Rather cool, even if we do all have our mouths open.  (Click to enlarge, or follow this link.)

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Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, November 1, 2015 at 5:54 am | Edit
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I try to avoid clickbait—you know, the Internet equivalent of the TV news teaser, "World ends tonight, details at 11"—but this one on Facebook mentioned both "Basel, Switzerland" and "drum corps" in the subtitle, so I succumbed.  I was glad I did.  (Thanks, BJ.)

The Top Secret Drum Corps founded the now-famous Basel Tattoo in 2006.  I enjoyed watching the parade in 2010, though we didn't attend the Tattoo itself, being fully entertained by newborn Joseph.

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Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, October 1, 2015 at 11:54 am | Edit
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A short (three-minute) video, just for fun.  Bobby McFerrin Demonstrates the Power of the Pentatonic Scale.  Enjoy.

Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, May 28, 2015 at 9:12 am | Edit
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Pentecost is always a special occasion, but its coinciding with Memorial Day Weekend this year meant our choir numbers were reduced to the point where we sang no anthem, but just a simple praise song for the offertory.  No matter; we sang a lot of great hymns, and what makes the event post-worthy is that, after whining two weeks ago that we'd missed Hail Thee, Festival Day the Sunday after Easter, I have to report that we were present for the Pentecost version.  There's a version for Ascension, too, but just recently I discovered one I'd missed all these years.  (H/T Molly)

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Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, May 27, 2015 at 8:38 am | Edit
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On Saturday we had the privilege of singing for a special ordination service for deacons at the Cathedral Church of St. Luke.  Choirs from the home churches of the ordinands were invited to join the Cathedral Choir, and since one of the four to-be-deacons was from our former church, and one from our present, we were able to do double duty.  Alas, only one choir member from our former church was able to participate, so it was not quite the grand reunion we had hoped for, but it was great to sing with her again, anyway.  And it was great to sing with the Cathedral Choir.

alt(click to enlarge; photo credit Rick Pitts)

Although we have attended the Cathedral at times, and every once in a while considered making it our home church, to be part of their choir is not something we've aspired to.  There are a number of reasons for that, some better than others.  One of the not-so-good ones is that I've been terrified of auditions ever since my junior high chorus teacher attempted to figure out who was singing the wrong note by having each of us sing it individually, in front of the whole class.  Junior high is not a time of high confidence for most people, certainly not for me, and not a sound would come from my throat, no matter how much she pushed me.  That's still one of my strongest junior high school memories.

I managed to overcome my fear of auditions just once, when in high school I had the opportunity to audition for the Choralaires, the dream of a lifetime.  Okay, it was a short lifetime at that point, but still, I had been admiring that group for as long as our family had been enjoying their concerts.  (If you click on that link, you'll be able to read an article about the Choralaires, though you'll have cancel out of a print—without the print command the link takes you to where you can only access part of the article.)  Anyway, I survived the audition, and when the list of those who had made the elite group was posted, there was my name!  Still, such was my self-confidence that I have to this day been unable to shake the suspicion that somehow my parents had convinced the director to accept me, knowing that we were moving out of state that year and I wouldn't be able to accept the position.  Crazy, I know—that's not the kind of thing my parents would have done—but how else to explain my success?  My experience was not unlike that of children who become terrified of mathematics for life because of a bad school experience.  Some teachers have a lot to answer for.  Fortunately, there are also people later in our lives who can gently lead us out of our fears, and I've benefitted from some wonderful choir directors.  But I still can't imagine joining a choir that requires auditions.

All that long digression aside, it was lovely to be in the great choir loft, singing with the Cathedral choir, under the direction of Ben Lane—even seated where I could watch him in action at the organ.  Our choir was well-represented, and our own director had prepared us well.  I don't think any of us felt well prepared, as the music was difficult, but as it turned out, it all went well.

Our first anthem was Praise Ye the Lord by Stan Cording.

 

UPDATE 11/11/19:  This post also seems to have been a victim of the automated conversion from Flash to iframe and part of it is missing.  Maybe I'll try to fix it someday.

Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, May 26, 2015 at 10:56 am | Edit
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Tomorrow is Pentecost, which means this is the last day of the Easter season.  Which means ... I'm giving Stephan's new Easter song one more play.  For the words and further details, see the original post.

Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, May 23, 2015 at 6:13 am | Edit
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One of our favorites, well worth repeating.

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To Love Our God (Mark Hayes, Hinshaw Music HMC1576)

 

 

Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, May 20, 2015 at 7:07 am | Edit
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The Episcopal Church doesn't give secular holidays prominence in the liturgy, hence we are never in danger of becoming, in the words of a friend lamenting practices in her own church, a place where "Mother's Day is a bigger deal than Easter."  Not that the day was entirely ignored:  women received flowers, and mothers, would-be mothers, and substitute mothers were all acknowledged during the announcements.  With sympathy for those for whom the holiday brings sorrow, I think we go too far in saying nothing of substance to anyone lest we should by any means offend some.  But I digress.  I think the most appropriate thing we did in church in honor of Mother's Day was to sing this anthem. :)

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Ave Maria (Giulio Caccini/Patrick Liebergen, Alfred, 20142)

 

 

As usual, this isn't us, but we did have the lovely flute accompaniment.

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, May 15, 2015 at 6:30 am | Edit
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Make Me an Answer to Prayer (Dan Adler/Dan Goeller, Gladsong, 0-8006-7440-5)

 

 

Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, May 9, 2015 at 4:43 pm | Edit
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Come Follow Me (Martin/Williams, Harold Flammer Music, A7933)

 

 

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, April 24, 2015 at 8:47 am | Edit
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For us, Easter started last night with an Easter Vigil service that was over two hours long, but wonderful.  Lighting of the New Fire, procession, candles, singing, and a large number of baptisms (adult and child), confirmations, and first communions.  The latter is why it was so long, but who would want fewer?  I love that our church has a means of doing infant baptism by immersion (parents' choice).  I also love that moment when the lights come on and we shout the first Alleluia of Easter—alleluias are banished from the service during Lent—with the whole congregation sounding bells and other happy noisemakers.  (There were a few unhappy noisemakers as well, as it was a long and late night for the above-mentioned children.)  I brought my tambourine, and Porter the ship's bell that Dad had given us so long ago.  The latter makes quite an impressive sound.

And this morning we got to celebrate again!  One of these years I expect we'll attend each and every service from Palm Sunday through Easter, one for each day of the week and two on Sunday, but not this time:  once again we skipped the sunrise service, as getting to church by 8:00 for the Easter brunch seemed early enough after our late night.  The youth choir sang at the sunrise service and had to be there at 6:15 to help with setup; the service is held down by the lake.  I know, it seems backwards:  we keep the little kids up late, and wake the teenagers early.  But it's a very special time, and sacrifice is part of the process.  The brunch was followed by an egg hunt for the children, but we skipped that, because (1) our grandchildren weren't here to enjoy it, and (2) the choir rehearsed during that time for the final service of the day at 10:00.

Of all the services, that one is the most traditional as modern-day Easter services go.  (The Easter Vigil is actually the oldest, dating back to the very early days of Christianity.)

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Prelude and Introit:  A Mighty Fortress (Martin Luther, setting by Joel Raney, Hope Publishing)  Judging by YouTube, the handbell version is more popular, but if you click on the link (not the image) you'll hear something more like what we had, with our brass, flute, organ, piano, and choir.  My only complaint is that because it is primarily an instrumental work, the choir sings only one verse of the hymn, and the first verse of Luther's great hymn is not a good place to stop.  But that was okay, because I doubt the congregation actually discerned the words over the glory of the brass and organ.

Next up, the processional hymn Jesus Christ Is Risen Today, then

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 Gloria in Excelsis (Vivaldi-Martens, Walton Music HL08500628 W2043), for the Gloria, of course.

 

 

Happy Easter, everyone!

 

UPDATE 11/11/19  Aaaaargh!  As I've pointed out innumerable times, when Flash in these posts was automatically converted to iframe, which needed to be done, significant portions of the post were often accidentally deleted. Normally this doen't matter much, but in a post like this, with so much  information and many videos, it really hurts. Still, it will stay like this until I find time and priority to see if there's a way to recover the data.

Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, April 5, 2015 at 6:43 pm | Edit
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I've said it before, and it's still true:  how blessed we are to be at a church ten minutes away from home (seven in good traffic).  We've been in that situation before—in Rochester (NY) our church was only a block from home, and in Norwood (MA) it was a fine walk in good weather—but much of our time has been in churches that required significant driving time.  Being so close makes it easy, or as easy as can be with busy schedules, to attend the mid-week (Monday - Saturday) Holy Week services, which are always so powerful.

For a more complete description of the general layout, see last year's Holy Week post.  This year is much the same, albeit with some changes in the music.  Here are the major ones:

Maundy Thursday anthem:

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When I Survey the Wondrous Cross (arr. Gilbert Martin, Theodore Presser Company, 312-40785)

 

 

Good Friday anthem:

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When Jesus Wept (William Billings, arr. A. F. Schultz, St. James Music Press

This is not the Parker/Shaw arrangement some of you know, which remains my favorite.  However, this is also a good one, and I'm sorry I can't include a link here.  All of my Internet sources have failed me this time.

We won't be singing as a choir for the Easter Vigil service tonight, but we'll be there with bells on.  (Almost literally—mine may be a tambourine.  Bells and other joyful noise makers are for the Great Alleluia of Easter.)

Then we get to celebrate all over again tomorrow, with a lot more music and joyful alleluias.  But that will be for another post.

Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, April 4, 2015 at 7:00 pm | Edit
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I'd planned to post this on Easter itself, but then I figured, why let it get lost among all the other Easter music I'll be posting?  It's a brand-new Easter song, and every choir singer knows it's best to learn new songs before the actual event.

Not that many of you will be learning the words, since they are in German.  I won't attempt a translation, but the text is based on the traditional Easter hymn, "Christ the Lord Is Risen Today."  But the music is exciting, and even if you don't know German, I almost guarantee that if you listen a few times, the chorus will stay with you.  As earworms go, it's a great one.

Here's the cool part:  This new Easter song was written (music and text) by none other than our own Stephan Stücklin.

Here's the question:  Can a German praise song go viral on YouTube?  :)

Congratulations, Stephan; I think it's great and hope it spreads like wildfire throughout German-speaking churches.  I'd happily sing it in our own church, but while the choir will occasionally sing in Latin (albeit reluctantly on the part of some), we've already drawn the line at French.  (Cantique de Jean Racine in English is better than not at all, but....).  I'm not too hopeful that German praise songs will become as popular here as English praise songs are in the German-speaking world.

 

I've copied the text below, in case anyone wants to attempt a translation.  Google Translate gets the chorus perfectly:

Jesus is risen!
He is risen indeed!
Hallelujah!

But in some places their translation is downright peculiar, e.g.

Let us seek drum of the heart
After our main and Savior

Stephan, would you care to elucidate?

Jesus ist erstanden!
(Text by Stephan Stücklin, based on Charles Wesley's "Christ the Lord Is Risen Today")

Chorus:
Jesus ist erstanden!
Er ist wahrhaftig auferstanden!
Halleluja!

Christen, lasst die Kehlen klingen!
Stimmt mit Engelschören ein
Unserm Gott ein Lob zu singen
Freudenfest soll heute sein, denn (chorus)

Tod, dein Stachel ist gezogen
Unser König Jesus lebt!
Deine Macht ist nun verflogen
Und kein Christ mehr vor dir bebt, denn (chorus)

Liebe hat ihr Werk vollendet
Grab, gesprengt ist dein Verlies!
Christus hat das Blatt gewendet
Uns gehört das Paradies, denn (chorus)

Wir sind sein, durch Kreuz und Leben
Nun droht uns kein Ungemach!
Lasst uns drum von Herzen streben
Unserm Haupt und Heiland nach, denn (chorus)

Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, April 2, 2015 at 8:15 am | Edit
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Thus begins Holy Week.  It couldn't have been better weather:  sunny, dry, temperatures dancing around 60 (a nice break between episodes of 80's).  Of course we sang All Glory, Laud, and Honor while nearly everyone processed around the church grounds.  The end of the line got off from the beginning in the singing, but that's standard, too, and we all came together as we entered the church.  We waved palms and played instruments, and I even got to wail on my tambourine.

I really enjoyed our anthem, which I had not expected, as it's definitely not my style of music.  But it finally came together for me in the service.

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Hosanna (Paul Baloche, Brenton Brown/Robert Sterling, Word Music, 08089039270)

I apologize for the recording (click on the image), but bad as it is, it really is better than what I was able to find on YouTube, which is all electric guitars and flashing lights and pounding drumbeats (yes, more headache-inducing than in this recording).  Truth be known, I'm sure the YouTube versions are closer to the original, especially since some of them are by the author himself....  But I like our version better.

I won't mention all the service music, but it was beautiful, and I can't resist pointing out that we're on a Paul Gerhardt roll—an anthem two weeks ago and O Sacred Head today.

Our recessional was the solemn and awesome Vaughan Williams hymn, At the Name of Jesus.  I've loved that hymn for a long time, but today singing it was a bit surreal for me, as superimposed on it in my heart was a vision of the Christians being slaughtered by ISIS and other extremists for exactly that Name of Jesus.

At the Name of Jesus, every knee shall bow,
Every tongue confess Him King of glory now;
’Tis the Father’s pleasure we should call Him Lord,
Who from the beginning was the mighty Word.

At His voice creation sprang at once to sight,
All the angel faces, all the hosts of light,
Thrones and dominations, stars upon their way,
All the heavenly orders, in their great array.

Humbled for a season, to receive a name
From the lips of sinners unto whom He came,
Faithfully He bore it, spotless to the last,
Brought it back victorious when from death He passed.

Bore it up triumphant with its human light,
Through all ranks of creatures, to the central height,
To the throne of Godhead, to the Father’s breast;
Filled it with the glory of that perfect rest.

Name Him, brothers, name Him, with love strong as death
But with awe and wonder, and with bated breath!
He is God the Savior, He is Christ the Lord,
Ever to be worshipped, trusted and adored.

In your hearts enthrone Him; there let Him subdue
All that is not holy, all that is not true;
Crown Him as your Captain in temptation’s hour;
Let His will enfold you in its light and power.

Brothers, this Lord Jesus shall return again,
With His Father’s glory, with His angel train;
For all wreaths of empire meet upon His brow,
And our hearts confess Him King of glory now.

 

Update 11/11/19:  As has happened with several old posts containing videos, I'm pretty sure a chunck of the post was accidentally removed in the process that switched the videos from Flash to <iframe>.  Someday I may try to recover it ... but realistically, probably not.

Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, March 29, 2015 at 4:12 pm | Edit
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Last Sunday it was our great pleasure to sing two beautiful anthems, both favorites of ours for a couple of decades.

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Come Holy Spirit, Heavenly Dove (Cox/Lindh, Sacred Music Press, S464)

Not the best recording, but good enough for this purpose.

 

 

Update 11/11/19:  As has happened with several old posts containing videos, I'm pretty sure a chunck of the post was accidentally removed in the process that switched the videos from Flash to <iframe>.  Someday I may try to recover it ... but realistically, probably not.

Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, March 25, 2015 at 8:01 am | Edit
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