Friday, September 26, 2008

Patronal Festival
Our Patronal Festival was more significant than usual this year, because it was also our 30th Anniversary as a parish. (Not that this is such a milestone -one of my local colleagues has been a minister for 35 years...two of my parishioners have been married for 60 years- nevertheless, for us, it was significant.) We conducted our celebration in two installments: a Cookout & Musical Soiree (midweek), and then a Choral Holy Communion Service & Potluck Luncheon (on Sunday, August 24, Saint Bartholomew's Day).

The midweek Cookout & Musical Soiree was a mix of rain and sunshine (we are in the Puget Sound region, afterall). At least we had an outdoor Pavilion. The kids enjoyed jumping around in the Bouncy Castle, also sheltered by its own roof. Drew & Deirdre provided a Rib Roast, hot dogs & burgers, and other people brought salads and beverages. A birthday cake was provided for "Bob, Drew & Saint Bartholomew" (3 birthdays happened that week!) My neighbor's organic farm provided some extraordinarily vibrant Gladiolas. Bob & Diane put out a colorful array of balloons and table decorations. After dinner, some of the musical talent of our parish was featured: Claire (flute), Ruby (cello) and Josephine (piano). We are blessed!

The Choral Service on Saint Bartholomew's Day featured some of the new repertoire learned by our Choir at Choir Camp this year (see next post, below): The Service was Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena, and the Introit was O Praise God in His Holiness (Psalm 150) set by C. V. Stanford. It's so great to have such a good group of choir kids and acolytes at our parish, who are both willing and gifted, and who are backed up by good parents. As for the potluck after the Service: it was, well, normal (which for us means, bountiful and delicious)!

All in all, a wonderful week for Saint Bartholomew's Anglican Church, Woodinville, WA!
Choir Camp

This year Josephine and I offered our annual 3-day Choir Camp, August 12-14. That happened to be over my birthday, and it was a fine birthday gift: what better way to spend this time than with bright and talented young choristers!

Anyway, the mainstay of Choir Camp is, of course, the Repertoire. And, the mainstay of our Repertoire this year was the Communion Service in D by Healy Willan. The name Willan gave to this Service was Missa de Sancta Maria Magdalena, named thus for the Toronto parish where he served as organist for many years. This Communion Service is found in The Hymnal, 1940, where it is called the SECOND COMMUNION SERVICE (the first being that of Merbecke). Many Anglican parishes already know how to sing the Willan Service, but for some reason (the changes and chances of this mortal life), our parish here had never heard of it. So that is the reason I started introducing it by way of the Choir. By the way, this means that our congregation now has 3 possible Communion Services in its repertoire: Merbecke, Willan AND Sowerby (Sowerby=FIFTH COMMUNION SERVICE, in back of The Hymnal - gorgeous!)

Some Other Repertoire from Choir Camp: "Hail, Gladdening Light", one of our great English translations of the ancient hymn of the evening Phos hilaron set to irregular Anglican Chant by Sir John Stainer; "O Praise God in His Holiness" (Psalm 150), music by the Irishman, Charles Villiers Stanford; also by C. V. Stanford, a setting of "St. Patrick's Breastplate"; and "O Taste and See" a lovely communion Anthem by R. Vaughn Williams. Each day we sang Matins and Evensong, using Chant settings of the Canticles from The Hymnal, 1940. For a change of pace we previewed a couple of carols for Christmas (just a bit early perhaps? a bit of Christmas in August?)

The Choir got to perform some of these works on our Patronal Festival, St. Bartholomew's Day, August 24th, which this year conveniently fell on a Sunday.
Another treat this year, a first, was visits from 3 instrumental players to demonstrate their instruments. We had a cellist (who is also our very talented Head Chorister), Classical Guitarist, and Flautist. It's interesting to see how some conceptual (and even technical) issues relate from instrumental playing to singing.