This week the choir sings two anthems, “I Hunger and Thirst” by Kevin Siegfried, and “The King of Love my Shepherd is” by Edward Bairstow. “I Hunger and Thirst” is an arrangement of a Shaker song from the nineteenth century, which the composer heard sung by Sister Mildred Barker in Maine. “The King of Love my Shepherd is” is a hymn-anthem version of the familiar hymn. The text, a paraphrase of Psalm 23 by Sir Henry Williams Baker, freely Christianizes the psalm by including the cross with the rod and staff, finally addressing the “Good Shepherd” of John 10:11-18. Bairstow’s anthem highlights the text by depicting musically the flowing waters, the valley of death, and the straying of lost sheep.
This week the church holds its annual meeting after a shortened service, so the choir will sing one anthem, “I want to live so God can use me,” by Alice Parker. This anthem is one part of a larger, multi-movement work, A Sermon from the Mountain, written as a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The piece was commissioned by the Franconia Mennonite Chorus in April 1968, just days after Dr. King was assassinated. The Sermon takes the form of a worship service, in which several spirituals are sung by the congregation (represented by the choir) in response to Biblical passages (sung by a soloist) and readings from Dr. King’s sermons and writings.
This week’s music continues with themes of Christmas. The Pastorale has four contrasting sections where you’ll hear a variety of the organ’s flute stops to illustrate “shepherds abiding in the fields”. Alexandre Boely, who wrote the closing Noel has set a French Christmas tune ‘Mon ame, dormez-vous’ (Do you sleep, my soul?) Listen for it in the pedal.
Jane Edmister Penner
Last Sunday a group of about 25 people gathered in the Fellowship Hall to go out into neighborhoods to carol. We split into three groups, two went to Westminster Canterbury and one went to the Colonnades and nearby church members. In all, we made 14 caroling stops and spread unmeasurable joy. Jackie Brownfield hosted our last stop with food for the hard working carolers. Thank you to Jackie for her hospitality, and to Carolyn Kelly for her help organizing the Westminster Canterbury visits.
There is still time to sing in the choir on Christmas Eve. Youth and adults grade 5 and up are invited to participate in a special choir that sings at the 5:00 p.m. service on December 24. We will rehearse on Thursday, December 21 6:00-7:00 p.m. in the Choir Room, and the 24th we will gather at 4:00 p.m. before the 5:00 service. Please contact Megan Sharp, Director of Fine Arts if you have questions. This is a great opportunity for alumni of our Singers choir to connect for the holidays.