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Music Notes from Denise, February 17, 2024

This Sunday will be the first Sunday of the Lenten season and we are bringing back a new Kyrie that will be sung over the next 6 Sundays. It was arranged by Ruth Elaine Schram and is set to the familiar tune, Going Home, based on the second movement of Antonin Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9, his “New World Symphony”. You will have the opportunity to sing the words, “Lord, have mercy; Christ, have mercy” in the original Greek text: Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison pronounced “Kee-ree-eh Eh-lay-ee-zone, Krees-teh Eh-lay-ee-zone”. (1998 Alfred Publishing Co.)


Our Gospel reading for this day is about Jesus fasting in the wilderness and being tempted. St. Martin’s Choir will sing a lovely arrangement of Lord, who throughout these forty days arranged by Mark Schweizer. The tune the choir will sing is the familiar Morning Song hymn tune. The accompaniment is an arrangement after Gabriel Faure’s Pavane, Op. 50.  Composed in 1887, the graceful Pavane was originally a piano piece, based on a traditional Spanish court dance but is often heard played by orchestras. ( The text for this arrangement is the same as our Recessional hymn that we will sing at the end of the service to the tune St. Flavian. The words were written by a British writer, Claudia Frances Hernaman (1838-1898), who composed more than 150 hymns, a great proportion of which were for children. (2015 St. James Music Press)


During Communion, we will sing a new composition for our fraction anthem. During Lent, we always sing an Agnus Dei, or Lamb of God after the bread is broken. This year we will sing one written by Susan Calvin Fletcher from the supplement, Enriching Our Music 1, Canticles and Settings for the Eucharist. Fletcher is retired from her job as Music Director and Organist for St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Huntsville Alabama. (2003 Church Publishing, Inc.)


For our Communion hymn, we will sing It is well with my soul by Horatio Spafford. This hymn has an inspirational story behind it. “Horatio Spafford was a successful lawyer in Chicago who had invested heavily in real estate along the shores of Lake Michigan. Horatio was a prosperous man, a devoted husband and father, and a devout Christian. But in 1870, a series of events began to turn his life inside out. Horatio and Anna’s only son, Horatio Jr., died of Scarlet Fever at the tender age of four. The following year, while still mourning the loss of their son, every single one of Horatio’s investments were lost in the Great Chicago fire. A few years later, Horatio decided to take the family on a holiday to England where they would accompany his friend, the famous evangelist D. L. Moody, on his next crusade. Shortly before they were to set sail, a last minute business development threatened to derail the trip. Horatio persuaded his wife to go ahead saying he would follow along shortly. In November 1873, Anna and the girls boarded the French ship, Ville du Havre. Four days into their trans-Atlantic journey, Horatio received the devastating news that the Ville du Havre had collided with the Lock Earn, an iron-hulled vessel. The Ville du Havre sunk in 12 minutes taking with her the lives of 226 of her passengers. Several days later when the survivors had reached Cardiff, Wales, Spafford received a brief, six word telegram from his wife: Saved alone. What shall I do? As soon as possible, Horatio boarded a ship to join his grieving wife. En route to England, the captain called him to the bridge and said “a careful reckoning has been made, and I believe we are now passing the very area where the Ville du Havre sunk.” According to Bertha Spafford Vester, a daughter born after the tragedy, her father wrote “It Is Well With My Soul” while on this journey. When peace, like a river, attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll; Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul. It’s incredible to think such encouraging and uplifting words were born from the depths of such unimaginable sorrow.” Philip Bliss’s hymn tune that has been written to go with these words has been titled: Ville du Havre.  (


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