It’s been a few months since my last post, but like tithing, regular posting is something we’re working toward. It’s been a thrilling fall at St. George’s for the entire music program. Our first ever program-wide music retreat in August was followed by a well attended session of Choral School in September, several spectacular combined choir performances, new jazz ensemble arrangements and a tiring but wonderful Christmas Eve.
St. George’s has the most eclectic music program that I know of. We have jazz, Celtic, classical, chant and Renaissance music covered in our four musical services and we do them all well. We have talented singers and players who devote a lot of time to their art in support of worship. The result of their efforts is a program that continues to grow year after year, both in numbers and musically.
The highlights for me are many, but I am particularly gratified by the dedication of our singers of all ages, who are not afraid to take on insanely difficult repertoire at my suggestion and spend long hours perfecting it. Our major works over the last few seasons include Vivaldi’s “Gloria,” Respighi’s “Laud to the Nativity,” Saint-Saens “Oratorio de Noel,” and Arvo Paert’s “The Beatitudes.” This is not stuff for the faint of heart, and given that we are a 100% volunteer ensemble with no paid singers or section leaders, it is also a prodigious accomplishment by talented musicians with a great love for their ministry.
On Christmas Eve, St. George’s parishioners and guests were treated to three musical services: at 4:00 a children’s Christmas Pageant, at 7:00, a 30 minute prelude for choir and jazz ensemble, featuring a brand new arrangement of “Sussex Carol,” and at 10:30, the Saint-Saens Christmas Oratorio for soloists, choir, string orchestra and organ. In addition the choirs performed a stunning anthem by Stephen Paulus, “A Savior form on High,” accompanied by synth harp and soprano sax at the early service and oboe at the later one. Everything went exceedingly well, although some of us were caving in on ourselves from fatigue by evening’s end.
Congratulations to all for your hard work and dedication. I love my job!