STJ#1001, Breaths

You could call this one “How Is This My Life?” or maybe “God Bless the Revolution.”… and you’d certainly use the hashtag #MyUnion. But I think we’ll call this one “Our Rock Stars Are Not Your Rock Stars.” Now the rock star in question is not composer Ysaye Barnwell, although she is a rock star, …

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STLT#408, Wonder of Wonders

Last night, friend and colleague Peggy Clarke told me this practice is “a source of insight.” Which is funny to me this morning, as I have absolutely nothing interesting to say about today’s hymn. No insight. No brilliant analysis. Not even a good joke… dang. Anyway, this hymn. It’s a decent Brian Wren lyric, set …

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STLT#386, Alleluia Chaconne

Next on the Countdown, it’s the original one hit wonder. (I’m apparently channeling the late Casey Kasem right now… a throwback to my misspent youth.) While a working organist, composer, and teacher most of his life, German musician Johann Pachelbel produced more than 200 pieces throughout his lifetime, earning himself a place as one of the …

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STLT#339, Knowledge, They Say

If you’re looking for music to accompany a service about anti-intellectualism and fake news, this is your hymn. Heck, even if you’re just looking for music to accompany a service about James Luther Adams’ five smooth stones, or William Ellery Channing’s Baltimore sermon, or our fourth principle, this is your hymn. Knowledge, they say drives …

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STLT#334, When Shall We Learn

One of the cool things about this particular hymnal is that the commission had some remarkable 20th century poetry set to music, like this poem, “Canzone” by WH Auden. The downside, of course, is that most of those poems – including “Canzone” – are far longer and intricate than we have breath for in a …

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STLT#60, In Time of Silver Rain

Some might say this is unsingable. It’s a complex, twentieth-century modern, sometimes atonal piece of music, and to the average congregant trying to sing for the first time, makes no sense and might make people run out the doors, never to come back. That’s because this isn’t a song for congregational singing. You see, what …

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STLT#24, Far Rolling Voices

Far rolling voices of the sea chant loud upon the shore. They tell the ancient mystery of God forever more. Newborn, the sun in glory rides across the heav’nly fields. The starry host in silence bides and to the morning yields. White seabirds wheel against the sky, companioned with the dawn. God, lift our winging …

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STLT#13, Songs of Spirit

Songs of spirit, like a prayer breathing in the ambient air; singing in the morning light, in the radiance of the day, in the twilight shadows gray, in the brooding hush of night; dark or light, or storm, or fair — singing, singing everywhere. In the burgeoning of spring, in the summer’s scented bloom, in …

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