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.” Bob Spiers will be our guest organist today.

Looking farther ahead, the St. Michael’s music staff has a busy summer planned. Choir Director Brian Fairbanks is currently taking classes in arts management to expand his expertise. Choir Librarian Amy Valentine has been working on multiple construction projects, including redoing the upstairs bathroom at St. Michael’s along with Cliff Fairley, another of our loyal choir members.

Beyond reorganizing organ sheet music, filing and cleaning the music office and choir room for the new season, taking a continuing-education class on music pedagogy, and scheduling and recording new music and soloists for the summer, Hannah Brewer is planning and rehearsing an organ recital tentatively scheduled for Sunday afternoon, August 29, right here at St. Michael’s! The program will consist mainly of 19th-century French organ works, many of which are either too long for church services or not liturgically based. Composers such as César Franck, Maurice Duruflé, Louis Vierne, and Felix Mendelssohn will all be heard along with some lesser-known surprises. If all continues to go well with pandemic recovery, the organ recital will be open to the public (with limitations depending on the current caseload) as well as livestreamed for those at home. More info will be forthcoming…

We say a sad farewell this summer to St. Michael’s Singers’ bass section leader Alex Adams, who has been with us for the past four years and who is moving to the Seattle area. We wish him well on his musical endeavors and will sorely miss his expressive Broadway Night performances. Check out his solo in our last big virtual choir anthem, Ev’ry time I feel the spirit.

It has been a difficult fifteen months for choirs around the world as gatherings and singing have been largely limited because of COVID-19. Many choirs are having to debate decisions like requiring that every member is vaccinated in order to sing. Is it exclusionary or protective of the vulnerable? What about masks? Are they here to stay while singing?

As we continue to regather as a shared community, think about what music has meant to you over the course of the pandemic. Have you been inspired to see the creative ways choirs and musicians have continued to make music? Has it saddened you to be reminded of the separation we all endured? What have you missed? What have you come to appreciate even more about music and music-making because of the pandemic?
Remember, if you or your child has an itch to sing more (and be trained for free to develop your voice as a choral singer), please reach out to Hannah to find out about or join one of our choirs. We also welcome instrumentalists of any age who wish to offer a musical interlude at one of our services this summer. Get in touch!

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