My life flows on in endless song above earth's lamentation,
I hear the sweet though far-off hymn that hails a new creation.
Through all the tumult and the strife, I hear that music ringing.
It finds an echo in my soul. How can I keep from singing?
Robert Lowry, alt. (1869)
The Summer Choir returns with an uplifting setting of the American folk hymn "How Can I Keep from Singing?" by Timothy Shaw. The text invites us to persevere and actively live into faith and hope no matter what life brings our way. A pertinent message for our times and any other.
From the organ, distinctive arrangements of two well-known Christian hymns of faith and discipleship:
First, the venerable Irish tune "Slane" (commonly sung to the text "Be Now My Vision") becomes the subject of a contemporary partita by composer Daniel Pinkham in his characteristic quirky and inventful style.
Lastly, the 19th century American tune "Foundation" (the melody of the hymn "How Firm a Foundation") serves as the basis for a thrilling toccata by acclaimed organ composer Craig Phillips. Multi-sectional with creative expressions of the theme throughout, the work closes with the bombastic and seldom used Festival Trumpet stop.
This Sunday morning we reprise the "eclectic" service typically offered at 9:00 a.m. during the academic year. The spiritual essence of music from the likes of Coldplay, David Bowie, and Genesis mingle freely with sounds from the Celtic tradition and more. Bassist Peter Strening, guitarist Alan Skowron, and vocalist/cellist Lucas Jackson join us for this diverse worshipful experience. We hope to see you then — in person or online.
At the Prelude, an aria for the organ by prolific Lutheran composer extraordinaire Paul Manz. Referencing the vocal solo music form, a beautiful fluid melody soars above a pulsating string accompaniment. An imitative section on the plenum registration offers a full-bodied choral response before descending back into the solo voice.
At the Offertory, a thoughtful and mysterious pondering of the classic hymn of dedication, "My Faith Looks Up to Thee" by Russian composer Yury Arbatsky. This beloved tune is played in a double canon on the manuals with a murky pedal line lurking below. Searching for truth, perhaps.
At the Postlude, the joyous "Festival Voluntary" by Belgian composer Flor Peeters is offered. Conceived with the stately British organ voluntary in mind, this boisterous recessional sends us out into the world with spirit and hope.
Summer Choir returns this Sunday with a setting of the American folk hymn "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing" by David Ashley White. You are invited to join us for this casual and fun worshipful experience with rehearsal beginning at 9:15 a.m. Come, lend a voice! All are welcome.
From the organ, we will hear two German hymn tunes of praise and thanks: the sectional early Baroque setting of "All Glory Be to God on High" by Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck and the rousing Sigfrid Karg-Elert setting of the beloved hymn "Now Thank We All Our God."