Category Archives: parish life

Sunday Choral Report – Christ the King

It’s hard to believe that we’ve hit the last Sunday in the liturgical year, and that Advent starts next week.  For Christ the King, we had a couple of rousing hymns:  To Jesus Christ, Our Sovereign King (CBW3-438) and Crown Him with Many Crowns (CBW3-437) as processional and recessional respectively, and were joined by a guest trumpeter.

During the offertory, we sang Thou Wilt Keep Him in Perfect Peace by Samuel Sebastian Wesley.  (Here’s a version from YouTube).  During Communion, we sang Teach Me, O Lord by Gordon Young.

Homilist and celebrant today was Fr. John Reddy from Saint Michaels College School and he was excellent, on topic, by the book, coherent, and kindly.

Remember Not, Lord, Our Offences….

…aka The Sunday Choral Report.

This morning was not the choir’s finest hour.

It was all good in rehearsal.  Is that the sign of doom?

The processional was Praise My Soul the King of Heaven with “updated” words, thanks to the Catholic Book of Worship III.  Heavens – am I turning into an old fogie?  This is one of the most gorgeous hymns evah.  I sang it often in my Presbyterian days…it’s one of those hymns that rests in your heart and head, and when you have to sing it with castrated text, it’s just wrong.  Here is the original text.

Moving on.

We prepared Remember Not, Lord, Our Offences by Purcell for the Offertory.  Now, we were short altos this morning, and our soloist-slash-strong singer was away sick.  The work had a split soprano part and so one of the altos moved over to sing Soprano II mid-way through rehearsal.  The remaining two of us were fine.  But when we got up into the loft, and stood in our positions in a semi-circle around the organ, next to people we weren’t next to in rehearsal, in a room where the sound is completely different….  It kinda fell apart in the middle, and then reconvened to bring us home.  It’s a gorgeous piece.  You can go here to listen to the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge.  The text:

Remember not, Lord, our offences, nor the offences of our forefathers;  neither take thou vengeance of our sins:  spare us, good Lord, spare thy people,whom thou hast redeemed with thy most precious blood, and be not angry with us for ever.  Spare us, good Lord.

The Communion hymn was To Thee O Lord by Rachmaninoff.  It was fine, quite lovely in fact.  And we took them out with Tell Out My Soul, a camp favorite from the summers of my youth.

Remember Not, Lord, Our Offences….

…aka The Sunday Choral Report.

This morning was not the choir’s finest hour.

It was all good in rehearsal.  Is that the sign of doom?

The processional was Praise My Soul the King of Heaven with “updated” words, thanks to the Catholic Book of Worship III.  Heavens – am I turning into an old fogie?  This is one of the most gorgeous hymns evah.  I sang it often in my Presbyterian days…it’s one of those hymns that rests in your heart and head, and when you have to sing it with castrated text, it’s just wrong.  Here is the original text.

Moving on.

We prepared Remember Not, Lord, Our Offences by Purcell for the Offertory.  Now, we were short altos this morning, and our soloist-slash-strong singer was away sick.  The work had a split soprano part and so one of the altos moved over to sing Soprano II mid-way through rehearsal.  The remaining two of us were fine.  But when we got up into the loft, and stood in our positions in a semi-circle around the organ, next to people we weren’t next to in rehearsal, in a room where the sound is completely different….  It kinda fell apart in the middle, and then reconvened to bring us home.  It’s a gorgeous piece.  You can go here to listen to the Choir of Clare College, Cambridge.  The text:

Remember not, Lord, our offences, nor the offences of our forefathers;  neither take thou vengeance of our sins:  spare us, good Lord, spare thy people,whom thou hast redeemed with thy most precious blood, and be not angry with us for ever.  Spare us, good Lord.

The Communion hymn was To Thee O Lord by Rachmaninoff.  It was fine, quite lovely in fact.  And we took them out with Tell Out My Soul, a camp favorite from the summers of my youth.

Good Friday

Another quiet and moving liturgy today.  Entering the church to the empty tabernacle never ceases to take me aback, and this afternoon was no different.  The silent procession and the prostration of the priest and deacon are also very emotional moments.

St John’s Passion Narrative was read and the choir sang the crowd responses.  An unaccompanied soloist sang the spiritual Were You There while the offering was collected.  This was followed by congregational singing of O Sacred Head, Surrounded, one of my favourite hymns that regularly brings me to tears.
During communion, the choir sang When David Heard by Thomas Tomkins, an achingly beautiful piece that was somewhat under-rehearsed (and showed it).  Check out this YouTube version. Warning:  there are some heartbreaking images as you get in to the video.  The text of the piece is roughly 

When David heard that Absalom was slain, 
He went up to his chamber over the gate and wept; and thus he said:  
Oh my son, Absalom my son.  
Would God I had died for thee.

The liturgy ended with veneration of the cross while the choir sang The Old Rugged Cross.

Good Friday

Another quiet and moving liturgy today.  Entering the church to the empty tabernacle never ceases to take me aback, and this afternoon was no different.  The silent procession and the prostration of the priest and deacon are also very emotional moments.

St John’s Passion Narrative was read and the choir sang the crowd responses.  An unaccompanied soloist sang the spiritual Were You There while the offering was collected.  This was followed by congregational singing of O Sacred Head, Surrounded, one of my favourite hymns that regularly brings me to tears.

During communion, the choir sang When David Heard by Thomas Tomkins, an achingly beautiful piece that was somewhat under-rehearsed (and showed it).  Check out this YouTube version. Warning:  there are some heartbreaking images as you get in to the video.  The text of the piece is roughly 

When David heard that Absalom was slain, 
He went up to his chamber over the gate and wept; and thus he said:  
Oh my son, Absalom my son.  
Would God I had died for thee.

The liturgy ended with veneration of the cross while the choir sang The Old Rugged Cross.

Sunday Choral Report

Processional:  O Praise the Lord (CBW3 – 593)

Offertory:  A Wondrous Love (American Traditional – from Sacred Harp 159)
Communion:  Gustate et Videte (Heinrich Isaac) 
Recessional:  Tell Out My Soul (CBW3 – 575)
Singing A Wondrous Love took me back to a Shape Note Singing workshop I did many years ago when Village Harmony visited our church in Ottawa.  Here’s a version of the song done by a group of American shape note singers.
I would love to attend a singing somewhere in Toronto, if I can find one!

Sunday Choral Report

Processional:  O Praise the Lord (CBW3 – 593)

Offertory:  A Wondrous Love (American Traditional – from Sacred Harp 159)
Communion:  Gustate et Videte (Heinrich Isaac) 
Recessional:  Tell Out My Soul (CBW3 – 575)

Singing A Wondrous Love took me back to a Shape Note Singing workshop I did many years ago when Village Harmony visited our church in Ottawa.  Here’s a version of the song done by a group of American shape note singers.

I would love to attend a singing somewhere in Toronto, if I can find one!

Sunday Choral Report

I’m back in the choral saddle, so to speak, after a week out of town and a week of sickness.  Yesterday was the dress rehearsal for the Aradia Ensemble concert in which I am participating this afternoon.  I am in the chorus for Vivaldi’s Gloria, that is being performed with a small group of (period) instruments and about 20 voices.

Today is the Third Sunday of Advent.  Our celebrant was, I think, in rose.  It was somewhere between liturgical purple and red.  But not the pepto bismol pink that is typical in churches that play by the book.  So I’m really not sure if it was rose after all.
Processional:  No actual procession.  Celebrant was in his seat with lights down.  We sang The Canticle of Mary (CBW3, 14I) as the opening hymn, while lights came up.
Offertory:  Benjamin Britten’s Hymn to the Virgin.  This is a gorgeous piece that should be done with two choirs.  We had two altos and two tenors today, so it was a little light, but it sounded beautiful, better than any of our run-throughs in rehearsal.
Communion:  Rorate Coeli (Gregorian Chant).  This was written in chant notation, the first time I have sung from this type of manuscript.  Here is a video clip of this chant.


Recessional:  Tell Out My Soul (CBW3, 575).  I had never noticed that this hymn is based on the Magnificat.

Sunday Choral Report

I’m back in the choral saddle, so to speak, after a week out of town and a week of sickness.  Yesterday was the dress rehearsal for the Aradia Ensemble concert in which I am participating this afternoon.  I am in the chorus for Vivaldi’s Gloria, that is being performed with a small group of (period) instruments and about 20 voices.

Today is the Third Sunday of Advent.  Our celebrant was, I think, in rose.  It was somewhere between liturgical purple and red.  But not the pepto bismol pink that is typical in churches that play by the book.  So I’m really not sure if it was rose after all.
Processional:  No actual procession.  Celebrant was in his seat with lights down.  We sang The Canticle of Mary (CBW3, 14I) as the opening hymn, while lights came up.
Offertory:  Benjamin Britten’s Hymn to the Virgin.  This is a gorgeous piece that should be done with two choirs.  We had two altos and two tenors today, so it was a little light, but it sounded beautiful, better than any of our run-throughs in rehearsal.
Communion:  Rorate Coeli (Gregorian Chant).  This was written in chant notation, the first time I have sung from this type of manuscript.  Here is a video clip of this chant.

Recessional:  Tell Out My Soul (CBW3, 575).  I had never noticed that this hymn is based on the Magnificat.