We decided to attend the Palm Sunday service at St. James Episcopal Church (also called “Saint James’ in the City”) on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles and not to our surprise, the service began outdoors in the school courtyard next door. Luckily, the weather was absolutely beautiful, cool and crisp. After the opening lesson and blessing of the palms, we were led by a Korean drum ensemble down the street to the church.
As the procession entered the church, the drumming became absolutely deafening, but exhilarating at the same time. This certainly was a Palm Sunday procession like no other I’ve ever attended!
St. James is located in the Korea town part of Los Angeles, but is definitely a multi-ethnic congregation. The building is filled with many stained glass windows and the organ was built by Murray M. Harris, considered the “Father of Organ building in the West.” Click here to read about this instrument, played beautifully by organist-choirmaster James Buonemani. The excellent choir sang the plainsong propers exquisitely, in addition to two familiar motets: Vinea electa mea by Francis Poulenc (1899-1963) and Crucifixus by Antonio Lotti (1667-1740), both staples in the LCH choral repertoire. I was surprised, though, to hear the Lotti accompanied on organ.
My photo of last year’s Palm Sunday procession at LCH was published in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser over the weekend, so I’ll reprint it here for those of you who missed it. They gave me a photo credit and I’m more pleased over that than having my name in the paper for my music!