Music from the Past Few Sundays

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

Lent III – March 11

Jessica Miller and Matt Ward, oboes

Download the service leaflet here

Bach: Prelude in F (Well-Tempered Clavier II) and Trio (Brandenburg No. 1)

These two pieces have nothing whatever to do with one another aside from they fact that they are both by Bach.  Furthermore, the “Trio” from the Brandenburg concerto is meant to be played by two oboes and a bassoon alone, not by two oboes and harpsichord playing the bassline and filling in the harmonies.  It’s hard to say whether Bach would have approved of my appropriating and re-packaging his work in this way, although he did this sort of thing with his own music fairly regularly.  For me, the justification is that the claim of “authenticity” is less important than allowing Bach’s music to be heard, especially when one has a fine harpichord and two fine oboe players at one’s disposal.

Eiether way, Bach is still dead and his music is still great.

Bach: ‘Inscribed upon the cross we see’

This also is an invention of mine own making–we took the second stanza of Hymn 471, ‘We sing the praise of him who died,’ and set it to Bach’s harmonization of the 17th-century chorale O heiliger Geist, O heiliger Gott.

Inscribed upon the cross we see
in shining letters, God is love:
Christ bears our sins upon the tree:
he brings us mercy from above.

Thomas Kelly, 1815

Hymn 149, Eternal Lord of love, behold your Church (Old 124th)

Kyrie eleison (Russian Orthodox traditional)

Hymn 439, What wondrous love is this, O my soul (Wondrous Love)

Bach: O Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht, BWV 118

O Jesu Christ, meins Lebens Licht,
mein Hort, mein Trost, mein Zuversicht,
auf Erden bin ich nur ein Gast
und drückt mich sehr der Sünden Last.

O Jesus Christ, the light of my life,
my treasure, my comfort, my confidence:
I am only a guest in this world,
and the weight of my sins oppresses me greatly.

Martin Behm (1737)

Bach: Ich hab’ ich ihm ergeben
from Cantata 97, In allen meinen Taten
Lisa Jennings, soprano

Ich hab mich ihm ergeben zu sterben und zu leben,
Sobald er mir gebeut.
Es sei heut oder morgen, dafür lass ich ihn sorgen;
Er weiß die rechte Zeit.

To him I am committed for dying and for living
Whenever he bids me.
If this day or tomorrow I depart to his care;
He knows the proper time.

Paul Fleming (1642)

Lent IV – March 18

Download the service leaflet here

Lloyd: Cleanse me, Lord
(stanzas 2 and 4 of ‘View me, Lord, a work of thine’)

Cleanse me, Lord, that I may kneel at thine altar pure and white;
They that once thy mercies feel, gaze no more on earth’s delight.

In thy word, Lord, is my trust, to thy mercies fast I fly;
Though I am but clay and dust, yet thy grace can lift me high.

– Thomas Campion (1567-1620)

Hymn 475, God himself is with us (Tysk)

arr. Hutto: Just as I am

Hood Memorial Organ

I am pleased to announce that Trinity will soon be acquiring a new organ for its music ministry.  This instrument has been given in memory of Sebron Hood, our long-serving and well-beloved choirmaster and organist.  The organ will be completed sometime in the late fall or early winter of this year.

Sebron Hood, Jr, Trinity's Organist and Choirmaster from 1967 to 1991

The new organ will be small positiv (German spelling with no ‘e’) organ, also known as a ‘chest organ’ or a ‘continuo organ.’  While it is a true pipe organ, it is actually completely portable; it sound and its purpose will be quite different from present sanctuary organ.  It should be made clear that this new organ is in no way meant to be a replacement for the big organ in the choir loft–which is in fine condition, as anyone who attended our recent Hymn Festival can attest—but it will certainly make a fine companion to its larger brother.The choice of an organ seems a particularly appropriate way in which to memorialize Sebe’s ministry at Trinity.  Those who were here during those years will remember that Sebe never got to play a pipe organ, but held forth with an electronic instrument in the old church—the outline of where that instrument was can still be seen in the stonework in the floor of the present choir room.  When he died in December of 2010, friends and colleagues from around the country honored his memory with contributions to the church.  And just this year, Sebe’s wife Belle Miller and their children Harriette, Sebron III, and Spivey and their families have made a generous gift to make this project possible.  I join them in hoping that this organ will be a useful and lasting memorial to a beloved friend.


An extensive investigation took place during the summer and fall of 2011 in which a number or organ builders and professional colleagues from around the country were contacted for their experiences and opinions about various instruments.  In the end the builder that consistently received the highest recommendation (and provided the best value for money) was a Dutch firm called Henk Klop Clavecimbelbouw.

Continuo organ by Henk Klop, Garderen, The Netherlands

The Klop organ will have one keyboard (61 notes, no pedals) and 5 ranks of pipes.  The case will be carved from cherry wood, and the keys will be ebony and plum wood.  Its dimensions are 44 x 33 x 20 inches, and it will weigh 165 lbs.  The organ includes a wooden box for transport and storage box and is guaranteed by the builder for ten years.


While it will be possible it use this organ to lead worship (hymn singing) with a modest congregation in a small space like the chapel, its primary function would be as an accompanying instrument with choral and instrumental ensembles, with secondary utility as a solo instrument playing “hands only” repertoire.  Both of these functions apply equally to concert and worship settings.  Specific examples included but are not limited to:

  • Accompanying the children’s choir (lighter timbre with younger voices)
  • Continuo instrument with orchestral ensembles
  • Accompanying the adult choir or soloists on certain styles of repertoire
  • having an organ in the front of the Nave opens up the possibility of antiphonal ensembles from various places in the church
  • Playing a prelude or offertory either in the Nave or Chapel
  • Providing music for small weddings or funerals, especially in the chapel

For a better idea of what this organ looks and sounds like, I recommend the following YouTube video.

Music from the First Sunday in Lent

About Lent

Lent is a period of forty days in which the Church prepares itself for the celebration of Easter.  It is a season of penitence and renewal, of careful self-examination and deepened devotion through worship, study, and acts of charity.  The restrained character of our worship will hopefully help us to open ourselves to God’s word through prayer and meditation.  During this season we omit the word “Alleluia” from our liturgy.  We sing “Lord, have mercy” instead of “Glory to God in the highest” and “Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world” instead of “Alleluia, Christ our Passover is sacrificed.”

The Biblical precedent for the season is found in Jesus’s Spirit-led period of prayer and fasting in the desert, in which he was tempted by Satan (Matthew 4:1-11). Forty is the salutary number in the Old Testament for such periods of cleansing and preparation: Noah was in the ark for forty days, and the Israelites wandered in the desert for forty years.

The forty days of Lent between Ash Wednesday and Holy Saturday do not include the Sundays.  All Sundays, even the Sundays during Lent, are feasts of our Lord Jesus and celebrations of his Resurrection.  Therefore their designation as Sundays in Lent (and not of Lent) is significant.  It is also significant that while the fast (Lent) is forty days long, the feast (Easter) is fifty days.  The power of the Resurrection trumps everything.

Lent I – February 26

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

Schalk: Show me your ways, O Lord

Hymn 665, All my hope on God is founded (Michael)

Psalm 25:3-9 (Plainsong Tone 2)

Hymn 440, Blessed Jesus, at thy word (Liebster Jesu)

arr. Whalum: Sweet home
Kristine Chaney, solo

Hymn 339, Deck thyself, my soul, with gladness (Schmücke dich)
stanza 2, setting bt Donald Busarow (1934-2011)

arr. Callahan: ‘Michael’ (Hymn 665)

That the heart you have broken may rejoice: Music from Ash Wednesday

Ash Wednesday – February 22

Almighty and everlasting God, who hatest nothing that thou hast made and dost forgive the sins of all those who are penitent: Create and make in us new and contrite hearts, that we, worthily lamenting our sins and acknowledging our wretchedness, may obtain of thee, the God of all mercy, perfect remission and forgiveness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Please click on the links below to hear music from this service.  View the text of the Ash Wednesday liturgy here.

Psalm 51 (Plainsong Tone 2)

Psalm 51, “Have mercy on me, O God,” (in Latin, Miserere mei, Deus) is the classic psalm of penitence, an eloquent heartfelt plea for mercy.  It is sung an Ash Wednesday as a part of the very elaborate and extended confession and absolution that begins the season of Lent.

We sang Psalm 51 back and forth between cantor and congregation to a very simple plainsong chant without any accompaniment.  This may not have been as aesthetically pleasing as singing one of the many “composed” settings we could have used (the famous Allegri Miserere, for example) but there was something very direct and beautiful in the simplicity of it.

Copland: Help us, O Lord (from Four Motets)

Aaron Copland (1900-1990)

‘Help us, O Lord’ is the first of four motets (short sacred pieces for unaccompanied chorus) that Copland wrote in 1921 while he was a student of the renowned composition teacher Nadia Boulanger.  Copland wrote them to fulfill an assignment, and did not seem to be very interested in them beyond that.  In fact they remained unpublished for over fifty years because Copland hadn’t especially wanted to write them in the first place and certainly wasn’t interested in hearing them.  In 1979 his publisher, Boosey and Hawkes, persuaded him to allow their publication after he had become very famous for other things.

The indication in the score that the text of these pieces is “from Biblical sources” is not strictly the case.  The texts are cobbled together from various prayers and Scripture passages in a way that evoke the “style” of Old Testament language.  The text of this piece is as follows:

Help us, O lord: for with thee is the fount of life. In thy light shall we see light. Let us march and try our ways: turn to God. It is good that man should wait, it is good that man should hope for the salvation of the Lord.

Despite its spurious lyrics, both the words and music of the piece are appropriate to the mood and message of Ash Wednesday.  It begins with a descending sob-like pattern, hummed by the altos, the repeats throughout the piece.  On top of this the sopranos have a mournful melody that is accompanied by static and austere harmonies in the men’s voices.  My favorite passage is in the middle section where the phrase “turn to God” is repeated with increasing intensity and dissonance to dramatic effect.

Music from the Last Sunday after the Epiphany

Epiphany Last – February 19

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

Armsdorff: Wie schön leuchetet der Morgenstern

Psalm 99:1-4, 9
Anglican chant, Stephen Elvey (after Haydn)

Hymn 523, Glorious things of thee are spoken (Abbott’s Leigh)

Psalm 27:5-11
simplified Anglican chant, Robert Knox Kennedy

Hymn 309, O Food to pilgrims given (O Welt, ich muss dich lassen)

Titcomb: O love, how deep, how broad, how high

Hymn Festival Awesomeness

Trinity was pleased to host Jamie Bobb, Minister of Music at First Congregational Church in Columbus, Ohio, for a hymn festival on Friday, February 17.  Jamie had rehearsed with the Trinity Choir on that preceding Wednesday, and they very much enjoyed working with him.  The festival itself (which was a fantastic success) was a mixture of old and new hymns from various traditions, all an improvisations and arrangements by Jamie.

Please click on the links below to listen to some of the hymns from the festival; download the concert program here.

‘The Church’s one Foundation’ (Aurelia)

‘Sing of the Lord’s goodness’ (The Lord’s Goodness)
based on the jazz standard ‘Take Five,’ made famous by Dave Brubeck

‘The King of love my Shepherd is’ (St. Columba) and ‘Sing with all the saints in glory’ (Mississippi)

‘Each morning brings us’ (All Morgen ist ganz frisch) and ‘I want Jesus to walk with me’ (Sojurner)
Lisa Jennings, solo

‘Abide with me’ (Eventide)

‘O God beyond all praising’ (Thaxted)

For more information about Jamie and his musical work in Columbus, please visit the First Congregational Church website here.