February is also known as “Black History Month”, and Trinity’s musicians will present music to recognize the contributions of American composers of color to the world of sacred music. The organ preludes and postludes for February will include music by Undine Smith Moore (1904-1989; Professor of Music at Virginia State University); Mark Fax (1911-1974; Professor of Music at Howard University); George Theophilus Walker (b. 1922; Pulitzer Prize-winning composer); and Nkeiru Okoye (b. 1975, composer of the opera Harriet Tubman).
The Trinity Ringers will share Carl Wiltse’s setting of the spiritual My Lord! What a Morning, which proclaims that Jesus will return “to wake the nations underground” (i.e., the dead) as the ultimate victory over the grave (Acts 1:1-11). “My Lord! what a morning when the stars begin to fall. You’ll hear the trumpet sound to wake the nations underground. Look into my God’s right hand when the stars begin to fall.” The Memorial Ringers will play Diane McAninch’s arrangement of the spiritual There Is a Balm in Gilead. Although its lyrics describe the New Testament’s concept of salvation through Jesus Christ, its title comes from the Hebrew Bible, where the prophet Jeremiah seeks a spiritual medicine that would heal Israel: “Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wounds of my [God’s] people?” (Jeremiah 8:22). The refrain can be found in one of John Newton’s 1779 Olney hymns: “There is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole; there’s power enough in heaven to cure a sin-sick soul.”
The Chancel Choir will sing Jack Schrader’s arrangement of Thomas A. Dorsey’s gospel hymn Precious Lord, which he composed in 1932 under the saddest of circumstances; he was on a business trip when he heard that his wife and infant son had died, and he later said that composing this song helped him to come to terms with his grief. Now included in most hymnals, it is also known to have been the favorite hymn of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Love is an interesting thing, isn’t it? If I asked who you loved I bet you could rattle off a list of individuals. I love my parents, spouse, children, siblings, friends, co-workers, family members; the list goes on and on. But if I asked you how to love, the response may not be as easy. This year the Children’s Choir is searching for an answer to that question by exploring Mark 12:30-31 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second most important commandment is this: ‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment more important than these two.” By examining this verse we will learn how to love God with our whole self, how to interact with the people around us, and what it means to love ourselves.
As a choir, the way we express our love to God is through the worshipful act of singing. We begin each Wednesday night with the same song: “I love you LORD and I lift my voice to worship you. Oh, my soul rejoice! Take joy, my King, in what you hear. May it be a sweet, sweet sound in your ear.” These words help to center our hearts on God as we begin each rehearsal. They also reminds us that our purpose is not performance. Our purpose is to use our voice to worship the LORD. By doing this, music becomes one way that we express our love for God.