This Fleeting SeasonRead Now
Carols of this fleeting Advent season tell us to look east for the coming of Christ in song and in a carillon for organ. The prophetic tale of Mary and Jesus walking amid the thorns is told by the Chancel Choir. The organ states a lovely Marian antiphon in response as well. A Celtic Canticle of Turning and pleas of "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" foreshadow the end of this season of waiting leading into our Longest Night Advent vigil Sunday evening. Savior of the nations, come.
Advent JoyRead Now
The spirit of joy and peace on this Third Sunday of Advent.
At the 9:00 a.m. service, we are joined by flutist Norman Menzales offering works by Nicanor Abelardo, J.S. Bach and others. Norman is the Principal Flute for the Fort Collins Symphony, Montana Great Falls Symphony, and the Wyoming Symphony Orchestra. Together with vocalist and cellist Lucas Jackson and I we bring a more "classical" tone to our eclectic early morning worship service.
At the 11:00 a.m. service, the Chancel Choir sings a delightful contemporary setting of the 12th century Latin hymn "Veni Emmanuel" by Dan Forrest. The shifting duple and triple meters propel this joyous reading of the ancient text into a frenetic dance.
From the organ come two carols of this most fleeting season of Advent. At the Prelude, we hear a minimalistic-inspired gigue on the tune "Macht hoch die Tür" (fling wide the door) by Richard Hudson. At the Postlude, a stately toccata on the tune "Helmsley" (often associated with the Advent text "Lo! He Comes with Clouds Descending") by James Vivian closes worship.
Give Peace a ChanceRead Now
"There is no way to peace. Peace is the way."
- Mahatma Ghandi
At the 9:00 a.m. service, musical expressions from the road of peace in the jazz, folk, and Celtic traditions will be prayerfully offered by guitarist Bill DeMarco, vocalist Lucas Jackson, bassist Peter Strening and I. Come walk the way of peace this Sunday morning.
At the 11:00 a.m. service, the Chancel Choir sings "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence" in a transcendent setting by Larry Shackley. Violist Ethan Buell joins us in this hauntingly beautiful anthem during communion.
From the organ, two venerable Advent carols in distinctive contemporary settings will be heard. At the Prelude, the Marian hymn "Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming" is presented in an ethereal tone by Mary Beth Bennett befitting the Isaiah 11 prophecy referred to in the hymn text. At the Postlude, a declamation on the Genevan psalter tune "Psalm 42" (the tune most associated with the Advent hymn "Comfort, Comfort O My People") will sound as a fanfare-like voice in the wilderness.
At 9:00 a.m., the season of waiting is expressed through carols ancient and modern with cantor/cellist Lucas Jackson, violinist Harmony Tucker, and bassist Peter Strening.
At 11:00 a.m., the organ offers two carols for this fleeting season. At the Prelude, the 16th century German hymn "Savior of the Nations, Come" receives a contemporary reimagining by Kevin Hildebrand. At the Postlude, a plaintive march on the Advent hymn "The King Shall Come When Morning Dawns" by David Johnson sends one joyfully forth into the world.
The Chancel Choir brings you an "Advent Message" by British composer Martin How, featuring soloist Lucas Jackson.
Songs of Faith and DevotionRead Now
At 9:00, the hopeful message of freedom and perseverance is heard in Paul McCartney's "Blackbird" as we gather. Advent carols bring this season to a close with bassist Peter Strening, staff singer Blair Carpenter, and guitarist Alan Skowron joining.
At 11:00, Marian expressions are heard through a setting of "Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming" by Johannes Brahms, the Marian antiphon "How Fair and How Pleasant Art Thou" by Marcel Dupré, and a setting of the "Magnificat" by David Ashley White offered by the Chancel Choir.
And please join us at 6:00 p.m. for the annual Longest Night Service with beautiful musical offerings of this fleeting Advent season by harpist Alaina Bongers, flutist Rebecca Quillen, and a vocal quartet including Blair Carpenter, Janet Hanlon, Lucas Jackson, and Aaron McGrew.
Come...with JoyRead Now
Songs of expectation, longing, and joy this Third Sunday of Advent
At 9:00 a.m., eclectic sounds from the folk, country, and jazz idioms and a moment from the organ round out the morning's musical offerings. Bassist Peter Strening, Resident Ukulelist Stuart Yoshida, and cantor Lucas Jackson join us.
At 11:00 a.m., the Plymouth Ringers offer the classic Advent carol "Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus" to the early American tune "Jefferson" from Southern Harmony (1835). A riveting and contemporary toccata on the hymn tune "Helmsley," associated with the Advent text "Lo, He Comes with Clouds Descending," closes the service with a joyful musical exclamation point.
The Chancel Choir sings the gentle "A Carol for Advent" by well-known hymn writer and composer Carl Schalk. The message of patient waiting in this fleeting season is beautifully expressed with a text by Rae E. Whitney. Violinist Harmony Tucker plays the accompanying descant.
Comfort, Comfort O Ye PeopleRead Now
A service of eclectic musical offerings at 9:00 with a jazzy take on the Gregorian Chant melody "Rorate caeli" (also referred to as the Advent Prose), a renaissance romp on "Psalm 42" from the Genevan psalter, and a dash of the Baroque from a Handel violin sonata. Violinist Harmony Tucker, bassist Peter Strening and cantor Blair Carpenter join us.
From the organ at 11:00, select variations from the chorale partita "Freu dich sehr, o meine Seele" (Rejoice Greatly, O My Soul) by German Baroque composer Georg Böhm will be offered. The tune (also called "Psalm 42" in Reformed traditions) is commonly associated with the Advent hymn "Comfort, Comfort Ye My People." Böhm was influential in the development of the chorale partita of which this work is a fine example.
Also at 11:00, the Chancel Choir offers the Advent carol "People Look East" in a delightful setting by notable American composer Craig Phillips.
Advent MessagesRead Now
On this First Sunday of Advent, letters of hope and promised returns from this day and days of old will be shared through the medium of music.
Cantor and cellist Lucas Jackson joins me in an intimate offering of Advent carols for the 9:00 a.m. service. We reprise our setting of the ancient tune "Veni Emmanuel" at the 11:00 a.m. service as well.
The organ speaks at the 11:00 a.m. service with the closing voluntary on the tune "Morning Song." Most closely associated with the Advent text "The King Shall Come When Morning Dawns," this majestic imagining of the tune resonates with the assured triumphal return of Jesus' reign on earth.
The Chancel Choir brings us yet another "Advent Message." Written by British composer Martin How, this work implores the heavens for Jesus to live in our hearts featuring John the Baptist's cries in the desert presented by Plymouth's Staff Singer Blair Carpenter.
Advent 4 (12/20/20)Read Now
Songs of Mary
Marcel Dupre's Opus 18 contains fifteen improvised interludes based on vesper psalms and antiphons. Two Marian selections will be heard this Sunday: "How Fair and How Pleasant Art Thou" and the fifth movement from his six part "Magnificat," an ethereal depiction of the Magnificat text, "As he promised to our forefathers, Abraham, and his seed for ever."
Soprano Blair Carpenter sings "Christmas Lullaby" by Jason Robert Brown, a musical theater-inspired offering from the perspective of a modern-day Mary.
On December 23, we offer the annual Longest Night service in lieu of Vespers, with harpist Alaina Bongers and flutist Rebecca Quillen.
Advent 3 (12/13/20)Read Now
Songs of Expectation and New Life
"Rorate caeli" (Drop down, ye heavens) are the opening words of Isaiah 45.8 in the Vulgate bible, the late 4th century Latin translation of scripture. By the seventeenth century, this text was fused with other selected passages to form the Advent Prose and subsequently applied to liturgies and choral anthems for the Advent season. The Gregorian Chant melody ascribed to "Rorate caeli" is set beautifully in a tranquil setting by Jeanne Demessieux from her 12 Chorale Preludes on Gregorian Chant Themes, Op. 8 from 1950.
Two carols of the Advent season follow: my minimalist setting of the chorale "Savior of the Nations, Come" played by members of the Plymouth Ringers and a voluntary on the tune "Morning Song" by Richard Proulx, often paired with the text "The King Shall Come When Morning Dawns."
Next week's Vespers offers a Celtic Advent theme with bassist Peter Strening joining us..