Plymouth's ensembles begin a new program year with musical offerings at this week's Jubilee Sunday services!
Together we celebrate the spiritual dimensions of music in worship with the Chancel Choir and Plymouth Ringers in the hymn-anthem "When in Our Music God Is Glorified" arranged by Hal Hopson.
Plymouth's newest ensemble Kids Will Sing! offers a youthful perspective on song in worship during the Time with Children space. Led by Liz McGrew, this marks the beginning of a youth music ministry we hope to expand upon and experience in worship for years to come.
From the organ, a call to worship resounds in Peter Hurford's "Paean" (a term based on the Greek word for a song of praise.) The service concludes with a triumphant setting of the 15th century Latin hymn "Deo Gracias" (translated as "Thanks (be) to God") by Healey Willan.
Sounds of liberation from the world over this Jubilee Sunday morning.
The "eclectic" 9:00 a.m. service returns with an international offering of jubilant sounds including trumpet calls and folk hymns from Jamaica and the Caribbean. Plymouth's new Staff Singer Lucas Jackson joins bassist Peter Strening, ukulelist Stuart Yoshida, and I for a joyous worship hour.
At the 11:00 a.m. service, a trumpet call based on the hymn tune "Aurelia" ("The Church's One Foundation") greets worshipers in a fanfare-like blast from the organ. The exuberant "St. Peter's Postlude" by Hans-André Stamm closes the service on a triumphant note. Commissioned for a jubilee in the English Lancaster St. Peter's Cathedral, the work employs driving rhythms and catchy melodic lines leading to an exciting finish.
The Chancel Choir begins their program year by offering "Jubilate" by Betty Hartland, a lyrical work calmly, yet confidently, expressing the joy of the kingdom of God.
While the pandemic has skewed just about every aspect of our lives, we still have much to be thankful for: our church, our faith, our perseverance, our lives.
This Jubilee Sunday begins with a new "eclectic" service format at 9:00 familiar to anyone who has ever attended the former 6:00 p.m. service or the Rolland Moore Park services. Staff Singer Blair Carpenter, ukulelist Stuart Yoshida, bassist Peter Strening, and I lead you in song steeped in the Celtic, folk, and jazz idioms.
At the 11:00 "traditional" service, the Chancel Choir returns for its first full season since 2019! Although socially-distanced, we offer the Natalie Sleeth classic "Hymn of Promise" in the same hopeful and worshipful spirit as always through the years.
At the organ, two hymns of thanks by composers Charles Callahan and Healey Willan.
Jubilee Sunday is a time for new beginnings. When we as a church break from our summer routines and enter the new program year with hope and optimism. Sure, it will look very different this time around. And be a little quieter in the church halls. But engaged we will be nonetheless! Happy Jubilee Sunday.
Antonin Dvořák composed his Sonatina in G Major for violin and piano, opus 100 in just a two week period during his trip to America in 1893. With the purpose of furthering the musical abilities of his children, he writes, "It is intended for youths (dedicated to my two children), but even adults, grownups, should be able to converse with it." And so we will. Violinist Harmony Tucker presents the rousing fourth and final movement, "Allegro."
The 8th century Irish text "Christ Be Beside Me" is an excerpt from the prayer St. Patrick's Breastplate, originally attributed to St. Patrick himself. It is a prayer of protection and the affirmation of Christ's omnipresence. We will hear it paired with the Gaelic tune Bunessan in a setting evoking Celtic and jazz tonalities intertwined with the Irish tune St. Columba. Cantor Lucas Jackson sings this lovely work during the Musical Offering.
Jacques-Nicolas Lemmens was a prominent organist and music teacher in 19th century Belgium. He was known for his virtuosic pedal playing due to his extensive study of the organ works of J.S. Bach. This Sunday though, we'll hear a work originally set for the manuals only. The "Fanfare" is a flashy brilliant piece taken from his 1862 organ method book, "Ecole d'orgue" (school of organ.)
Seven, outside of being a very biblical number, binds together several works this Sunday morning.
Scherzo in Italian means "joke" or a "jest." In musical terms, it refers to a light, often humorous movement from a larger form such as a sonata or symphony. For the prelude, a stand-alone scherzo by British composer Alan Ridout will be played in the meter of, mostly, 7/8 time. John Rutter's "Toccata in 7" ends the services on a whimsical, albeit asymmetrical, note.
The Chancel Choir ushers in the new program year at both services this Jubilee Sunday morning with an offering of the Rutter classic anthem "For the Beauty of the Earth."
At 6:00 p.m., Bobby will be joined by cantor and violinist Hannah Walters, banjo player Josh Beard, and cellist Daniel Delaney for a festive Jubilee evening service.
The morning services will ring in Jubilee Sunday with two organ works based on the bell tones of the carillon. Leo Sowerby's composition Carillon (1917) utilizes the chimes and celesta on the organ while also employing rhythmic figures reminiscent of clanging bells. Sowerby, often called the "Dean of American church music" in the early to mid-20th century, was a prominent organist and a Pulitzer Prize winning composer for his cantata Canticle of the Sun (1946). In contrast is the postlude by William Albright, Carillon-Bombarde (1985). A contemporary and at times dissonant interpretation of a ringing carillon, bombarde refers to the big reed stops that enter near the work's grand ending.
The Chancel Choir resumes its musical offerings at both the 9:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. services this week with the traditional Irish tune SLANE, Be Thou My Vision, arranged by Dan Forrest.
Jubilee Sunday continues at the 6:00 p.m. service with the sounds of dixieland! Bobby's guests will include a brass ensemble of trombone, trumpet, and tuba (yes, must have more tuba!) plus banjo player Josh Beard and cantor Blair Carpenter. This promises to be a spirited slice of Americana...come on back!