The hymnody, choral anthem texts, and readings from scripture in the Epiphany season make plentiful references to light as we reflect upon Christ's illumination of our hearts. On this Second Sunday of Epiphany, the baptism of Christ in the Jordan invites us to reflect also on our own renewal and showing the face of Christ to all we meet.
From the organ...the baptismal hymn "O Blessed Spring" is arranged by James Biery as a set of two contrasting movements. The first, a somewhat fugal play on the opening melody line overlaying the complete tune in the pedal (reminiscent of Baroque-era composition practices). The second, a flowing string accompaniment in the Lydian mode with the hymn tune freely reinterpreted on a flute stop high above: a mystical and wistful retelling of the tune. Healey Willan's gentle setting of "Song 13" (composed by Orlando Gibbons in 1623) evokes a text often paired with this melody, "Light Divine": "Holy Ghost, with light divine...turn the darkness into day." "Each Morning God Renews Her Grace" is the first movement from Gerhard Krapf's "Organ Sonata III on Morning Chorales." Unified by a recurring quartal/quintal harmony fanfare, the work eventually reveals the hymn tune in full within a contemporary chorale treatment before a final recapitulation of the fanfare.
The Chancel Choir offers "Arise and Shine!" by John Paradowski. Based on Isaiah 9:2,6, this joyful work speaks to the Light and Baptism of Christ with the Antiphon sung by choir and congregation:
Arise and shine! Your light has come to all who dwell in darkness.
Arise and shine, for in our midst the light of Christ is with us.
At the 6:00 p.m. service, we honor the musical legacy of Graham Maule, who passed away on December 29, 2019. A hymn writer and musician known for his frequent collaborations with John Bell and contributions to the Iona Community songbook, his works have been used often throughout Plymouth's services, especially on Sunday evenings. Matt Riley's rendition of the Irish tune "St. Columba," named after the founder of the Iona Abbey, will close the service.
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.