Monthly archives "September 2014"

TAO November 2014

We live in a kaleidoscope of color this time of year. Even as we revel in the glorious golds, reds and oranges of autumn, time is pushing us to look ahead toward the reds and greens of the Christmas season. It’s coming fast! As reluctant as I am to live in the future, forward planning really does reduce the stress these seasons place upon me. Do you have a planning system? Follow the links below to download some planning resources that have kept me afloat regardless of what else has been going on around me.

Let’s join in celebrating our beloved colleague, Wilbur Held, upon his 100th birthday. Dr. Held always kept us “weekend musickers” in mind in his many collections of chorale preludes. The Wilbur Held Organ Collection: A Centenary Collection (MorningStar Music 10-932) is an anthology containing many of his charming works, including many for Christmas.

James Biery has been very busy this year, offering us two new volumes to explore. James has the gift of creative writing that makes every setting distinct from each other. First is Journey to the Manger: Hymn Preludes for Advent and Christmas (Concordia 977663) He has included several Advent hymns, including a sumptuous “Helmsley,” along with many Christmas tunes.  His “Go, Tell It on the Mountain,” in a cool jazz style will speak to your entire congregation; and his “Let Our Gladness Banish Sadness” is an up-on-your-toes Baroque dance. Biery also has a gift for finding holes in the repertory. The second volume, Nowell, Nowell: Six Carol Settings (MorningStar Music 10-173), is filled with wonderful arrangements, including a trilling “Carol of the Birds,” two contrasting Basque carols, “Now the Holly Bears a Berry,” and “Sing Lullaby,” along with British fare, “The Cherry Tree Carol,” and “Masters of This Hall.”

Wayne Wold has also written two volumes for the Christmas season that you might have missed. God with Us: Six Organ Preludes for the Incarnation (Augsburg/Fortress ED003912) and Light on Your Feet, Vol. 3 (Augsburg/Fortress ED014542) are filled with the good things we want to bring the good people who worship with us. I am impressed with his ability to bring the same solid, engaging writing to these works as he does in the many full-footed works he has written.

Edwin T. Childs covers a wide range of traditions in his For Manuals Only: Advent and Christmas (Augsburg/Fortress ED005094). While there are several thoughtful arrangements of everyone’s favorites, he also offers “Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning,” the Chinese, “Huan-sha-xi” (Midnight Stars Make the Night Sky),” Israeli “The King of Glory,” Spanish “Vamos Pastores,” and Korean “Ososo” (Come, Now, O Prince of Peace). This is your one-stop shop for Christmas music from around the world!

There is one more little gem that has been sitting on the back of my music shelf for several years. This year it is time to dust off James Woodman’s first volume of Six Partitas (Thorpe Music 493-00054, available from Theodore Presser). There is one for each season, Advent-“Veni, Emmanuel;” Christmas—“Lo, How a Rose;” Epiphany—“Wie Schon Leuchtet,” and these miniature masterpieces will lead you to his other volume for the Lent/Easter season.

Well, it’s not quite Christmas yet, so plan ahead, but make some time to reflect.  There are so many thanks-reasons; what are yours? This season, I am thankful for two things: the gift of music and the opportunity to share it with my congregation. They may not let you know it, but they are thankful for you, too. Eat well, practice when you can, enjoy the worship you are leading!

Dr. Christopher Cook is Director of Worship, Music and the Arts at Rancho Bernardo Community Presbyterian Church in San Diego, California. He also maintains an active ministry to church artists of all media, especially adults transferring from piano to organ.