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Reflections from the Gloria Dei Choir

In celebration of Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord, the Gloria Dei Choir sings Martin Shaw’s “With a Voice of Singing.” In addition to composing and conducting, Shaw (1875-1958) was an opera impresario who helped revive interest in the stage works of Henry Purcell. Shaw is remembered today for his contributions to the Oxford Book of Carols (1928) and his popularization of the Gaelic folk tune Bunessan, to which he set the poem “Morning Has Broken.” “With a Voice of Singing” is the best known of his choral works, which also include the oratorio The Redeemer (1945) and the cantata God’s Grandeur. Incidentally, his nephew was actor Sebastian Shaw, who played the unmasked Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi.

During Communion, the choir sings Jan Sanborn’s “Christ is Risen.” Sanborn is a staff accompanist at Cal State Northridge and organist at Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena. She has also accompanied the Roger Wagner Chorale on several tours to Asia. Jan has published numerous choral anthems and a collection of solo songs for worship. Jan has accompanied several of my voice students and has also served as a substitute rehearsal pianist under my direction. She is an accomplished musician with a remarkably broad knowledge of vocal and choral repertoire and it is a pleasure to include her anthem in today’s celebration.  

As postlude to today’s celebration of worship, the choir sings the celebrated chorus “Hallelujah” from Handel’s 1741 oratorio Messiah. Legend has it that at the London premiere of the work in 1743, King George II stood during the performance of this chorus, which would have obliged everyone present to stand as well. The tradition remains to this day, so you are kindly requested to stand during the singing of “Hallelujah.”

 

On behalf of the Gloria Dei Choir, please accept our best wishes for a joyous Easter!

—Dr. Kevin St. Clair,  Director

Gloria Dei Choir

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