Bach in Kona

I'm in Kona this weekend for this concert.

I’m in Kona this weekend for this concert.

I’m soon to get on the plane to Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii, almost 170 miles away from Honolulu, to perform with the Kona Choral Society on their annual Handel Messiah concert, Sunday, December 4th at the Sheraton Kona Resort. This will be my fourth year performing with this group

On the first half of the program is the Bach Magnificat in D, a piece I have played at least half a dozen times. You may remember the very first time played the organ continuo part was in college and I’ll never forget the conductor, whose gestures looked more like he was a pitcher at a baseball game, especially for the cutoffs!

Another memorable performance was in 1983 when a December 1982 performance had to be postponed till the following spring. That was because I was pregnant at the time and my baby, instead of coming on Dec.31st, decided to make an appearance in mid- November instead. So in the ensuing spring, I was nursing during the Magnificat week and that fact appeared in the newspaper gossip column along with publicity for the concert.

This time, there are no baseball pitch cutoffs and no baby to nurse, so I’m off to Kona with just my concert clothes and my organ shoes.

Posted in Choral Music, J. S. Bach, Katherine Crosier | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Flabbergasted!

1430221Flabbergasted! Okay, even though I know what it means, it’s not a word that I use in ordinary conversation. The term originated in 1772, and was mentioned (with bored) in a magazine article as a new vogue word, likely an arbitrary formation from flabby or flapper and aghast.

Dictionary.com defines the word flabbergasted as an adjective, “to overcome with surprise and bewilderment; astound.” Synonyms for the verb “flabbergasted” include amaze, astonish, stagger, nonplus, confound; perplex, confuse, mystify.

Here are some sentences which use the word: The burglar was flabbergasted when he broke into the house and found himself surrounded by police officers. When the man received a ten thousand dollar cellphone bill, he was flabbergasted. Gina was flabbergasted when the doctor told her she was expecting quadruplets.

mini-cat-in-hatI somehow recall reading the word in a Dr. Seuss book (It was decades ago that I read Dr. Seuss books to my son!) but now of course, I have been looking and looking and can’t find it. If any of you can give me the name of the book, I would be most appreciative!

And why am I flabbergasted? It’s because I asked Bill Potter, the financial secretary of the Lutheran Church of Honolulu, how much money came in as donations for my recent Clavierübung concert on October 30. You may recall that I advertised the concert as a “free concert,” with “donations welcomed.” I figured that people might be more inclined to give to the Carl Crosier Memorial Fund, the beneficiary of the concert, if there was not a set dollar amount. Yes, rather than selling tickets, I thought we might even come out ahead if we let people give of their own free will. You might recall that in the advance publicity we “suggested” a donation of $25, but in the actual program, no dollar amount was specified. The fund is in essence a Music Endowment, to fund special musical outreach projects, in memory of the church’s long-time director of music.

So how much came in? More than $4600— with possibly more yet to be counted!

I’m flabbergasted! Thank you all!

Posted in Carl Crosier, J. S. Bach, Katherine Crosier | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Already a star!

Here’s a live Facebook video of Stanford’s Magnificat.

Sophia Stark

Sophia Stark

I wasn’t even looking over in the direction of the choir, but as soon as she opened her mouth, I knew that voice. It was Sophia Stark, super-talented daughter of Georgine and Darel Stark, themselves super-talented parents! The piece was Charles Villiers Stanford’s Magnificat, and it was performed at Advent Procession after the Gospel of the Annunciation last Sunday night at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe this is the first time Sophia has sung a solo with the adult choir.

But it’s not only her singing talent that Sophia is cultivating—she’s also taking lessons in piano, violin, ballet and even organ! Yes, Sophia has been taking lessons with me for just about a year and is making remarkable progress. She and brother Raphael, also taking organ lessons and himself a rising star, fight over organ practice. Mother Georgine says, “I can’t get them off the bench!” “It’s so powerful and has so many sounds!” Sophia says.

Sophia is also interested in cooking and art, and is completely self-taught. She has won various local and national art contests and won last year’s Hawaii Food and Wine Festival’s Keiki in the Kitchen Healthy Lunchtime Challenge. Here’s a video of Chef Sophia:

Sophia has done print work for Disney Aulani and is shown playing the violin in this Jamba Juice commercial with surfer Bethany Hamilton.

And if you can believe this, Sophia will be a soloist for five Christmas Eve services at the First Presbyterian Church in Kaneohe.

The whole Stark family will be performing holiday concerts for various senior residences in Oahu. Georgine writes that it’s been a family tradition for a number of years now.

Watch for more exciting news about Sophia in 2018!

 

Posted in Katherine Crosier | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Who is this?

At last night’s Advent Procession at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu, certainly one of the most haunting selections was the anthem “Who is this?” by John Ferguson, which featured the “a cappella” choir with Anna Womack on viola. It begins with the viola playing “O sacred head now wounded.” The piece then alternates between the viola and the choir, with the choir singing a beautiful text by Sylvia Dunstan that continues to ask, “Who is this who walks among us?” It ends with a quote from the chant, “Adoro te, devote” (Humbly we adore thee).

The text reads:

Who is this? Who is this who walks among us? Who speaks such words? Is it Moses, or Elijah, or some prophet of the Lord? Can we name this suff’ring servant? Can we name the promised sun? Can we name the heir of David? Jesus, hidden, holy one. You are Christ, from God eternal! Living God from human womb, our deliv’rer and redeemer, known by cross and empty tomb.

Who is this? Hidden, holy one. Holy one.

John Ferguson

John Ferguson

John Ferguson (b. 1941, not 1978 as listed in last night’s program!) has for many years been associated with St. Olaf College, in Northfield, MN. “Before his career at St. Olaf College, he obtained degrees from Oberlin College, Kent State University and the Eastman School of Music; held a faculty position at Kent State; and served as music director and organist at Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. While at St. Olaf College, Ferguson was Professor of Organ and Church Music, conducted the St. Olaf Cantorei, and served as Cantor to the Student Congregation. During his tenure, the organ department at St. Olaf College defied national trends by growing in enrollment and quality.” While he officially retired in 2012, “he continues to serve as Musical Advisor for Sing For Joy, providing guidance regarding musical selections and new recordings, and serving as ambassador of the program to audiences and congregations nationwide,” according to the Sing for Joy website, a production of St. Olaf.

In yesterday’s post, I wrote that the service had the fingerprints of Carl Crosier all over it, and even the piece “Who is this.” The anthem won the Fourth Biennial ALCM Raabe Prize (2005) of the Association of Lutheran Church Musicians, which is awarded every two years for a single musical work, that reflects a larger history of excellence on the part of the composer. Guess who was on the national committee that chose this anthem for the prize that year? Yup, Carl Crosier, who immediately purchased it for the LCH library after its publication. The anthem is part of a series for choir and viola by John Ferguson.

People were surprised to see me at church last night, but it is because the last few years I have been on the Big Island playing for the Kona Choral Society’s performance of Handel’s Messiah. This year, their performance does not coincide with Advent Procession, so now you know where I’ll be next weekend!

In the meantime, guess what I did on the day after Thanksgiving!

img_5049

Presto, change-o! My Christmas table.

img_5050
 

Posted in Carl Crosier, Choral Music, Katherine Crosier | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shades of Carl

O Antiphon music and bulletin

O Antiphon music and bulletin

I’ve just returned home from attending the 42nd Annual Advent Procession at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu, and a number of people came up to me to say that they had remembrances of Carl Crosier tonight. It was not only in the choice of music—I believe there was only one piece which director Scott Fikse programmed which we had not done previously during Carl’s time (1972-2011) as Cantor. I have written several posts about the “O” Antiphon service which you can review here:

The “O” Antiphons (December 3, 2012)
The Great “O” Antiphons (November 23, 2010)
Hallock’s music for Advent (November 18, 2011)

As I said in the last post, it just wouldn’t be Advent without the music of Hallock! Tonight’s service was based on Peter Hallock’s “The ‘O’ Antiphons,” which uses the organ and handbells to accompany the antiphons. The closing recessional was Carl’s setting of Veni veni Emmanuel for choir, congregation, organ and handbells—his music lives on!

The program attributed the tradition of Advent Procession at LCH to Carl Crosier in 1975, but it was because of our friendship and collaboration with Peter Hallock of St. Mark’s Cathedral Seattle, that the O Antiphons came to be a part of the Lutheran Church of Honolulu.

Here are Peter Hallock’s liner notes of the CD produced by Loft Recordings of the “Great ‘O’ Antiphons” as recorded at St. Mark’s Cathedral Seattle:

screen-shot-2016-11-27-at-10-14-20-pm

Available from Loft Recordings. (Click picture to go to their website)

For more than fifty years, special evening celebrations on the First Sunday of Advent have been important events in the liturgical life of St. Mark’s Cathedral, Seattle. The format of these services has followed the tried and true formula of readings from scripture with a variety of musical responses: processionals, psalms, carols, anthems and hymns.

That such a reasonable format should eventually suggest other possibilities did not arise until the use of that format (i.e. Lessons and Carols à la King’s College, Cambridge) seemed, not only in its redundancy, but also in its singular association with Christmas, to confuse and negate the distinctions appropriate to these important celebrations of Advent. Thus the question, “what to do?”

Thanks to an opportunity for creative dialogue with Dr. William Bertolas, at that time a member of the Compline Choir, we investigated the potential that seemed inherent in the Gregorian Chant settings of the Great “O” Antiphons, which have languished for too long on the dusty back shelves of liturgical disuse. While Christians of numerous denominations have for many years been singing the “O” Antiphons in the form of the hymn O come, O come, Emmanuel it seemed likely that this practice in itself had not really brought to life the vibrant images of Christ drawn form the Old Testament: Wisdom, Adonai, Root of Jesse, Key of David, Rising Dawn, King of Nations, and Emmanuel. Thus to celebrate the beginning for the Advent seasons with a liturgy in which the power of these images might be more vividly displayed and discovered anew became our goal.

The shape of the liturgy is quite simple: banners displaying the symbols of each antiphon are brought from the rear of the church, one at a time, as each antiphon is sung. After each banner is placed in the chancel a reading from scripture, a musical response (congregational hymn, carol or motet) and a prayer are offered. As a final musical response the hymn Veni, veni Emmanuel is sung with all of the banners carried in a grand exit procession.

The "O" Antiphon banners at LCH.

The “O” Antiphon banners at LCH.

Involved in the preparation of the first “O” Antiphon liturgy at St. Mark’s were the following: the officiant, thurifer, seven readers, the Cathedral Choir, the Compline Choir, the organist, seven acolytes to carry banners, seven torchbearers to precede each banner in the procession. Various choir members and friends made the banners and the wooden stands that held the banners in the chancel. The generous hands on help of two members of the Altar Guild were of invaluable assistance in dealing with candles and innumerable back-stage details essential to successful execution of such and elaborate liturgy.

Few liturgies offer the opportunity for such wide and diverse participation of the laity, both in preparation and execution. It is from this standpoint that I feel those who prepare and offer this liturgy will find their greatest rewards and satisfaction.

Our first visit was to Diamond Head Memorial Park to visit Carl's grave.

Our first visit was to Diamond Head Memorial Park to visit Carl’s grave.

This of course was Thanksgiving weekend, and it was my daughter-in-law Jessica’s first visit to Hawaii. In addition to hosting Thanksgiving dinner and cooking the turkey, my son Stephen and I played tour guide in the last three days. As you can see by the photo on the left, our first visit was to Diamond Head Memorial Park to see Carl’s grave.

Our Thanksgiving dinner was a feast in the Crosier tradition—all because we heard a lecture by Jeff Smith (The Frugal Gourmet) at a conference of the Association of Anglican Musicians in 1992. I’ll never forget Smith’s statement that Americans have forgotten how to feast, and held up a TV dinner tray as an example. Ever since, the Crosier and the Frank Haas families (plus friends) have celebrated each of the holidays with a veritable 6-hour feast, beginning with many pupus, soup, salad, main course and side dishes, and dessert, with each family contributing several dishes. As I posted on Facebook, there was a special person missing from this year’s gathering, but somehow, we carry on.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Posted in Carl Crosier, Choral Music, Katherine Crosier, Peter Hallock | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Pre-Thanksgiving madness

img_4950It’s only two days before Thanksgiving and I had a busy weekend, attending the chamber music concert with Linda Laderach, Larry Schipull and Grant Moss last Saturday at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu and Sunday’s Hawai’i Symphony Concert with violin soloist Augustin Hadelich and guest conductor Marcelo Lehninger.

Grant, Linda, Larry and Scott Fikse.

(L-R) Grant, Linda, Larry and Scott Fikse.

Both concerts were excellent; the chamber concert featured music written for other instruments and transcribed for violin and organ or piano, including a four-hand organ version of Mozart’s Fantasia in F minor. As I wrote in a previous post, I met Larry and Grant on the historic pipe organ tour to Lorraine, France early in September and had heard them both play the organ. But I was pleasantly surprised to hear that both were equally capable on the piano! In fact, I learned that Larry did a double major of piano and organ in college. As for the Mozart, I of course play the single-player version and can’t imagine having to share the bench with someone else. You see, organists like to sit in the same place on the bench so that they can play the pedals without looking! So to be off to the side must present some unusual challenges.

Last night I invited the three to dinner at Little Village Restaurant (just two blocks away) and then we came back to my condo so that Grant and Larry could try out the Baby Organ, which they did and seemed to enjoy very much!

Larry tries out the baby organ.

Larry tries out the baby organ.

Now it's Grant's turn.

Now it’s Grant’s turn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our attempt at a group selfie!

Our attempt at a group selfie!

Whenever I am around organists, it seems that there is never a lull in the conversation—seems like we have so much to talk about! I was happy to learn that both Grant and Larry were classmates of Jonathan Dimmock at Yale, with whom I stayed last weekend when I was in San Francisco! And they reminded me that my former student, Joey Fala, was their houseguest just a few weeks ago when he was in the finals for the Albert Schweitzer organ competition.

This morning at the Aeolian-Skinner organ at St. Andrew's Cathedral.

This morning at the Aeolian-Skinner organ at St. Andrew’s Cathedral.

This morning I found myself back at the console of the Aeolian-Skinner organ at St. Andrew’s Cathedral, playing for the Thanksgiving chapel for the St. Andrew’s Schools. I told Naomi Castro, their choir director, that I thought some of this music I’d never play again, since I no longer had a regular church job. But since I am an “interim” fill-in on a long-time basis, I’m having to play church music repertoire again. Today I played Bach’s “Nun danket alle Gott” (Now thank we all our God) for the prelude, in addition to five hymns including alternative harmonizations on the last verses of Nun danket alle Gott, Lobe den Herrn, and Hymn to Joy. It was a full-blown Eucharist, including the Proulx Sanctus. I also played “Schmücke dich, o liebe Seele” during communion, and a quick postlude by Hermann Schroeder before running off to teach a lesson. This afternoon I’ll have the first rehearsal with the Iolani Chorus for their Christmas concert.

Tomorrow I’ll play for chapel at Punahou School (I DO get around!) and tomorrow night my son and daughter-in-law arrive for Thanksgiving!

My Thanksgiving table.

My Thanksgiving table.

 

Posted in Katherine Crosier | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Music Transformed and Transforming

Linda Laderach and Larry Schipull

Linda Laderach and Larry Schipull

A news release from the Lutheran Church of Honolulu reads:

Panufnik, Beach, Mozart, Rachmaninoff, Bach, Barber, and Piazzolla, oh my!!
A fabulous trio of musicians comes to Honolulu while on a nation-wide tour. Music Transformed and Transforming is a program of music for piano, organ, and violin in different combinations performed by visiting professors Linda Laderach and Larry Schipull (Mount Holyoke College), and Grant Moss (Smith College). All three of these dynamic performers have concertized across the United States, Europe and Asia. The concert features the premiere of several stunning new arrangements for four hand piano and violin as well as some of your favorite violin melodies.

I took a photo of Larry Schipull at the Église Saint Calixte in Pontpierre.

I took a photo of Larry Schipull at the Église Saint Calixte in Pontpierre.

I actually found out about this concert in September while on my recent tour of historic pipe organs in France—that’s when I met Larry Schipull and Grant Moss who were also on the same tour! Larry Schipull is the one who first told me that they were coming to Hawaii in November; you can read his complete bio here, but what I found interesting was this:

Before Schipull’s appointment as Mount Holyoke College organist and associate professor, he was on the faculty of the University of Hong Kong, where he was active as a recitalist and accompanist, with solo appearances in the Hong Kong Arts Festival and the City Hall Silver Jubilee celebrations.

Grant Moss

Grant Moss

Grant Moss teaches at Smith College, and you can find his complete bio here. He has a doctorate from Yale which means he is familiar with the Woolsey Hall organ I wrote about in yesterday’s post.

You can find Linda Laderach’s complete bio here, and what I found impressive is that she “combines a performing career on both Baroque and modern violin with her teaching career at Mount Holyoke.” She and Larry have worked on an interactive CD-ROM program on historically informed performance.

Grant and Larry are at the far end of the table at our farewell dinner in Épinal, France.

Grant and Larry are at the far end of the table at our farewell dinner in Épinal, France.

Yesterday, my former student Joey Fala texted me that he saw on Facebook that Larry Schipull was in Hawaii, and was surprised to learn that I had met him on my France trip. But what was even more “WOW!” for me was that Joey was Larry’s houseguest for a week only a few weeks ago! Another item for the “It’s a small world” department!

The free concert will be held tomorrow, Saturday, November 19 at 7:00 pm.

Posted in Katherine Crosier | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Winter clothes at the organ!

The Woolsey Hall Organ, Yale University

The Woolsey Hall Organ, Yale University

Winter at the organ!

Look at what Joey is wearing!

I had heard people on the mainland talk about it on Facebook, but it was not until today that I received my November issue of The Diapason, (An international monthly magazine devoted to the organ, the harpsichord, carillon and church music), and this month’s issue focused on the Woolsey Hall organ at Yale University. And there on page 27, was the photo which caught my attention. It was my former student, Joey Fala! whose picture has appeared in so many national organ magazines that I’ve lost count!

What caught my eye, however, was what Joey was wearing—a jacket with a fur lining! And look at the color of his hands! They’re red— probably from the cold! I had a feeling this photo was taken in the winter, but it also made me wonder whether they turn on the heat at Yale!

You see, when I remember Joey, I think of him in Hawaii, wearing shorts and rubber slippers—not winter clothes! Come to think of it, when I was in New Haven in February of this year, it was pretty cold in those practice rooms in the basement of Woolsey Hall. You might also remember that my flight back to Hawaii was cancelled because of a snowstorm, and I had to delay my return by a couple of days.

I just booked my flight to New Haven for Joey’s final graduate recital on Sunday, February 5th, 2017, and by george, it’s again in the dead of winter. This year I’ll be stopping first in Bloomington, IN to take in the Handel opera, Rodelinda, and will stay with Dana Marsh, director of the Historical Performance Institute at the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University. It’s likely that it will be pretty cold in Indiana at that time, too! For someone who lives in Hawaii, both destinations will seem like the North Pole!

Facebook users may be interested in seeing this video from Joey’s half-recital on November 16, 2016.

I returned home from Berkeley, CA on Monday afternoon, and Tuesday morning, I was again back at St. Andrew’s Cathedral playing the organ for the St. Andrews’ Schools weekly chapel service. It never fails, whenever I go to the Cathedral for the occasion of the Priory chapel, I always think of Carl Crosier. You see, he was not only the chief financial officer of the school, he was the “Master of the Acolytes” at weekly chapel service. The opening hymn was “Hyfrydol,” the third verse of which I always use his harmonization, which I did! Carl lives on through his music!

Tuesday afternoon found me back at Iolani School where I was called to play a funeral for a current Iolani parent. And next week I will play the first rehearsal for the Iolani Chorus’ Christmas concert, which I will be playing on December 16.

Guess I’m not completely retired after all!

 

Posted in Carl Crosier, Katherine Crosier | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Totally at home

St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Flentrop organ, 1971

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Flentrop organ, 1971

Totally at home. That’s how I felt last night sitting at the fabulous Flentrop organ at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Berkeley. In fact, I told George Emblom, the church’s music director, that I felt like I had more and better practice than I did at home—no interruptions, not having to stop to give a lesson, etc. In spite of not having electric stop action and having to pull all of the stops by hand, I had no trouble moving from piece to piece because the stop knobs came out so easily and effortlessly. And the sound of the organ was so delicious!

A nice crowd for Bach!

A nice crowd for Bach!

I took the BART to St. Mark’s for the 10:00 am Eucharist since I didn’t want to get up so early to go with George since he also plays a 7:30 am service at a Catholic Church before going to St. Mark’s. After the service I went to coffee hour where they had substantial food, including sandwiches and pastries. Then I was invited to go to the Newcomers Brunch where they had even more food: several varieties of quiche, salad, brownies and pumpkin-cranberry cake. Apparently I picked the right Sunday to visit! The Newcomers Brunch is offered to people who are new to St. Mark’s who are interested in getting more involved with the parish’s programs and activities. It is a wonderful way to meet people as well as a way to find out more about the church.

Afterwards I went to the organ and it only took me less than 15 minutes to play the first section of each piece before moving on to the next. And that was all I needed. I spent the next 4-1/2 hours just chilling out in the church library, studying my score away from the keyboard and relaxing. A couple of times George reminded me that the organ was free for me to use, but I told him that I was fine.

Evensong

Evensong

And so it was that I became completely relaxed while listening to the men’s Schola sing Evensong. When I sat down to play my program, I was able to be super focused and listen to every note, a mantra I repeated to myself throughout.

The music never went better, and I was tremendously relieved!

Did you know that this was the first time ever that I have been invited to play a concert outside of Hawaii? I am so sorry I didn’t record it but I simply didn’t have room in my backpack for my recorder, small that it is. Oh well, I will just have to come back again!

Afterwards the church put on a fabulous reception with veggies, cheese tray, meatballs, chicken wings, pizza and many desserts. So many people came up to me to thank me for making the organ come alive.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Rick Cicinelli and Joe Hansen after the concert

Rick Cicinelli and Joe Hansen after the concert

One person told me that they had never heard the Flentrop sound like that! (Aw, shucks!) Someone else told me I not only showed all the colors of the organ but that my program showed off the varieties of Bach’s composition and his genius. Another told me they were aware of every single note I played, beautifully shaped and “sung.” (That’s what we call articulation.)

One man talked to me extensively and later wrote on Facebook: Let me gush. The recital: I felt like I opened a closet door and found something that I had always owned and realized it was the only thing that really mattered. When I talked with her afterward I realized the diamond I thought was there was one of the best cut and among the highest number karat that I’ve heard. I was awed…so special, so brilliant. My buddy, Michael Hiller is as always the model of a priest and what he had to say made my hope for the next day impossibly brighter. (L.D.B.)

Other comments: Yes, yes, it was a wonderful concert!!! I agree with Lewis (above) in that Fr. Hiller’s sermon was also wonderful. So glad I was able to be there. (M. S.)

In response to my post about Bach’s music being a means to healing, this comment was written: And your recital accomplished all that. Thank you, Kathy! (M.H.)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

By the way, I learned that the interim rector, The Rev. Michael Hiller referenced above, is a classmate of Paul Lillie, rector of St. Mark’s Honolulu (himself an organist and a member of the Hawaii Chapter AGO! Plus: a faithful reader of this blog—Hi, Paul!)

When we got back to George and Jonathan’s beautiful home, Jonathan had a delicious salmon and fresh vegetable dinner waiting. How wonderful these last few days have been, playing this fantastic organ and spending time with good friends!

Mission accomplished.

 

Posted in J. S. Bach, Katherine Crosier | Tagged , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Bach for healing

My recital is tonight at St. Mark’s at 6:10 pm, following Evensong.

What a difference a couple of weeks makes! Two weeks ago I played the large settings of Bach’s Clavierübung as a glorious celebration of Martin Luther, the Lutheran chorale, and the Reformation.

Today America has changed, and the mood is somber and angry—our future is uncertain following last week’s election. Yet I will play many of these same settings as a means of healing  and comfort. Same music—but the context has changed. What flexibility! Isn’t the music of Bach amazing in its ability to be comforting as well as joyous?

In fact there is an article in Pyschology Today called “Healing through Bach,” in which the author wrote at the time of the Boston Marathon bombing: During this time of uncertainty, pain and reflection, I’m reminded of the power of music to help describe how we feel when words fail. Yesterday I taught a freshmen class of string players. As the class was to take place at the same time as the memorial service, it felt somehow disrespectful to hold the class as usual. It occurred to me that we as a class needed to be together, and that we had the power of music to fall back on. 

The most appropriate thing I could suggest was to have any of the students who felt comfortable to play J.S. Bach. Why Bach?  Whereas so much music reflects its time, Bach feels that though it’s always existed and always will. I listen to the fugues, and marvel at their craft. I listen to the cantatas and understand how religion can be so meaningful to millions. I listen to the d minor Chaconne and wonder if anything could sound so important. And so today, or any time you are faced with uncertainty, I invite you to listen the work of J.S. Bach and be thankful.

Today the organ recital will follow 5:30 pm Evensong as it has happened every Second Sundays at St. Mark’s Berkeley for the last 30 years. The list of recitalists and dates they have played is posted on the wall in the room behind the organ. What a list! And so many familiar names in the organ world—many of whom have also played recitals in Hawaii: David Higgs (George Emblom’s predecessor who started the series), David Dahl, Jonathan Dimmock, Robert Poovey, Bruce Neswick, Rodney Gehrke, Joseph Adam, Avi Stein and John Renke!

Tonight I will begin with a plea for mercy: the three settings of the Kyrie (Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy), then move to Allein Gott (Glory be to God on high), then the Creed (We believe in one true God). Then there will be the Lord’s Prayer, and a hymn for baptism, ending with the powerful Aus tiefer Not (Out of the depths have I called unto Thee), a profound cry for help and justice.

If I can touch one person with this prayerful music, then my job will be done.

Posted in Carl Crosier, J. S. Bach, Katherine Crosier | Tagged , , | 4 Comments