Today, November 1st, is All Saints Day, but at LCH we will move the feast to Sunday, November 6th, making it All Saints Sunday. Last week, Miguel Felipe and I did a switcheroo for the 8 am service. When I would have normally played the Hymn Mass for Reformation, Miguel played piano for the Alleluia Mass. This Sunday I will play the Hymn Mass while Miguel is away on the mainland. Allen Bauchle, newly-retired assistant choirmaster, will be conducting the choir at the 10:30 service.
Of course, since All Saints is always on the first Sunday of November, I don’t usually play at 8 am, so I had to pick some suitable organ music for this “informal” service. (We don’t use the terms “contemporary” or “traditional” to characterize the musical styles of our two morning services. Instead we call the two services “informal” or “formal.”) I decided to play “The Saints’ Delight,” “Children of the Heavenly Father,” and “Antioch,” all pieces by the American composer, Dale Wood (1934-2003). According to a website set up in his memory, “Dale Wood was known throughout the musical community as a master of melody, and ‘the difficult art of simplicity.’ His music is eminently listenable, and is a lot more difficult to play than it sounds!
When we had a regional convention of the American Guild of Organists (AGO) here in Honolulu in 1997, we commissioned Dale Wood to write a hymntune for us. The year before, I met him in person at the National Convention of the AGO in New York City and he autographed several copies of his music which I purchased.
For the 10:30 service, I will play Cortège et Litanie by Marcel Dupré as the prelude. It is a piece which I first learned as a 14-year-old (!) then studied it with Dupré himself in Paris. He helped me to change some of the big chords to fit my small hand. In fact, Dupré himself altered some of the wide chords because at that time in his life, his hands were severely gnarled with arthritis. He could barely reach an octave then.
For the communion, I’ll play “Vor deinen Thron,” by Bach, and legend has it that he dictated the piece to his son-in-law while on his deathbed. I’ll write more about that piece in another post.
My organ student, Christopher L. will play the postlude, J. S. Bach’s Toccata in D minor “Dorian,” BWV 538. I myself learned this piece when I was a freshman in college, and I can say that Christopher plays it better than I ever did — and he’s only in seventh grade!
Last year, Pastor Jeff Lilley was gone at All Saints and my colleague from Iolani, the Rev. Diane Martinson-Koyama, led the service in his absence. As is our custom at LCH, we light candles for the people who have gone before us, and this year, I will be lighting a candle for my mother, who died June 29th. I’ll never forget what Diane said in her sermon last year — that someday someone will light a candle in YOUR memory.