Wednesday, June 28, 2006

end of season

Last night, our parish choir performed a concert for the Anglican Association of Musicians, an American organization for Episcopal music folk (probably music folk that are not too much into folk music?). AAM is having their 40th anniversary convention in Indianapolis this week -- the organization was started here. Dr. Messina, our director, was elected this week to a vice president slot that will eventually lead to being president of AAM in a year or two.

We sang Copeland's "In The Beginning," his long choral work setting to music the opening scriptures of Genesis that lays out creation by seven days. In between each day section, Cantor Janice Roger of the Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation chanted the text in Hebrew. Patricia Thompson, our Alto section leader and a graduate student at Indiana University, sang the solo part that lead each day section.

And the Meridian Vocal Consort -- a professional choir that includes some of our members and who performs two or three times a year for the parish concert series -- sang Monteverdi's Mass for Four Voices. I am always overwhelmed by the beauty of their voices and the power of their singing so clearly and with great expression.

The text for both pieces are quite moving,one dealing with God and the beginning of life, and the other in Latin revisiting the words of the Eucharist, in essence, the Christian liturgy for thousands of years.

Following the concert, we had a simple compline service, chanted. The church was packed with AAM members and they chanted with great passion (if not clarity). Now the season is over for us. We return to the nave for worship, mixed in with the congregation. It was a long year. We were in England last summer, and our friend Mary died in December. We sang three Mozart masses with instruments as part of the Sunday services. And the Requiem with Saint Paul's Church. As a small community within the greater community of the parish, we live our lives around musicmaking.

Partner is off to graduate study in the fall. The choir presented him with a Daily Office book (2800 pages) that includes the morning and evening prayer liturgies and all the office readings, years one and two. Another goodbye, one that is particularly close to me since we will be living between two cities for a year or more. He is a great musician and I enjoy singing next to him. The only reason I joined the choir was because he asked me to. In addition to missing being with him daily, I'll miss singing with him in the choir next year.

I have a recording of Sowerby's settings of the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis. We've sang these several times over the years, but I cannot fully express the anticipation I feel when I hear the opening organ chords of the Mag or the fainting ending of the Nunc. Perhaps the theology is sloppy, but music is sacramental, not an end to itself, but a way to faith,prayer and community.

No comments: