(NOTE: I wrote this last spring, just prior to the beginning of my sabbatical, but never posted it for some reason. But it has much I wanted to say, so here it is, albeit a couple of months late….)
I am just starting to come down from the events of last Saturday, as we celebrated the diversity and joy of music making at Trinity Cathedral. It started with music in the Cathedral (a concert cleverly disguised as a service), with all of Trinity Cathedral’s musicians participating. The format was similar to a “Lessons & Carols” type of service, with four readings alternating with some really wonderful music. We were joined by my long time friend Dr David Deffner, who was the accompanist for the evening.
After the bidding prayer, the Cathedral Choir sang Adrian Batten’s “O Sing Joyfully,” a piece which is one of my favorites.
Following the first reading, the Cathedral Choristers sang a little arrangement “Praise the Lord our God forever” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and then were joined by the Celebration Choir for John Rutter’s “For the beauty of the earth.”
Following the second lesson, our Saturday Service music ensemble presented two wonderful songs accompanied by guitars, piano, bass, synthesizer, percussion, and recorders. It was very nicely done, and I think a pleasant surprise to those who don’t attend the Saturday evening service.
After the third lesson, the Celebration Choir sang a beautiful Spanish song “Muchos Resplandores,” followed by the rousing gospel piece “Step-by-Step” by Horace Clarence Boyer. The house was rockin’ at that point!
Following a wonderful reading of John Milton’s “At a Solemn Musick,” the Cathedral Choir sang Benjamin Britten’s “Te Deum in C.” Typical of Britten, this piece is devilishly hard to learn, but the choir really sang brilliantly. I was a proud papa, as my daughter Abagail sang the beautiful soprano solo in the “Te Deum.”
Following that was the first performance of a new anthem written for me by my good friend Simon Lole. The text was the famous prayer by St Alcuin of York, “Eternal light, shine into my heart…” Simon’s piece is a lovely superbly written miniature, and I hope it will get published so that other choirs can sing it too.
Of course, we’re Episcopalians, so we took an offering… and the combined Cathedral and Celebration Choirs sang “The Lord is my Shepherd,” a lovely setting of the traditional words composed by Howard Goodall (which is incidentally the theme music for the hilarious BBC television series “The Vicar of Dibley”).
Following the music, a reception was held in the Great Hall, with much humor and some terrific surprises. A resolution from the California State Assembly was a especially wonderful surprise, as were gifts from the choirs. It was all in all, a wonderful affirmation for me and for our wonderful music program.
Thanks to everyone who helped to make it a special evening. To all of our musicians who worked so hard… and to my friend the Reverend Kathleen Kelly, who put many hours into the planning and execution of it all. You all have made it a pleasure to serve the Cathedral for the last twenty-five years, and I look forward to many more with you!!