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Monday, February 2, 2015

Two concerts, two set lists

We had a good week last week. Terry and I did a concert at the motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet on Saturday evening, the 24th, with the choir and instruments of St. Margaret of Scotland, a program that is directed by Peter Hesed, who belongs to the Composers' Forum as I do. He asked me to arrange a themed concert, keeping in mind the issues in St. Louis that are summarized by the events surrounding Ferguson, MO, over the last several months. We called the concert "A Better Empire, A Better God," and I tried to arrange the songs in a way that moved us toward a vision of the choices we are called to make by Christ when we turn to follow the Way.

Sr. Sharon DC and Sr. Carlene DC at the concert
Just the rehearsal with Peter's musicians, singing and playing through some of the pieces, was enough to put a week-long smile on my face, but the concert itself was one of the best I've ever been a part of. Terry flew in Saturday morning and, after spending a brunch time with her mom and sister, came to Minnesota Avenue and we prepared for the evening's festivities. Many of our local friends came out, including Dennis and Terry Wells from St Vincent de Paul, and my classmate and friend Fr Ed Murphy, CM, the pastor of that parish. I was also bowled over that two Daughters of Charity who taught me 50 years ago in grammar school came to the concert, looking as bright and cheerful as ever. Other sisters I had known in college at Perryville were there, or sent greetings via their friends.

So here is the setlist from that concert. I toyed with the idea of making it its own blogpost, but for now anyway, these are the songs we used:

  • Live the Promise (Stony Landscapes)
  • How Long? (Psalm 13, excerpt) (unpublished-see YouTube clip above)
  • Apocalypse (Keep Awake)
  • Too Many Walls (Family Resemblance)
  • Gospel Plow (Hold On) (unpublished arrangement)
  • Turn Around (To You Who Bow)
  • Canticle of the Turning (Safety Harbor)
  • Let Us Go to the Altar of God (Christ the Icon) (see YouTube clip below)
  • Be Perfect (Christ the Icon)
  • Change Our Hearts (Change Our Hearts)
  • Trumpet in the Morning (This Very Morning)
  • Christ the Icon (Christ the Icon)
  • God Is Love (To You Who Bow)
  • Yours Today (Change Our Hearts)
  • Heart of a Shepherd (Today)
  • Jerusalem, My Destiny (Safety Harbor)

with S. Miriam Therese Winter, MMS
The week of January 26 was spent at the Composers' Forum, which I wrote about in detail last year. This year, our featured speaker was the wonderful Sr. Miriam Therese Winter of the Medical Mission Sisters, who told us about her vocational journey as a window into her soul and her inclusive vision of a God who transcends our names and is calling the world to reimagine its categories and allegiances outside of enlightenment and purely scientific/factual interpretations of reality. While her new vision of myth-making from the world of quantum physics was fascinating and empowering, it was really being in the presence of a woman who, in contexts as wildly diverse as Ivy League academia and the refugee camps of Cambodia and Laos, has lived a Christian and musical vocation at the margins of the church and yet who exudes acceptance, healing, and inclusion that was most captivating to me. From learning from, and using at liturgy, her earliest experiments in folk music like "Joy Is Like the Rain," to delighting in the insights of the book drawn from her dissertation, Why Sing?, to this encounter with her over meals, conferences, worship, and wine, the week was an opportunity for me, for all of us, to sit and the feet of one of the Great Ones of our era. Like all the "great ones" of the Christian movement, she is, and has always been, a servant.

We did our usual other business, trying to set a direction for the group and come to some consensus on a way forward in our mission and membership, but the other major project of the week was our second annual concert, which benefits both ourselves and, just as important, the work of the Sisters of Mercy who run the Mercy Center in Ladue, where we have held our meetings since they started about 17 years ago. Tom Kendzia directed the concert again, which this year featured the music of women composers while still allowing for the rest of us to present our work as well. Amazingly, we presented over 35 pieces in about 150 minutes, including an intermission. People cooperated in trimming arrangements down to under about 2.5 minutes per song, which made the concert possible.

This is the set list from the concert. All the songs featured in some way the composer, either playing or singing or both, with the rest of us contributing choral parts. The "house band" included a number of different keyboard players including Christian Cosas, Scott Soper, Lourdes Montgomery, Jaime Cortez, Tom Kendzia, Marcy Weckler Barr, and me, with Jaime and Gary Daigle on guitar, Michael Montgomery on bass, and Jaime and Gary adding percussion. David Brinker was there, too, adding his flute wizardry alongside CF member Mark Mellis. Roc O'Connor played guitar on the SLJ songs.

First set

Winter Magnificat (text by Miriam Therese Winter, tune Morning Song, arr. Rory Cooney) (GIA)
Let Your Servant Go in Peace, by Christian Cosas (WLP)
Though in the Form of God, by Tony Barr (OCP)
Love One Another, Feargal King (WLP)
Nosotros Somos Su Pueblo, Jaime Cortez (OCP)

Gather at the Cross, by Orin Johnson (WLP)
I Know That My Redeemer Lives, by Scott Soper (OCP)
As A Deer Longs, by Rino Angelini (WLP)
Your Song of Love, by Bob Fabing (OCP)

In the Day of the Lord, by M.D. Ridge (OCP)
Servant Song, by S. Donna Marie McCargill, OSM (OCP)
The Least of These, by Janèt Sullivan Whitaker (OCP)

Lord, Send Out Your Spirit, by Marcy Weckler Barr (WLP)
Who Is the Alien, by Lori True (GIA)
Blessed Be the Name of the Lord, by Lourdes Montgomery (OCP)

Victory Song, by Breda Barry King (WLP)
Eso Me Basta/All That I Need, by Damaris Thillet (WLP)
Peace, by Kathleen Demny (WLP)

Brille Tu Luz/Shine, Light of Christ, by Estela García-López and Rodolfo López (OCP)
Deep Peace, by Barbara Bridge (OCP)
The Lord Is My Light/El Señor Es Mi Luz, by Carol Browning (GIA)

Lament, by Miriam Therese Winter, MMS (Medical Mission Sisters)

Earthen Vessels/ Dwelling Place / Jesus, the Lord/ One Bread, One Body, by John Foley SJ and Roc O'Connor SJ (OCP)
Seek the Lord, Roc O'Connor, SJ (OCP)


Second Set

We Praise You, by Gary Daigle, Darryl Ducote, and Michael Balhoff (Damean Music, GIA)
Go Out to the World, by Mark Mellis (Phoenix Liturgical Art Center)
Great Things, Small Things by Peter Hesed (WLP)
Your Gentle Touch, by Paul Inwood (GIA)
Stand by Me, by Tom Kendzia (OCP)
Hail Mary, Gentle Woman and Women of the Church, by Carey Landry (OCP)
We Are Called, by David Haas (OCP)
Canticle of the Sun, by Marty Haugen (GIA)
The Beautiful Mother and All Shall Be Well, by John Foley, SJ (OCP)
Christ, Be Our Light, by Bernadette Farrell (OCP); Sing a New Church, text by S. Dolores Dufner OSB, NETTLETON; I Am the Bread of Life, S. Suzanne Toolan, SM, arr. Rory Cooney (GIA)

Jerusalem, My Destiny, by Rory Cooney (GIA)

Such a joy and privilege to serve with all of these wonderful people, and count them among my friends. I hope you are able to savor at least the little peek into such a musical week among a few of the folks who write the songs we sing at worship every Sunday.

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