06 April 2008

A Feast for the Ears!

(Blogger’s Note: Two posts ago I tantalized you with the sight of drums blocking the altar in the chancel of my church, Hope Lutheran in St. Louis. Here’s the promised development of the story … and, no, it’s not a permanent addition, let alone a move toward some sort of “seeker-sensitive” “contemporary” worship … and I may even throw in another thought or two in subsequent posts.)

On Friday, 4 April 2008, Hope Lutheran Church & School and the community in south St. Louis were treated to a real feast for the ears. The Concordia University—Ann Arbor Wind Ensemble graced us with their melodious and majestic music replete with sounds stirring, solemn, and sublime.

The Hope School Choir, grades 5-8 at our school, also contributed to the evening of music, and five (or was it six?) of our students actually got to play their band instruments with the “college kids” for one piece.

The CU-AA Wind Ensemble, conducted by Matthew Wolf, showed great accomplishment in their music as they also bore witness to God’s gift of music, even in pieces not specifically sacred. Here are the great pieces in the first half of the program that brought some great culture to our congregation and community:
  • God of Our Fathers – by Thomas Knox (1937-2004), written for the inaugural ceremony of Pres. Ronald Reagan and premiered by the United States Marine Band on January 20, 1981.
  • Canterbury Chorale – by Jan Van der Roost (b. 1956)
  • Fortune Teller’s Daughter – by David Gorham (b. 1960)
  • As Summer was Just Beginning – by Larry Daehn (b. 1939)
  • Second Suite in F – by Gustav Holst (1874-1934)
Just prior to Intermission, the Hope School Choir did a fabulous job of singing:
  • May Joyful Music Fill the Air – by Thomas Tallis (Russell Robinson, text and arr.), presented in true canon form, and
  • A Clare Benediction – by John Rutter
I’m very proud of our students in grades 5-8, especially since this is their inaugural year as a combined choir.

After Intermission, our Hope band members had the distinct privilege of sitting with and playing “Rock .5” (or is it “Rock Point Five”?) with the CU-AA band. What a great accomplishment, but even more what a great inspiration to see where lots of practice on those instruments can lead! And you should have seen their beaming smiles after they finished. :-)

For the second half of the program, the CU-AA Wind Ensemble continued the feast for our ears with these pieces:
  • Four Scottish Dances – by Malcolm Arnold (1921-2006) (Arr. John Paynter)
  • American Elegy – by Frank Tichelli (b. 1958) (More on this stirring piece composed in memory of the victims of Columbine High School on April 20, 1999, in another post!)
  • In the Forest of the King – by Pierre La Plante (b. 1934)
  • Down a Country Lane – by Aaron Copland (1900-1990) (Trans. Merlin Patterson)
  • On the Mall – by Edwin F. Goldman (1878-1956) (Ed. Edward Lisk)
I sure hope that the CU-AA Wind Ensemble will come to Hope again—and I registered that request with Conductor Matthew Wolf. The music covered the gamut from delightful (“Four Scottish Dances”) to regal (“God of Our Fathers”), and from somberly stirring (“An American Legacy”) to just plain fun (“In the Forest of the King” and “On the Mall”). With these several non-sacred music pieces still echoing in my ears and mind, I think it only fitting to sum it all up with a great hymn verse:

When in our music God is glorified
And adoration leaves no room for pride,
It is as though the whole creation cried:
Alleluia! (LSB 796:1)

(By the way, the chancel is back to its normal look and use with the furniture properly arranged so that the Altar, and what comes on it in the liturgy, remains in full view! :-)


Joe Crabtree said...

Oh, how I remember the "weeping and gnashing of teeth" when Jim Lovins wanted LHS-South to play in church. Times have changed. ;-)

Randy Asburry said...

Yep! ;-)