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July 9, 2017: "How good it is to sing praises to our God" (Psalm 147:1)
This week we launch All Souls’ 5th Annual Festival of Music. Each Sunday through the rest of the month will include a Choral Mass at 11 a.m., garden reception at 6 p.m., and undercroft concert at 7 p.m. (There will also be a special choral prelude before each 11 a.m. Mass, so plan to be in your pew about 15 minutes early.) Our festival has become a hallmark of the year, as our increased musical offerings serve as a beacon for those seeking a deeper connection with the Holy through music...

by Dr. R. Benjamin Hutchens, II, Director of Music

This week we launch All Souls’ 5th Annual Festival of Music.  Each Sunday through the rest of the month will include a Choral Mass at 11 a.m., garden reception at 6 p.m., and undercroft concert at 7 p.m.  (There will also be a special choral prelude before each 11 a.m. Mass, so plan to be in your pew about 15 minutes early.) Our festival has become a hallmark of the year, as our increased musical offerings serve as a beacon for those seeking a deeper connection with the Holy through music.  

This year, the festival features music by American composers.  As Episcopalians worshiping in a "high church" style, it is all too easy to draw exclusively from music produced in England and continental Europe.  While I count many of those among my favorite composers, I find it incumbent to support and feature music by American composers as well.  

Daniel Gawthrop, the composer featured this Sunday, is a long-time friend of mine. His Mass setting was commissioned in 2007 by me.  Dan and I worked to create a robust setting that could be used in both Episcopal and Lutheran churches.  Dan often partners with his wife, Jane, who is a poet.  The marriage of music and text they create is nothing short of divine.  

At All Souls, the presider and people sing the components of the Mass every week at our 11 a.m. celebration. Most of the year we use congregational musical settings and our choir leads the people's sung offerings of praise and thanksgiving. During the music festival and on other celebratory occasions we sing more complex settings of the Mass that were written for the choir to sing alone, on behalf of (not in place of) the people. These occasions offer the congregation the opportunity to hear and interact with the prayers of the Mass differently than usual, opening new pathways to "worship in the beauty of holiness."  (Psalm 96:9) 

The festival choir is comprised of the All Souls Choir and many other singers from the community.  For the full schedule, visit www.allsoulsdc.org/music.  This festival would not be moving forward without the support of some generous donors.  Many, many thanks to those who have already contributed.  If you have time, talent, or treasure to contribute to our festival or other musical offerings throughout the year, please be in touch with me at music@allsoulsdc.org.  

It is my hope that the music we offer in our Mass creates a new and significant connection to the Holy.  What an honor it is to serve as your Director of Music and to partner with Fr. Jadon and the choir to create meaningful services of worship and praise.                                                                                   

Last Published: July 19, 2017 8:35 AM
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