This Sunday we observe MLK Day through a couple of musical choices at our morning choral services. Our offertory choir anthem is a soulful spiritual arrangement of City Called Heaven by African-American composer and conductor Josephine Poelinitz, who taught in the Chicago Public School system for many years. City Called Heaven is a “sorrow song” incorporating the “surge-singing” gospel style, complete with an expressive solo from one of our wonderful staff singers. The organ postlude, as well, is a setting of a Bluegrass religious folksong called Lord, build me a cabin in glory land by Uzee Brown Jr., another African-American singer, composer, and educator who specializes in Spirituals.
Our communion anthem, meanwhile, is based on the gospel text of the day (Behold the Lamb of God) and is an excerpt from George Frideric Handel’s popular Messiah oratorio.