". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

"No Tramp" Past and Present

I find it interesting to compare last year's Palm Sunday singing of this hymn with this year's. There are things I appreciate about both. Last year's version includes Phillip singing the verse (John 12:23) as a lead-in. I love that, not just because of my husband's beautiful singing, but because of the chill-inducing drama of moving from the quiet observance that "The hour has come" to the ominous opening notes of the hymn. Those notes text-paint the marching not of soldiers in a celebratory parade, announcing the arrival of the king, but instead that of guards escorting a condemned prisoner to his death.

Palm Sunday Verse/Hymn of the Day from Cheryl on Vimeo.

This year's version includes not just Phillip's organ setting (sounding even more powerful than before) but a new choir stanza he recently composed. Listen halfway through the stanza as the choir represents the cacophonous mocking and jeering of the crowd.

"No Tramp of Soldiers' Marching Feet" (Lutheran Service Book 444) from Cheryl on Vimeo.

This is a new hymn for Trinity. The choir sang the first stanza in unison to model the melody. You may notice that our new church has projection screens mounted in the front of the church (as well as at the rear). This post is not about that topic, but I would like to note that while I can at times appreciate certain benefits of the screens, overall I think they are a detriment to robust congregational singing, as well as to the learning of new songs. Phillip has a rule for his younger choirs: unless they know the hymn tune so well that they can sing it perfectly while looking only at the words, they must sing out of their hymnals. Unfortunately he can't make a similar rule for the congregation. ;-) But even people who don't read music can benefit from seeing the layout of the notes on a page and observing which notes are long, which are short, which ones go up, and which ones go down!

I was very proud of our choir Sunday. There is always a lot for both musicians and director to learn in the first year of working together, but I think this choir and their cantor are making some beautiful music together. I can't wait for the rest of this week!

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