Music during Epiphany

Did you know…?

Each season of the church year, we change the musical settings, such as the Gloria/Song of Praise/Kyrie, Sanctus, Fraction Anthem, etc. These are the musical parts of the service that remain constant during an entire season, unlike the hymns, choir anthem and keyboard voluntaries that change from week to week. During Advent at the 11:00 am service, for instance, we sang a Russian Orthodox setting to reflect the meditative, anticipatory nature of the season.

During Epiphany at the 11:00 am service, starting this Sunday, in an effort to highlight more diverse voices, your music team has selected musical settings from Africa or by peoples of African descent. The Kyrie (in the place of a song of praise) and the Sanctus are from the Freedom Mass by Betty Carr Pulkingham and are based on traditional African melodies. As described in Wonder, Love, and Praise, a supplement to The Hymnal 1982 and our source for these selections, Pulkingham cites “apartheid experiences which moved her to try to bring something of the intense South African spirituality to the worship of North America.”

Our other selections for the 11:00 am service include a gospel acclamation from South Africa, arranged by Gobingca Mxadana, and two selections by Carl Haywood, a leading African American Episcopal church musician. He is a top musical contributor to both Wonder, Love, and Praise and Lift Every Voice and Sing II: An African American Hymnal, both of which we use extensively here at St. Michael’s, especially at the less traditional 11:00 am service. We hope, in particular, you will enjoy learning his setting of the Lord’s Prayer from his Mass for Grace.

The 9:00 am service during Epiphany, meanwhile, will feature a mass setting by the popular British composer John Rutter which you will recognize from past years. Try both services this season to experience different flavors of our Episcopal practice.