Johann Ahle (1664). The present setting, categorized as BWV 731, is an early work. The exact date of composition is unknown. Hermann Schroeder (1904-1984) strived to compose music free of any Romantic leanings and instead employed Medieval elements such as Gregorian Chant and modal scales along with quartal/quintal harmonies and aspects of atonality. He was considered a member of the “Neo-Baroque” movement which also included Paul Hindemith and Hugo Distler in its roster. Schroeder’s brief Praeludium will close the service.
The Summer Choir returns this Sunday in the second of three opportunities this season offering “In This Very Room” by Ron and Carol Harris. You too can join us if you wish! Rehearsal begins at 9:15 a.m. in the sanctuary.
At 6 p.m., Bobby will be joined by trumpeter Tony Gezzi and friends for an evening of eclectic musical stylings.
I also wanted to say just a few words about the trip to Texas Hal and I took this past week. In case you didn’t know, we had been selected for a Lilly Scholar grant, courtesy of the Church Music Institute, that enabled us to attend workshops at St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church in Dallas and a week of classes at Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. The information received has been overwhelming and will be processed slowly in the coming weeks. I know our project as part of the Lilly Scholar grant, the refinement and continued intentional evolution of our 6:00 p.m. service, will greatly benefit from this past week, as will all of our service offerings at Plymouth. Being immersed in an environment of shared learning and being among our peers and colleagues from several different denominations was inspiring, motivating, and encouraging to the work we all do here. Hal and I will return next summer for continued study and will meet with our Colorado counterparts in this Lilly Project, representatives from Heart of the Rockies of Fort Collins and First Congregational Church of Boulder. We are excited to see realized a deepening and evolution of our services as we continue forward. More to come.
Director of Music
Each week, Director of Music Mark Heiskanen writes a Music Minute previewing the upcoming Sunday's musical offerings and occasionally opines on other music-related topics.
We are blessed by an engaging music program at Plymouth!
Mark Heiskanen has been Plymouth's Director of Music since September 2017. Originally from Northeast Ohio, Mark has experience and great interest in a diverse range of musical styles including jazz, rock, musical theatre, and gospel. He is thrilled to serve a congregation and staff that values diversity and inclusion in all facets of life.