Last week’s post about choosing music that could do well either outdoors or in generated lots of traffic. So I thought I’d post the music and thoughts about the process of choosing it for this week, too!
This week our service will be held indoors.
My goal is always to enhance the service. So I look for the “givens,” i.e. the scripture readings, hymns and prayers that are already in place. The music should be compelling, add variety, and help shape the service into an integrated whole. While looking at this week’s parameters, I found some organ music directly related to the hymns. That made an excellent starting point.
How Firm a Foundation Early American tune (1787), arr. Mark Thewes (b. 1954)
This is an alternate harmonization of our first hymn for today.
Mr. Thewes is Organist and Director of Music at Westbrook Park United Methodist Church in Ohio.
Pastoral Paul Manz (1919-2009)
I was introduced to the music of Paul Manz by Gerhard Krapf (1924-2008) at the University of Iowa during high school. Manz’s music is both contemporary and accessible to listeners. His writing feels like a breath of fresh air.
This link chronicles Mr. Krapf’s military service in Germany, his years of hard labor in a Russian camp, and his education. As a teenager, I had not heard about his life, and he never talked about it. Instead, he poured his energies into playing, teaching, and composition.
Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise Traditional Welsh Melody (1839)
I will introduce this hymn with excerpts from an alternative version arranged by Rebecca K. Owens. When using hymn introductions from outside the hymnal, I always alert the choir first. This Sunday, the heads-up will go to individual choir members who will be sitting among the congregation. (The choir has the summer off.)
Clicking on the link above will take you to comments by Erik Routley (1917-1982), who was Chaplain of Westminster Choir College for several years, including my time there.
Ms. Owens is the Senior Organist at the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Bethlehem, PA.
Let Me Be Thine Forever Chorale (1532)
This version of the tune changes energetically between 6/4 and 3/2 meters. If someone is hearing the piece for the first time, the rhythm may come as a surprise.
How do you choose music for services? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below!