Richard Evans, Organist-8:00am Mass
Thomas R. Granzow, Organist/Choirmaster-10:30am Mass
A Brief Overview of the 2013 Year
For the entire month of February, we observed Black History Month by concentrating both the hymns, as well as any anthems/solos on ethnocentric music meaningful to the community. During Lent this year, several moving anthems and solos were presented.
On Palm Sunday, the venerable anthem The Palms by Gabriel Faure was sung with Richard Blakeney as featured soloist. Monica Perdue presented an extremely moving of Were You There using the beautiful Hairston arrangement of that song. The choir also sang two other anthems that emulated both the joy of Palm Sunday and the anticipated sorrows marking the beginning of Holy Week. The mass ended with the haunting Ah, Holy Jesus by Lani Smith.
At the Easter Day Mass of the Resurrection, the choir provided the congregation with a wide variety of both anthems and solos representing many musical genres from the 18th through 20th centuries. Starting with the Choral Introit of Welcome Happy Morning by Gordon Young, and then following the Gospel with the triumphant Risen Alleluia by Douglas Wagner. Following the sermon, Sarah McIntyre provided a superb rendition of I Know that my Redeemer Liveth (fr The Messiah) by Handel. The choir sang the ordinary of the mass from the Mass in G by Franz Schubert. Soloists during the mass setting were Randolph Johnson, Monica Perdue, Lawrence Sanders, and Elizabeth Smith.
With the return of the choir in October, anthems/solos were presented on a weekly basis that covered many genres. In November, at the Women’s Day celebration, the choir presented Draw Us in the Spirit’s Tether by Harold Friedell as a special Choral Introit. Following the Gospel, the choir with Randolph Johnson as soloist presented a stirring rendition of the favorite spiritual Wade in the Water. The offertory motet was the 20th century composer Jan Bender’s Begone Satan with Richard Blakeney as soloist. With Advent beginning the 1st Sunday of December, the focus of the music became anticipatory of Jesus’ coming to earth for our salvation.
At the Christmas Eve Mass this year, the choir performed anthems that, once again, covered many different musical genre. The Preservice Music again was infused with anthems: Go Tell it on the Mountain arr. by John Carter and How Quietly by Joel Raney with Carolyn Martin-Levystein singing the carol Away in a Manger above the choir. Additionally, Christian Ketter sang Gesu Bambino by Pietro Yon in Italian with additional accompaniment on the violin by Tara Scheckler. Directly preceding the Station at the Creche, the choir sang a gospel anthem by a very talented black composer Victor C. Johnson entitled Run, Run to the Manger with Randolph Johnson and Monica Perdue providing solos. As a highlight, Brittany Lawrence performed a liturgical dance during that anthem. The Choral Introit of Well, the Savior is Born by Glenn Burleigh was sung with many in the congregation joining the singing! Monica Perdue was fabulous as the soloist. Monica also sang an Offertory solo—The Virgin Mary had a Baby Boy by J.B. Hairston that was commissioned by the notable Afro-American opera singer Kathleen Battle. As the sequence anthem, the choir performed Harold Darke’s hauntingly beautiful In the Bleak Midwinter. Following the Gospel, the French carol, He Is Born (arr by Jack Schrader) was sung. After the sermon, Christian Ketter sang, in French, the beloved Cantique de Noel (O Holy Night) by Adolphe Adam. During distribution of the Eucharist, the Ave Maria by Schubert was magnificently sung in German by Christian Ketter with special violin accompaniment by Tara Scheckler.
With the return of the choir for the fall season, we lost 3-paid singers. Sarah McIntyre, who sings around the nation and the globe, resigned after 7-seasons at St. Thomas feeling that she could no longer devote enough time to the choir with her increasingly busy schedule (she will be in China right after Christmas performing with an American orchestra on tour there for several months). Additionally, Mirjana Jovanovic (alto) and Stephen Martone (bass) resigned for personal reasons. Lawrence Sanders was added to the bass section
Our On-Going Mission
"He who sings, prays twice!" St. Augustine
We are a diverse and very enthusiastic group that loves to sing...and with great gusto! Every voice, no matter how big or small, good or less good (there's never a bad voice), is an important contributor to the total sound of our choir! We provide tremendous support for the Sunday Mass in both the music of the Ordinary and for congregational hymnody. Many parts of the Ordinary, as well as parts of the hymns are sung in harmony. In the Eucharist, the Proclamation of the Mystery of Faith is set to the tune We Shall Overcome. We utilize the noted black composer Lena McLin's Agnus Dei (Lamb of God). We perform a wide range of music from the classics to contemporary to traditional gospel. If you enjoy music and singing, please consider becoming a member! All are welcome!
Augmenting our congregational volunteer singers, we are blessed to have some very talented individuals who are paid musicians: Sarah McIntyre-Soprano, Elizabeth Smith-Soprano, Beth Johnson-Alto, Monica Perdue-Alto, Richard Blakeney-Tenor, Randolph Johnson-Tenor, David Banasiak-Bass, and Lawrence Sanders-Bass.
Rehearsals are held on Sunday afternoons following the 10:30am Mass from approximately 12:30-2:00 pm from the second Sunday of October through the end of May. Come and try us out......you'll love it!
Carolyn Martin, PhD
Marguerite Stams, PhD