If you’d like to know how Trinity’s music ensembles will celebrate the season of hope-filled Epiphany, here are some musical offerings we will share at this month’s Sunday services.
February 3: In the Sweet By and By was composed in 1868 by Joseph Webster; it has been sung by artists as diverse as Louis Armstrong, Willie Nelson and Anonymous 4. The Chancel Choir will present it in a 1993 choral arrangement by Howard Helvey. In honor of Black History Month, instrumental music will include Nkeiru Okoye’s 2006 Dusk and Mark Fax’s 1963 Fanfare in E Minor. Dr. Okoye’s music has been performed on four continents, and she currently teaches at Hofstra University; Mark Fax was Professor of Composition at Howard University and organist at Washington DC’s Asbury United Methodist Church for many years.
February 10: In Christ Alone was written in 2001 by the popular Christian hymn-writing team of Keith Getty and Stuart Townend and was the first of their many successful collaborations. Instrumental music will include Charles Callahan’s 1993 setting of the spiritual Steal Away; its original lyrics featured a coded double text for African-American slaves seeking their freedom, openly expressing a desire to ‘steal away’ and be with Jesus in eternity while secretly advertising a forbidden religious meeting.
February 17: The Chancel Choir will sing an English setting of Psalm 98 (Cantate Domino) by African-American organ virtuoso and composer David Hurd, who taught organ for 28 years at General Theological Seminary and is currently Director of Music at New York City’s Church of Saint Mary the Virgin. The Trinity Ringers will present the stately Theme from Brahms’ Haydn Variations.
February 24: O Jesus, I Have Promised matches Timothy Shaw’s 2015 soaring melody to an 1868 text by John Bode: “O Jesus, I have promised to serve you to the end; be now and always near me, my master and my friend.” Instrumental music will include Charles Callahan’s version of In Christ There Is No East or West (see #548 in our Hymnal); the tune was composed in 1939 by Henry T. Burleigh, a distinguished African-American singer who is credited with giving Antonín Dvořák several themes for the latter’s New World Symphony.