The opening hymn this week, “All Creatures of Our God and King,” is a translation of the “Canticle of the Sun” or the “Canticle of the Creatures,” by Francis of Assissi. Written in an Umbrian dialect of Italian near the end of his life in c. 1224, it is considered the first religious poem in Italian, perhaps even the first work of literature in that language. According to tradition, the first time it was sung in its entirety was on Francis’ deathbed, the verse about “sister death” having only just been added. The English version was made in the early twentieth century by William Draper, a Yorkshire rector who also set it to the early 17th-century German tune, LASST UNS ERFREUEN.
This summer the theme for the Montreat Worship and Music Conference that I attended was “Then Sings My Soul!” taken from the refrain of the well known hymn, How Great Thou Art. If your soul is looking to join a community of song, you are in the right place. Westminster has choirs and musical experiences for all ages and abilities. Below you can find the rehearsal times for musical groups. We also have an all-choir potluck on Thursday, September 7, which is a good time to meet people in choir and enjoy a time of fellowship. For full descriptions of these groups please click here.
Adult Choir-open to all adults and university students
Rehearsals-Thursday, 7:00-9:00 pm, choir room
Choristers-for children in kindergarten through fourth grade
First rehearsal-Thursday, September 7 4:00-5:00 pm, choir room
All Choir Potluck-bring a dish to share, and a friend to introduce
Thursday, September 7 6:00 pm in the choir room
Singers-for youth from fifth grade and up, and adults
First rehearsal and retreat-Sunday, September 10 from noon-2:00 pm with pizza and games
Life-Long Song-an adult daytime singing opportunity
First meeting-Thursday, September 14 11:00 am, room 208
If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Megan Sharp, Director of Fine Arts.
This week the choir returns to singing for the 11:00 am service, with two anthems: one an adaptation of the traditional spiritual “Jesus Is a Rock in a Weary Land,” by Bettye Forbes, the other a setting of Psalm 121 by Jean Berger. Berger’s setting (“I to the Hills Lift Up Mine Eyes”) uses a translation of Psalm 121 from the Bay Psalm Book, the first book to be printed in North America (1640).
On Sunday, August 27 you are invited to our final summer concert to benefit PACEM (People and Congregations Engaged in Ministry). The concert will take place in the Sanctuary at 4:00 pm followed by ice cream in the courtyard. Soprano Megan Sharp, with Jonathan Schakel on piano, will present a program entitled, “Songs My Father Taught Me,” featuring songs by Joseph Haydn, Franz Schubert, Gabriel Fauré, Joaquín Rodrigo, and folk songs arranged by Benjamin Britten. Megan’s late father, Stuart Sharp, was a professor of voice at Hope College and her first voice teacher. This program is a tribute to his guidance and great love of art songs.
On Friday, August 18, at 7:30 pm, a concert by the Music Feeds Us organization will take place in Westminster’s sanctuary. Music Feeds Us is a concert series of classical chamber music designed to promote hunger relief and has raised over 120,000 meals in Virginia. Jinjoo Cho and Eric Wong, violins, Fitz Gary, viola, and Madeline Fayette, cello, will perform string quartets by Haydn, Mendelssohn, and Golijov. The concert is free, but the audience is requested to bring donations (either food or monetary). All donations go to support the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank.