Poinsett Piano Trio This Saturday

David Gross, piano; Deirdre Hutton, violin; Christopher Hutton, violoncello

Saturday, January 28, 2012 – 4:00 pm

Music of Dvořák, Grieg, and Ravel

Free and Open to the Public

The Poinsett Piano Trio was formed in 2008 by David Gross (cello), Deirdre Hutton (violin), and Christopher Hutton (piano). All three members live in Greenville, South Carolina and teach at Furman University, a liberal arts college with a strongly performance-oriented music program.

The ensemble is named in honor of Joel Roberts Poinsett, a 19th-century statesman, physician, and botanist from South Carolina. Poinsett is most remembered today as the discoverer of the Mexican Poinsettia plant, whose bright red flowers are popularly included in festive Christmas decorations throughout the world.

Click here to see the concert program; for more information, check the trio’s website here.


Music from the Past Couple of Sundays

Please click on the links below to hear music from these services.

The Bapstim of Our Lord – January 8

Download the service leaflet here

Introit: When Jesus came to Jordan’s stream

Hymn 126, The people who in darkness walked (Dundee)

Psalm 89:20-29 (Simplified Anglican Chant, Kennedy)

Hymn 490, I want to walk as a child of the light (Houston)

Epiphany II – January 15

Download the service leaflet here

Wesley: Lead me, Lord

Hymn 475, God himself is with us (Tysk)

arr. Beck: Let us break bread together

Epiphany III – January 22

Download the service leaflet here

Introit: Psalm 16:5-11 (Anglican Chant, Ousley)

Hymn 691, My faith looks up to thee (Olivet)

Bouman: God is light

Hymn 539, O Zion, haste (Tidings)


AGO Convocation: A Light to Lighten the Nations

Members and friends of the Grand Strand Chapter gathered at the Church of the Resurrection, Surfside Beach on January 15 for a winter convocation and choral festival.  The theme of the service, which took place on the second Sunday after the Epiphany, was “A Light to Lighten the Nations.”

The Trinity Choir sings at the convocation

Participating choirs included:

Surfside United Methodist Church
Glynis Hopkins – Director; Sherri Boschen – Accompanist

Church of the Resurrection, Surfside Beach
Karen Kearney, Organist & Choirmaster

St. Paul’s United Methodist Church
Dr. Robert Baxter – Director; Olivia Huggins – Accompanist

Trinity Church, Myrtle Beach
Mark Chaney – Organist and Choirmaster

A brass ensemble provided prelude and postlude music, and the service waqs brilliantly played by host organist Karen Kearney.

Dr. Larry Cook, dean of the Wilmington Chapter AGO, addresses the convocation

One of the highlights of the afternoon was surely the keynote address from Dr. Larry Cook, Organist and Choirmaster of St. Paul’s Epsicopal Church, Wilmington, NC, and dean of the Wilmington Chapter AGO.  His remarks were a reflection on the theme of the convovation, “A Light to Lighten the Nations,” a phrase from the Nunc dimittis in Luke 2.  Here is an excerpt:

“I like Martin Luther’s paraphrase of the Nunc dimittis, the German hymn “Mit Fried und Freud ich fahr dahin” – “In peace and joy I now depart.”   “Peace” and “Joy” seem to be two of the essential elements of this Light that is capable of lightening the nations.  Now as leaders in the worship of this Light—and that is what church organists, choir directors, and choir members are—we have de facto assumed the responsibility of engaging in this “Lighting” or “Enlightening” endeavor.   There can be no doubt that music has an integral part to play:  few areas of human experience so completely involve the heart and the intellect so fully and compellingly as music can.   St. Augustine is supposed to have said [“bis orat qui bene cantat…] “he who sings well prays twice.”   And that often-omitted word “well” has to concern us…

“As reflectors of the Light to enlighten the Nations, we need to remove our reflective tarnish, working constantly to improve our skills and attitudes.  What kind of light are we reflecting?  Are we diligent is searching out and selecting music of the highest quality, or are we content to fritter away our time and energy with immediately appealing, but ultimately insubstantial, flashes of second rate stuff?   The story is told that Handel, after conducting a performance of Messiah, was approached by Lord Kinnoul who praised Handel, remarking how entertaining it was, Handel replied, “My Lord, I should be sorry if I only entertained them; I wished to make them better.”  Without getting too self-important about it, we should also feel this awesome responsibility.”

Read Dr. Cook’s entire remarks here.

Download the printed program of the convocation here;
more pictures from the afternoon’s proceedings here.

Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant

Gerre Hancock (1934-2012)

In the next days and weeks, the music world will be full of tributes and remembrances of Gerre Hancock, the longest-serving organist and choirmaster at St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue in New York City (1971-2004).  During those years Dr. Hancock came to be especially known as a master improviser and teacher of improvisation.  After his retirement from St. Thomas, he and his wife Judith headed the sacred music program at the University of Texas in Austin, where he died in hospital on Saturday surrounded by family.

This picture was taken a conference that I attended last summer, and I am posting it not to flaunt my relationship with him (indeed, I only really met him on this one occasion), but as an illustration of how gracious he was with those who sought to learn from him.  I found him to be incredibly generous with his time, and was wonderfully indulgent of my peppering with questions about “the old days” at St. Thomas.

His ashes will be buried under the chancel of the St. Thomas church where he stood for so many years leading the choir.  Read the Rector of St. Thomas’s announcement of his death here.

American Guild of Organists Event This Weekend

Grand Strand Chapter
of the American Guild of Organists (AGO)
Winter Convocation

“A Light to Lighten the Nations”

Sunday, January 15, 4:00 p. m.
Church of the Resurrection, Surfside Beach  (Hwy 17 Bypass)

Keynote Speaker:
Dr. Larry Cook, Dean of the Wilmington Chapter AGO

Karen Kearney, Resurrection, Surfside Beach

Participating Choirs:
Surfside United Methodist Church
Church of the Resurrection, Surfside Beach
St. Paul’s United Methodist Church
Trinity Church, Myrtle Beach

Free and open to the public, reception to follow. 
More information at the Grand Strand AGO website here.

God’s Own Son is Born a Child, God the Father is Reconciled

Music from Epiphany Processions and Carols

Download the service leaflet here; please click on the links below to hear music from this service.

Processional Hymn:

‘He whom shepherds once came praising’ (Quempas Carol)

Karen Kerswell, Margo Perl, and Janet Inman Haigh singing in procession

Liturgical Processions serve the purpose getting the clergy and choir into and out of church, but they also symbolize the act of pilgrimage–journeying from our ordinary lives into to holy place for the purpose of worship. The extended procession at the beginning of this service is meant to evoke the very first Christian pilgrimage–the star-led journey of the Magi to the manger at Bethlehem.

In this procession, “detachments” of the adult and children’s choirs process around and sing antiphonally from the four corners of the Nave as well as the Choir Loft, singing together and joined by the congregation on each refrain.

The “Quempas Carol” gets its name from the first two syllables of its Latin title, Quem pastores laudavere (He whom the shepherds praised).  This is a 14th-century carol that tells the story of the angels’ appearance to the shepherds and the shepherd’s subsequent journey to Bethlehem to see the Christ child.

Other Hymns and Carols:

Niles, arr. Warrel: Jesus, Jesus, rest your head

Davies: O little town of Bethlehem
Marcia McKenna, soprano

arr. Shaw: Unto us is born a Son

Dyson: Nunc dimittis
Rod Sanders, baritone

Held: Saw you never in the twilight
Lisa Jennings, soprano

Nelson: The Coming of God to Earth

Lisa Jennings accompanied by Mark Chaney

Hymn 94, While shephards watched thier flocks (Winchester New)

Hymn 119, As with gladness men of old (Dix)

Hymn 82, Of the Father’s love begotten (Divinum mysterium)

Hymn 497, How bright appears the Morning Star (Wie schön leuchtet)

Stewart Haigh reads a lesson

More pictures at the Trinity Shuetterfly site here.

Epiphany Processions and Carols This Friday

This service celebrates the Epiphany of our Lord, the twelfth and final day of Christmas, which is the completion and fulfillment of the Advent and Christmas seasons.

Some themes that run throughout the service:

Light:  At Epiphany the wise men are led to the infant Jesus by the guiding of a star, in spite of the dark motives of those who would thwart God’s loving purpose.  The light of this same star–in the person of Jesus Christ and in the form of his holy Word–remains undimmed as a source of guidance and illumination in our lives today.

Pilgrimage:  Epiphany commemorates, among other things, the very first Christian pilgrimage.  The arduous journey of the Magi would have required great faith to undertake and even greater determination to carry out.  The extended procession at the beginning of the service recalls this extraordinary act of devotion.

Tension between the Cradle and the Cross:  Precursors of the ultimate purpose of Christ’s incarnation are found throughout the Biblical narrative of his birth.  The gift of gold symbolizes Christ’s kingship, but the gift of myrrh foretells his death; the story of the Magi is followed immediately by the slaughter of the Holy Innocents; Simeon is overjoyed to the sight of the infant Messiah but warns Mary that a sword will pierce her soul.  As Pastor Iain put it in his sermon this past Sunday, we must follow Christ not only to Bethlehem but also to Calvary.

Music for the Service:

Victoria: O magnum mysterium
Marshall: He comes to us
Davies: O little town of Bethlehem
Ballet: Lute Book Lullaby
arr. Warrel: Jesus, Jesus, rest your head

94, While shephards watched their flocks by night
119, As with gladness men of old
128, We three kings of Orient
82, Of the Father’s love begotten
497, How brightly shines the Morning Star

Download a poster for this service here