From the Music Director

I feel like we are frayed around the edges because of COVID. We are still knit together but have lost some cohesion over the past 18 months. Even our strongest pieces have thinned and struggled to hold everything and everyone together. It’s the nature of collective trauma, surely, to feel forever exhausted and on edge in unstable times.
Still, a golden thread has emerged in our beloved music program in the form of a return to in-person choir rehearsals. Even while we cannot sing to full capacity on Sunday mornings until restrictions are lifted, the St. Michael’s Singers has started gathering again in the open sanctuary on Wednesday nights to learn psalms and anthems together for both personal enrichment and communal worship.

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Music Program News

If you missed the offertory solo from last Sunday, take a listen to the marvelous duet from St. Michael’s Singers soprano Beth Ilem and Choir Director Brian Fairbanks on flute as they present Craig Courtney’s “Be not afraid,” set to Isaiah 43:1-4.

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Music for August 1

One melodic composer you’ll hear on Sunday during the offertory is Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel (1805-1847). Fanny was the older sister of fellow composer Felix Mendelssohn. She is finally starting to get the recognition she deserves as a monumental composer of over 400 pieces, particularly for voice and piano, matching the genius of her more famous brother.

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Summer Music Update

In celebration of the 4th of July weekend, enjoy again this clip of St. Michael’s Music Director/Organist Hannah Brewer playing an arrangement of the classic patriotic tunes “O beautiful for spacious skies” and “America,” recorded last year. This coming Sunday, July 4, at the 9:00 am service, we’ll sing the moving Finlandia hymn This is my song for our national holiday, which calls for unity, peace and an appreciation for all nations: “My country’s skies are bluer than the ocean, and sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine./ But other lands have sunlight too, and clover, and skies are ev’rywhere as blue as mine.”

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Music for the Juneteenth Holiday

The prelude and postlude for Sunday, June 20, are offered in celebration of the Juneteenth holiday. The prelude, which you can hear a creative arrangement of here, is by Florence Price (1887-1953), the first African-American woman to be recognized as a symphonic composer. She was a pianist, organist and teacher as well. Trained in the European tradition, her compositional style nevertheless reflects her Southern roots.

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Year-End Music

Our wonderful Choristers sang the virtual choir anthem last Sunday to officially wrap up the 2020-2021 choir season. Watch their “Alleluia Canon” again, with Brian Fairbanks on flute, on our YouTube channel, STMAA Connection.

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Sunday’s Music

Music for last Sunday, the Sunday after the Ascension, included organ repertoire from two of the most significant, beloved—and contrasting—composers for organ: Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) and Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992).

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Music Updates

Sunday’s prelude, anthem and postlude were all composed by 19th- and 20th-century English women. Elizabeth Poston’s Jesus Christ, the apple tree is a classic anthem, often heard in December as a Christmas carol but especially relevant in highlighting Sunday’s gospel on bearing fruit.

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Updates from the Music Director

The service on Sunday, April 18, featured the gem of an anthem, Rise up, my love, my fair one, with text from the Song of Solomon and images of springtime from around the Pacific Northwest. You can view any/all of our choral anthems from 2021 at this playlist. Thank you to our professional singers for providing the anthem every week!

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