Dear St. Paul’s community,
As I’ve been thinking about this incredible season and how to encapsulate the purpose of our music-making, my mind quickly centered on the text of a hymn we know well: Joyful, joyful, we adore thee (#376). The first verse, in case you need a refresher as I did, is as follows:
Joyful, joyful, we adore thee, God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flowers before thee, praising thee, their sun above.
If you had to give a single word (or two) to describe this season, what would it be? Joy? Light? Resurrection? Fire? Warmth? Redemption?
The beauty of Easter and Pentecost is all of these words and more, and it is with these words in mind that I choose music for these seasons. You might notice that the Gloria and the Sanctus we sing sound especially royal, upbeat, and, well – joyous! The other music this season — choral anthems, preludes and postludes, and hymns — are meant to be jubilant as well, and you might hear instrumental arrangements of familiar Easter hymn tunes as you exit the sanctuary, or our lovely choir singing anthems of rejoicing.
What does this mean for us as a congregation? How can we make the most of the music this season?
I would encourage you to sing out as much as you can, from wherever you are, and as often as possible! If you are attending a St. Paul’s service online and you recognize the tune we’re singing, join in and hum or sing the verses you know. If you’re in the pews and our seasonal Fraction Anthem is one you have never heard before, try to sing along a bit more each time you hear it. If you’re worried about being ‘incorrect,’ know that God doesn’t care about wrong notes! Our goal as a musical congregation is to fully know and embody the final line of Joyful, joyful, which can be found below, from the African-American Heritage Hymnal:
Joyful music leads us sunward in the triumph song of life.
Let us take these words with us this season, and sing out praises to our God with gladness!