We can experience transcendence through music—a brush with another spiritual realm. One person may feel exhilaration at a high decibel heavy metal show while another is uplifted by the sweet melancholy of a band like The Cure. The ancient melodies of Gregorian Chant can bring the faithful to tears while the roar of a pipe organ leading a congregation in a majestic Germanic hymn could be heard as glorious. The styles and modes of transmission can be so varied and seemingly contradictory in intent. But they are unified by our individual spirits looking upward. Engaged. Stirred.
Songs of Unity this Sunday, then.
Come and find your quiet center with two songs of peace this Sunday morning.
First, the sublime "Chant de paix" by Jean Langlais invites calm and prayer as we prepare for worship together. And the Summer Choir returns with a musical offering of "Prayer for Peace" by David Cherwien. Please feel free to join us in singing this simple and accessible piece! Rehearsal is at 9:15 a.m.
The unofficial "Toccata Month" reaches its exciting conclusion in an early toccata in F major by Baroque composer Dietrich Buxtehude. A stirring call to action and movement as we head out into the world at service's end.a
At the 6:00 p.m. service, cantor Blair Carpenter, ukulelist Stuart Yoshida, and I offer songs of peace and gratitude as evening falls.
A fanfare on the Handel-composed hymn tune "Gopsal" begins morning worship by British composer David Willcocks. Well-known for his soaring Christmas descants on carols such as "O Come, All Ye Faithful" and "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" (heard annually at Plymouth!), his brief and punchy call to worship exudes a savvy contemporary air.
July has been a month of toccatas at the postlude and so why stop now! Toccata comes from the Italian term 'toccare' meaning "to touch." It usually infers a virtuosic work meant to be flashy and technical. The "Toccata giocosa" ('giocosa' meaning playful) by William Mathias is a whimsical and creative take on the traditional toccata form. This sectional work brings the listener on an adventurous journey of harmony, rhythm, and timbre.
At the Prelude, a setting of the Genevan Psalter tune "Old Hundredth" by Baroque composer Georg Friedrich Kauffmann—joyfully enter the temple. At the Anthem, a setting of "For the Beauty of the Earth" by John Rutter sung by the Chancel Choir—marveling at God's creation. At the Postlude, "Toccata in 7" by John Rutter—walking purposefully into the world wearing our faith on our sleeve.
At 6:00 p.m., Celtic chants based on ancient Psalm texts—come seek the face of God.
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.