Friday, September 20, 2019

Music for the Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost: September 22, 2019



Opening Voluntary The Good Shepherd
A pathway in the Smoky Mountains
Dom Paul Benoit (1893-1979)

I usually look to the gospel reading for inspiration in choosing the opening voluntary, but I couldn’t come up with anything that tied to obviously. So I turned to the Prayer of the Day for help. There I found these words:

Keep our feet from evil paths.

Almost immediately I remembered these words from the 23rd psalm:

. . .he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

It’s also a nice tie in from last week when we heard about a shepherd who left a flock to go find the one lost sheep.

Paul Benoit, born in France, was a Benedictine monk, organist, and composer. “Dom” is a title given to Benedictines who have taken their vows.

Gathering Hymn Let Streams of Living Justice (Thaxted)
Evangelical Lutheran Worship (ELW 710)

ELW (and some other hymnals) omits the second stanza that William Whitla wrote for this hymn.  Cries from the Tiananmen Square protests were still fresh in our minds and we were just learning of Argentina’s Mothers of the Disappeared. The missing stanza has both poignant and disturbing images including the “mother with her candle” and “the child who holds a gun. The stanza ends powerfully:

Each candle burns for freedom; each lights a tyrant’s fall;
each flower placed for martyrs gives tongue to silenced call.


Psalm Bless the Lord, O Saints and Servants
a metrical setting of Psalm 113
Text by Michael Morgan
Tune Austria, Franz Josef Haydn

Metrical settings of psalms are paraphrases written in poetic form. This means the text can be sung to a standard hymntune. Our first communion hymn, “My Shepherd Will Supply My Need,” is a metrical setting of the 23rd Psalm.

Hymn of the Day God, Whose Giving Knows No Ending (Rustington)
ELW 678

Musical Offering The Truth Will Make You Free (sung by the Festival Choir)
Anne Krentz Organ

In the second reading, Paul identifies himself as a “teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.” Anne Krentz Organ’s piece takes its text from John’s gospel and reminds us that disciples of Jesus continue in his word and know the truth. In knowing the truth, we are made free.

Communion Hymns
My Shepherd Will Supply My Need (Resignation)
ELW 782

By Your Hand You Feed Your People (Camrose)
ELW 469

Sending Hymn Son of God, Eternal Savior (In Babilone)
ELW 655

Closing Voluntary Praise to the Lord, the Almighty (Lobe den Herren)
Johann Gottfried Walther (1684-1748)
ELW 858


Don’t miss the organ concert by Zach Klobnach on Sunday evening at 7:00. Read more on this blog at http://smljax.blogspot.com/2019/09/organ-concert-at-st-marks-zach-klobnak.html

This event is co-sponsored by St. Mark’s and the Jacksonville Chapter of the American Guild of Organists.



Friday, September 13, 2019

Music for the Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost: September 15, 2019



Opening Voluntary Chorale Prelude and Chorale on “O Jesu Christe, wahres Licht”
Helmut Walcha (1907-1991)
Gesangbuch, Nürnberg, 1676 (Evangelical Lutheran Worship 675)

Our Prayer of the Day begins, “O God, overflowing with mercy and compassion, you lead back to yourself all those who go astray.” The opening line of this hymn petitions, “O Christ, our light, our radiance true, shine forth from those estranged from you. . .”

Today’s opening voluntary begins with a variation on the chorale tune. The setting is by the German organist, Helmut Walcha. The second part of the voluntary is the four-part chorale as it appears in ELW.

Helmut Walcha had poor vision as a child. His condition was brought on by the smallpox vaccine. As he grew older, his eyesight grew worse until, in his late teens, he was completely blind.

Helmut Walcha
So how did he not only become a gifted organist, composer, and teacher, but also famous for his recordings of J. S. Bach’s works? The story goes that he would have other musicians play each individual voice (including the pedal!) from Bach’s works four times. Walcha memorized the voices as they were being played, memorizing each line independently.  Having perfect pitch also helped with this process.



Gathering Hymn Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise (St. Denio)
Evangelical Lutheran Worship (ELW 834)

Hymn of the Day Amazing Grace (New Britain)
ELW 779

“Amazing Grace” is probably the best known of all hymns in American churches, and probably the most sung. We have sung this hymn 16 times in 13 years at St. Mark’s – or 1.2 times each year.  Yes, I keep track of such things!

Many people have a strong emotional attachment to “Amazing Grace.” Four years ago I asked choir members to talk about their favorite hymns. It’s no surprise that “Amazing Grace” was one of the hymns that was chosen. Read about Jane’s connection here: http://smljax.blogspot.com/2015/09/canticles-of-praise-and-hymns-of.html

Musical Offering Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing (sung by the Festival Choir)
Michael Larkin


Communion Hymns
Our Father, We Have Wandered (Herzlich tut mich verlangen)
ELW 606

Chief of Sinners, Though I Be (Gethsemane)
ELW 609

Sending Hymn O Lord, Now Let Your Servant (Kuortane)
ELW 313
“Now, Lord, You Let Your Servant Go in Peace” may be sung as a post-communion canticle in the ELW settings of Holy Communion. The rubrics state that if it . . was not sung at the end communion, it may be sung here, or another sending song may be sung.

This morning’s sending hymn is a metrical setting of the canticle set to a Finnish folk tune.  The second stanza goes beyond the scope of the canticle. As we turn to follow the cross in its procession, we ask God to grant that we may follow God’s glorious light, not just as we leave the nave and go into the week, but into the life that comes after this one.

Each Sunday as we leave the nave we see these weavaings that remind us to declare God's deeds in the world. They were given to St. Mark's in 1984 by Paul W. Brandenburger in memory of his aunt, Florence Mina Brandenburger, his father,  Paul Walter Brandenburger, and in honor of his mother, Margret Eide Brandenburger. 

Closing Voluntary O dass ich tausend Zungen hätte  
Jeffrey Blersch
ELW 833


New voices are always welcome in the Festival Choir at St. Mark’s! If you like to sing and have a desire to serve God and the people of St. Mark’s through our music ministry, please contact Tony Cruz.

Sources:

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Music for the Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost / "God's work. Our Hands." Sunday: September 8, 2019



Opening Voluntary Two Settings of “Allein Gott in der Höh”
Early rendering of Decius' work.

Friedrich Wilhelm Zachau (1663-1712)
J. S. Bach (1685-1750)

I often choose opening voluntaries based on hymns that will be sung during that day’s service; however, today I have chosen two pieces based on today’s Canticle of Praise. The text of the canticle is a metrical setting of Glory to God in the Highest. The tune is borrowed from the hymn found at ELW 410 and is based on a tenth century plainsong (chant) version that was adapted by Nikolaus Decius.

Decius’ version was first sung on Easter Sunday, April 5, 1523.
Gathering Hymn Lift High the Cross (Crucifer)
Evangelical Lutheran Worship (ELW) 660

Jesus carries his cross.
From a Mission near San Diego, California.
Hymn of the Day Take Up Your Cross, the Savior Said (Bourbon)
ELW 667

“Bourbon” may seem like an odd name for a hymntune, but perhaps not when you consider this American tune is possibly named for Bourbon County, Kentucky.  Guess what they used to make a lot of there?

Musical Offering Take Now My Voice (sung by the Festival Choir)
Douglas Nolan

From this point in the service our music is more reflective of the “God’s work. Our hands.” theme.

Communion Hymns
They’ll Know We Are Christians By Our Love (St. Brendan’s)
Text and Music by Peter Scholtes

This is a favorite from my childhood. Every time I sing it, I am transported to the shores of Lake Lundgren Bible Camp in Pembine, Wisconsin. I can still hear the guitars and see the campfire.

Peter Scholtes wrote this in the 60s while he was a priest. Later in life he left the priesthood and became a became a business consultant. See his obituary at
https://pscholtes.com/obituary.htm.

We Are Called (We Are Called)
ELW 720

Sending Hymn God’s Work, Our Hands (Earth and All Stars)
Wayne Wold’s entry was the winner for a hymn writing competition for “God’s work. Our hands.” Sunday. Wold wrote an original tune, but also set it to the familiar tune “Earth and All Stars” – which is how we will sing it today.

Closing Voluntary Aeolian Fanfare
Charles Callahan
The Oxford Dictionary defines “aeolian” as “relating to or arising from the action of the wind.” It might be helpful to think of the Holy Spirit sending us out into the world, especially to do our work for “God’s work. Our hands.” Sunday.


Read more about “God’s work. Our hands.” Sunday here: https://elca.org/dayofservice?_ga=2.203439312.113437876.1567886902-1027348905.1558465990

New voices are always welcome in the Festival Choir at St. Mark’s! If you like to sing and have a desire to serve God and the people of St. Mark’s through our music ministry, please contact Tony Cruz.


Sources: Evangelical Lutheran Worship Hymnal Companion
Wikipedia credit for Decius photo: By Original Work: Johann Spangenberg - http://www.fischer-download.de, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32907629
By Original Work: Johann Spangenberg - http://www.fischer-download.de, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=32907629

Friday, September 6, 2019

Organ Concert at St. Mark's: Zach Klobnak Returns to Jacksonville


A former member of the Jacksonville Chapter of the American Guild of Organists, Zach Klobnak starts off the AGO’s season with a recital on the Zimmer/Colby organ at St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church, 3976 Hendricks Avenue, in Jacksonville, FL. Zach served All Saints Episcopal Church (Jacksonville) as Director of Music during the years 2009-2011. We are happy and excited to welcome him back to our city!

The concert is Sunday, September 22nd, at 7:00 p.m. and is co-sponsored by St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Jacksonville Chapter of the AGO. This event is free with a reception following. All are welcome!

Dr. Zach Klobnak is College Organist and Visiting Assistant Professor of Music at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. He is also Director of Music and Organist at the Presbyterian Church of Danville, where he directs the music program, administers the “Music on Main Street” concert series, and plays the church’s Taylor & Boody pipe organ.  A native of Iowa, he holds degrees from Luther College (BA), the University of Florida (MM), and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (DMA), where he held the Brownson Fellowship for organ studies.  His principal organ teachers include Dana Robinson, Laura Ellis, and Gregory Peterson; he has also studied harpsichord with Kathryn Reed and choral conducting with Donald Nally, Fred Stoltzfus, and Timothy Peter.  Zach is an active recitalist, a member of the American Guild of Organists and the Presbyterian Association of Musicians, and studied French organ literature and design in Paris and in the Alps region of France.  He has previously held church music positions in Illinois, Florida, and Iowa.
St. Mark's Zimmer/Colby Organ
The program (subject to change) will include works by William Mathias (Processional), Iain Farrington (selections from Animal Parade), Rachel McLaurin, David P. Dahl, William Walton, and J. S. Bach.

Please join us for another great organ concert at St. Mark’s!


Saturday, August 31, 2019

Music for the Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost: September 1, 2019



Opening Voluntary Prelude on “Nettleton”
setting, John Carter
Time out from a composition lesson for
a selfie with John Carter
If you feel like singing along to this piano setting of the well-known tune, you might be tempted to start singing “Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing”; however, when this tune comes up later in the service, we’ll be using a different text. Read more about that later in this post.


The composer of the tune is not known, but the composer of this lively setting is well-known in the world of church music. John Carter’s large catalog of piano and choral music is heard weekly in American churches.  I was honored to have some private composition lessons with him while attending Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus, Ohio.

Gathering Hymn Gather Us In (Gather Us In)
Evangelical Lutheran Worship (ELW) 532
This hymn is a part of our gathering rite and acknowledges the Holy Spirit’s gathering in of believers for communal worship.
Marty Haugen wrote the text and the tune of this hymn. His work is widely known in the church at large and at St. Mark’s. Not only have we sung his hymns, but we’ve also sung his liturgies including
Now the Feast and Celebration, Holden Evening Prayer, Beneath the Tree of Life, and Unfailing Light.

Read more about how we use Unfailing Light here: http://smljax.blogspot.com/search?q=unfailing+light

Hymn of the Day As We Gather at Your Table (Nettleton)
Six hymn texts by Carl P. Daw, Jr. are included in ELW. He is an Episcopal priest and Executive Director of the Hymn Society in the United States of America.
“As We Gather at Your Table” is in ELW (522), but I decided to sing it with a different tune this week –
Nettleton. (See the opening voluntary.)

Jacksonville Composer Bob Moore
Musical Offering All Who Hunger, Gather Gladly (sung by the Festival Choir)
Bob Moore
Bob Moore is the Director of Music Ministry at the Episcopal Church of Our Savior in Mandarin. He is a prolific composer of liturgical music. I discovered this piece a few years ago in our choir library. Since that time, we have also used it as an assembly hymn.  Not very long ago, Bob rearranged this tune (Grace Eternal) as a more complex anthem for choir. It’s already in our choral library and I’m looking forward to singing it with the Festival Choir.

Communion Hymns
The Trumpets Sound, the Angels Sing (The Feast Is Ready)
ELW 531
Let Us Talents and Tongues Employ (Linstead)
Sending Hymn Sent Forth by God’s Blessing (The Ash Grove)
ELW 547

Closing Voluntary Gather Us In
setting, John Behnke
Somebody walked into the nave while I was practicing the postlude earlier this week and asked, “Irish?”
It certainly has a Celtic feel thanks to Behnke’s open fifths and grace notes in the left hand. There’s even a middle section that could easily be taken for a “jig.” Actually, this is a reprise of Haugen’s tune “Gather Us In.”


Happening This Week
The St. Mark’s Ringers and the Festival Choir begin their regular rehearsal schedule this week on Wednesday, September 4th – weather permitting. (Hurricane Dorian is making its approach to the Bahamas as this post is being written.)

All singers are welcome in the Festival Choir which rehearses from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m.

We have one opening in the St. Mark’s Ringers. Please contact Tony Cruz right away if you would like to join this hard-working group of musicians.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Music for the Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost: August 25, 2019



Opening Voluntary Two Settings of “Bunessan”
Richard Proulx
Evangelical Lutheran Worship (ELW) 456, 556, 586, 689

Most people, when they hear this tune, will automatically think of the text “Morning Has Broken,” but there are actually four texts paired with this Scottish tune in ELW. Next to New Britain (aka “Amazing Grace”) it is probably the most famous tune from Scotland to appear in American hymnals.

Eleanor Farjeon
The “Morning Has Broken” text has incorrectly been credited to Cat Stevens who brought the song some commercial success in the early 70s. But, ELW has correctly credited the English writer Eleanor Farjeon.

Before it was paired with her text, the tune was a Christmas hymn titled “Child in the Manger, Infant of Mary.”

Bunessan has proven to be a useful tune indeed.


Gathering Hymn O Day of Rest and Gladness (Haf trones lampa färdig)
Today’s text reminds us to remember the sabbath day and this hymn does exactly that. If someone ever asks “Why do Christians worship on Sunday?” you can respond with verse 2!

This hymn appears in ELW with the tune
Ellacombe but I’ve never felt that was a good pairing and we sang Ellacombe last week. The Episcopalians sing it with a tune that I adore – Es flog ein kleins Waldvögelein – but I don’t like to use unfamiliar tunes during the Hymn of the Day in summer months. A perfect solution seemed to be Haf trones lampa färdig, the Swedish folk tune that we sing with “Rejoice, Rejoice Believers” in Advent.

Hymn of the Day Glories of Your Name Are Spoken (Austria)
Haydn
Lutheran Book of Worship 358
There isn’t a lot of controversy in the realm of church music, but this hymn is a reminder that it does exist.

Many people remember singing this hymn to the tune Austria, composed by Franz Josef Haydn (1732-1809). In modern times the tune often brings Nazi Germany to mind, indeed the text has been paired with Blaenwern in ELW – which is how we usually sing it.  We sing it today not to remember Hitler’s era, but to remember the composer Franz Josef Haydn.




Musical Offering Come, Ye Sinners (sung by the Festival Choir)
Ronald Turner

Communion Hymns
Bread of Life from Heaven (Argentine Santo)
ELW 474
The refrain is a traditional Argentine melody usually sung with a text that calls the Sanctus
(Holy, Holy, Holy) to mind. The stanzas contain new melodic material by Marty Haugen with words by Susan Briehl.
Summer, like the time after Pentecost, is a season of growth.
I'm happy to have these Plumeria growing in my yard.
Sending Hymn How Firm a Foundation Cry (Foundation)
ELW 796

Closing Voluntary Ein Feste Burg
Setting, Kevin Hildebrand
ELW 504

Sources:
Wikipedia
Hymnal Companion to Evangelical Lutheran Worship

Five Not-To-Miss Music Events for the Fall at St. Mark's


As summer comes to an end, our Festival Choir and St. Mark’s Ringers are getting ready to resume their regular rehearsal schedule.

We have plenty of room for singers in the choir. All voice parts are welcome, but we have a special need for sopranos and altos.  This year the Festival Choir is changing its rehearsal time from 7:30 to 7:00. Rehearsal will be over at 8:30.



On Wednesday night we work on choral singing skills, music for the liturgy, psalms and hymns, and music for the musical offering.  The ability to read music is helpful, but not required. (As you become a regular in the choir, you’ll find this skill will improve!)

If you have any questions, please contact Tony Cruz or any choir member.


One of our most popular events each year is the San Marco Chamber Music Society’s annual benefit for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund. Eric and Ellen Olson, artistic directors, plan a varied program of composers and musical styles.

In these concerts, Eric and Ellen are joined by an assortment of seasoned professional musicians.

Each year the players change, but the top-level playing does not. Don’t miss this concert!



It has been five years since St. Mark’s organ was expanded. Since the expansion, we have been able to present a number of concerts by very fine organists – and this year is no exception!

Zach Klobnak is the former Music Director of our neighbor, All Saints Episcopal Church. His concert bio follows:

Dr. Zach Klobnak is College Organist and Visiting Assistant Professor of Music at Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. He is also Director of Music and Organist at the Presbyterian Church of Danville, where he directs the music program, administers the “Music on Main Street” concert series, and plays the church’s Taylor & Boody pipe organ.  A native of Iowa, he holds degrees from Luther College (BA), the University of Florida (MM), and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (DMA), where he held the Brownson Fellowship for organ studies.  His principal organ teachers include Dana Robinson, Laura Ellis, and Gregory Peterson; he has also studied harpsichord with Kathryn Reed and choral conducting with Donald Nally, Fred Stoltzfus, and Timothy Peter.  Zach is an active recitalist, a member of the American Guild of Organists and the Presbyterian Association of Musicians, and studied French organ literature and design in Paris and in the Alps region of France.  He has previously held church music positions in Illinois, Florida, and Iowa.



We love doing events with our full communion partners at All Saints Episcopal
Church. This year we have been invited to join with them in a celebration for All Saints Day.

All Saints Day, every November 1st, is a celebration of remembrance for all the saints, known and unknown, that we have lost. In All Saints’ beautiful, candlelit sanctuary, the choirs and clergy of St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and  All Saints Episcopal Church offer a variety of hymns, anthems, and spirituals to lift up and inspire. All are invited to light a candle, offer prayers, and take part in this special service of outstanding choral music.



St. Mark’s long-standing tradition of Bach Vespers continues. All experienced choral singers are welcome to participate! Please contact Tony Cruz for further information.