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Welcome Jeffrey

posted Mar 3, 2013, 5:47 PM by Todd Randolph   [ updated Mar 5, 2013, 11:05 AM by in apropos ]
Dear people of Grace Church,
I began as your Interim Organist and Choir Director during mid-February.  Some of you may remember that I served here as Interim the year before Linda Clark began her ministry at Grace Church.  It's a pleasure to return, and I look forward to leading your musical prayers and praises over the coming months.  I'll be posting a brief biography and photo on the parish web site soon, but for now I want to say that in this space each week I hope to provide information about music we will be either singing or hearing during the service. 
Here's a short bit about music you'll be hearing from the choir on Sunday, March 3.  The Offertory Anthem is from Felix Mendelssohn's well-known oratorio Elijah. "Lord bow thine ear" is from the beginning of the work, and it sets the stage for all the action to come in the story of Elijah. While the text is not from scripture, it reflects a Lenten theme of asking God for help. The beautiful melodic lines sung by two soprano soloists are undergirded by unison pleas from the women and men of the chorus.  At the Communion, the motet is William Byrd's "Look, down, O Lord," a wonderful polyphonic motet set for two upper voices of equal range, tenors, and basses. The text is from "Lamentations of a Sorrowful Soul" by Elizabethan poet William Leighton.  Byrd was one of the favored musicians in Queen Elizabeth I's court, so much so that he was allowed to remain a practicing Roman Catholic and to compose music for both the Anglican and Roman rites. Notice how the opening phrase, sung by the tenors, employs direct "text painting" of the opening line, with its octave downward leap.

Jeffrey Mills