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O Sing Unto the Lord a New Song: The Bruton Capella, Bruton Parish Church, Williamsburg, Virginia - [OAR-171] $15.98

The Bruton Capella, Rebecca Davy, conductor, JanEl Will, organist, present choral music sung in Bruton Parish Church, Williamsburg, Virginia. Eight anthems and two hymns were commissioned by the church; seven are set to texts written by poet Angier Brock, a Richmond native and Williamsburg-area resident. Most are accompanied by JanEl Will playing the 2019 Dobson organ, op. 98. Some pieces include solo voice, oboe, flute, and handbells.

Works Commissioned by Bruton Parish Church and Parishioners
Philip Stopford: O Sing Unto the Lord a New Song
Will Todd: O God We Praise You
Cecilia McDowall: Advent Moon (Handbells: Angier Brock, M J Freeman, Blair Turrentine, Carolyn Weekley)
Cecilia McDowall: Easter Light
Dan Locklair: Arise in Beauty (Handchimes: Angier Brock, Blair Turrentine, Carolyn Weekley)
Malcolm Archer: Lord, Enthroned in Heavenly Splendor
Michael John Trotta: Source of All Healing
John S. Dixon: Love Divine (Claudia Kessel, alto)
HYMN: Alvez Barkoskie IV: God, We Gather
HYMN: Brenda Portman: Christ! Who Was Before the World Began

Also in the Program:
James Hopkins: Thy Name Is Love (Victoria Hamrick, oboe)
Alice Parker (arr.): Hark, I Hear the Harps Eternal
Fred Gramann: Still, Still with Thee (Tara Davy, soprano  Suzanne Daniel, flute)
John Tavener: The Lamb
Ola Gjeilo: Ubi Caritas II Through Infinite Ages
Elizabeth Poston: Jesus Christ the Apple Tree (Brian Blair, tenor)
Alan Smith: Listen, Sweet Dove (Sarah Taylor, soprano)

O Sing Unto the Lord a New Song The Bruton Cappella
by Rebecca Davy

The Bruton Cappella was born out of the Covid 19 pandemic that brought a temporary halt to our Parish’s vibrant volunteer choir program. We are all grateful to our Bishop and Rector for allowing our section leaders to continue singing for live-­streamed services through the shutdowns, keeping the music ministry alive and well. This talented group of singers forged a remarkably unified and nuanced sound that we wish to celebrate and share via this recording, made just as vaccinations allowed our volunteer singers to return.

Central to the repertory of this recording are ten commissioned anthems, filled out with additional music written by living or recently deceased composers. These selections are in the style of music we regularly sing at Bruton Parish, drawing from the Episcopal Church’s roots in the cathedral music of Great Britain. Although our choirs appropriately sing music from many eras, this CD concentrates on the present, melding together a varied yet cohesive collection of anthems.

Texts of seven of the works are written by poet and Virginia native Angier Brock (b. 1947), who has specialized in hymn and anthem texts during the past two decades or longer. Her work has been sung in churches of various denominations worldwide. An undergraduate of  Mary Baldwin University, she holds graduate degrees in Christian education from Union Presbyterian Seminary and in creative writing (poetry) from Virginia Commonwealth University, both in Richmond. Retired from longer than thirty years of teaching at middle, secondary, and collegiate levels, she lives in Yorktown, Virginia, where she is active at Grace Episcopal Church and is an Education for Ministry mentor. In addition to poetry, she also writes reflective prose. She is a Master Naturalist and enjoys birding on the Yorktown battlefield.

O Sing Unto the Lord a New Song by Philip W. J. Stopford (b. 1977) provides the title for the CD. The work was commissioned in 2019 for one of four musical programs celebrating Bruton’s new pipe organ, built and installed that year by Dobson Pipe Organ Builders Ltd. The full choirs premiered the anthem in a Choral Evensong designed to demonstrate the new organ’s role in accompanying choirs and congregational singing.
Stopford began his musical education as a chorister at Westminster Abbey in London, studying organ, piano and violin. Stopford started composing choral music during his early years as organ scholar at Truro Cathedral and has continued writing primarily for the choirs he directs. His own vocal abilities infuse the music, making it always a joy to sing. It is this feature of his music that led me to commission an anthem from him, resulting in a soaring setting of Psalm 98, which directs us to sing and make music because of all God has done for us.

O sing unto the Lord a new song,
for he hath done marvelous things.
With his own right hand and with his holy arm
hath he gotten himself the victory.
The Lord declared his salvation
his righteousness hath he openly shewed
in the sight of the heathen.
He hath remembered his mercy and truth,
toward the house of Israel,
and all the ends of the world
have seen the salvation of our God.
Shew yourselves joyful unto the Lord all ye lands.
Sing, rejoice and give thanks.
Praise the Lord upon the harp,
sing to the harp with a psalm of thanksgiving.
With trumpets also and shawms,
O shew yourselves joyful,
joyful before the Lord the King.
Let the sea make a noise
and all that therein is,
the round world and they that dwell therein.
Let the floods clap their hands
and let the hills be joyful together before the Lord,
for he is come to judge the earth.
With righteousness shall he judge the world,
and the people, with equity.
        —Psalm 98, paraphrased by P. Stopford

Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo (b. 1978) composed Ubi Caritas II: Through Infinite Ages as a sequel to his earlier successful setting of Ubi Caritas. The initial work was inspired by memories of Gjeilo’s obligatory high school choir class which read through Maurice Duruflé’s iconic setting of the text in his first class. Ubi caritas II, published in 2007, sets the second verse of the original chant text, concluding the initial piece, and can be sung alone or paired together. The textures of this a cappella work is lush and evocative, words commonly used to describe Gjeilo’s music.

Gjeilo has adopted the United States as his home after moving to New York in 2001 to attend the Juilliard School of Music. There, he earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in composition. He still lives and works as a composer and pianist in New York City where he is composer-in-residence and pianist for Distinguished Concerts International New York.

Ubi caritas et amor, Deus ibi est.
Simul quoque cum beatis videamus,
glorianter vultum tuum, Christe Deus:
gaudium quod est immensum, atque probum,
saecula per infinita saeculorum. Amen.

Where charity and love are, God is there.
And may we with the saints also,
see Thy face in glory, O Christ our God:
the joy that is immense and good,
unto the ages through infinite ages. Amen.                —Anonymous, medieval chant

O God We Praise You by British composer Will Todd (b. 1970) was written in memory of William Wirt Brock and William Edward Weekley with the intention of adding an All Saints anthem to the sacred repertory. Angier Brock and especially Carolyn Weekley were the guiding forces behind this and most of our commissions. The idea to commission a piece from Todd began with our choirs’ love of his popular anthem, The Call of Wisdom, coupled with an invitation to host him for a choral workshop during one of his U. S. tours. Members of Christ and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Norfolk, Virginia, and their director Kevin Kwan, joined our choirs at Bruton Parish for an ambitious In Remembrance concert on October 21, 2017. The music selected was all composed by Todd and included the premiere of O God We Praise You. Todd spent the afternoon rehearsing the choirs and adding his finishing touches to the pieces they had prepared with both great musicality and humor.

In addition to being a full-time composer, Todd is a jazz pianist and continues to perform with a jazz trio between engagements as a conductor and workshop leader. Much of his music is known for combining jazz idioms with traditional choral music, and the rhythms of this anthem reflect this seamless fusion.

O God, we praise you for your saints and servants.
Their faith transcends all mortal time and space.
Their witness in the world reveals your glory.
Their wisdom and devotion bear your grace.
May marigolds keep blooming in their gardens.
May places where they prayed abound with prayer.
May stories that they told through songs and letters
help shape our lives and guide our hands to share.
May hope they planted prosper in all people—
the weary poor, the lame, the refugee.
May justice that they fostered serve all nations,
and righteousness set every prisoner free.
May they forget their hurts, their fears, their worries,
their flesh no longer bruised by bombs or stones,
their kindnesses to strangers now our beacons,
the peace they strove for living in our bones.
O God of Love, forgive them and receive them.
O Risen Christ, embrace and make them whole.
O Holy Spirit, grant them joy and laughter,
and breathe, with perfect freedom, in their souls. —Angier Brock

Alan Smith’s Listen, Sweet Dove was published shortly before his death in 2017. Born in 1962, Smith began organ lessons at the age of 10 and attended the Royal School of Church Music as a youth. He earned his bachelor’s degree from King’s College, London, where he served as Organ Scholar. After graduation in 1984, he pursued a teaching career concurrent with positions in church music as organist and music director. His catalog includes more than 150 compositions, most of which are choral or vocal works.

Listen, Sweet Dove sets a poem of Welsh-born author and Anglican priest, George Herbert. The poem is for Whitsunday and is from a 1633 collection entitled The Temple. Smith’s gentle, rocking accompaniment and soaring melodic lines beautifully capture the longing of the soul for God articulated in the text. The opening solo recurs almost strophically, lending a comforting familiarity upon even a single hearing.

Listen, sweet dove, unto my song,
And spread thy golden wings in me;
Hatching my tender heart so long,
Till it get wing, and fly away with thee.
Such glorious gifts thou didst bestow,
The earth did like a heav’n appear,
The stars were coming down to know
if they might mend their wages, and serve here.
The sun, which once did shine alone,
Hung down his head, and wished for night,
When he beheld twelve suns for one
Going about the world, and giving light.
Lord, though we change, thou art the same;
The same sweet God of love and light:
Restore this day, for thy great name,
Unto his ancient and miraculous right.    
        —George Herbert (1593-1633)

Jesus Christ, the Apple Tree is one of some 300 known works by Elizabeth Poston (1905-­1987), but it remains her most purchased and performed work, often included in renditions of the Nine Lessons and Carols service. Poston was a multi-talented composer, writer, and pianist, and her music was much influenced by her interest in collecting folk songs. She shared that interest with other composers of her day, especially Ralph Vaughan Williams, whose friendship in the 1940s helped lead her back to composing after more than a decade pursuing other interests. Poston worked for the BBC from the beginning of World War I, apparently working in part as a secret agent, using gramophones to encode messages for allies.

The text for Jesus Christ, the Apple Tree has disputed authorship and likely was written in the 18th century as it appears in a handful of 18th-c. British publications. The music is set in five strophes with varying textures—from solo to three-part women, SATB and back to solo, which we performed as an optional canon. While other composers have chosen to set this same text, Poston’s iconic version remains at the top and reveals the recurring influence of folk song on her compositional style.

The tree of life my soul hath seen,
Laden with fruit and always green:
The trees of nature fruitless be
Compared with Christ the apple tree.

His beauty doth all things excel:
By faith I know, but ne’er can tell
The glory which I now can see
In Jesus Christ the apple tree.

For happiness I long have sought,
And pleasure dearly I have bought:
I missed of all; but now I see
‘Tis found in Christ the apple tree.

I’m weary with my former toil,
Here I will sit and rest awhile:
Under the shadow I will be,
Of Jesus Christ the apple tree.

This fruit doth make my soul to thrive,
It keeps my dying faith alive;
Which makes my soul in haste to be
With Jesus Christ the apple tree.
         —Uncertain Author

Cecilia McDowall (b. 1951) became a fast friend after she travelled from London to Williamsburg for the premiere of Advent Moon in December of 2013. Interest in her music stemmed from a Bruton performance of her stunning setting of Ave maris stella for choir and orchestra. Angier Brock wrote the evocative poem for Advent Moon; her words and McDowall’s music perfectly capture the magic of winter with waiting, watching for light, and the miracle of Christ’s birth. Published in 2014 by Oxford University Press (OUP), this anthem has been widelyperformed in Great Britain and the U. S. McDowall added an optional handbell part after becoming intrigued by handbells on her visit here, and John Rutter kindly agreed to include them in the recording he made for OUP.

McDowall has been decorated with numerous awards for her choral composition, having received commissions from leading choirs. She was interested in composing and improvising at a young age and studied music at both Edinburgh and London Universities but didn’t begin composing seriously until her two children reached their teenage years. Commissions are now numerous and often come from prestigious choirs. We are honored that she accepted two choral commissions from Bruton Parish and cherish the resulting friendships that have been forged. The music is inscribed, ”for Stuffy, turning 70, and Lida, who would have been 100.”

Let the coming of the One
who arranges Orion and the Pleiades
begin in darkness.
Let the night be cold, with drifts of snow.
Let there be one lily blooming,
and whispered messages,
and kneeling.

The fierce earth spins in expectation
beneath the long night’s moon, Advent moon.
Like the restless fox crossing frosted meadows
or the silvered owl in silent flight,
each of us is hungry.
In rooms of untold longing,
we sing our seasoned carols,
watch, and wait.

Let the coming of the One
who kindles fires of hope,
whose faithfulness runs far beyond our sight,
be like the coming of a child.
Let there be milk, forgiveness, quiet arms.
Come quickly, Love, our dearest deep
and sweetest dawning.
Come, fill us with your light.    Angier Brock

The Lamb
by John Tavener (1944-2003) is perhaps the best known and oft-recorded piece on this CD. Tavener composed it in 1982, and its inclusion in that year’s King’s College broadcast of Nine Lessons and Carols gave it worldwide exposure. Part of the piece’s appeal is its simplicity, which Tavener wrote about in his 2004 description of the work’s inception as a birthday gift for his nephew:

The Lamb
was written twenty-two years ago for my then 3-year old nephew, Simon. It was composed from seven notes in an afternoon. Blake’s child-like vision perhaps explains The Lamb’s great popularity in a world that is starved of this precious and sacred dimension in almost every aspect of life.

Tavener is known for a vast catalog of primarily religious choral music, including his Song of Athene (1993), which closed the funeral service for Diana, Princess of Wales and brought his music international attention. Deeply religious himself, Tavener intended all his music to convey a universal spirituality and quest for God. He was born in London to a religious family that encouraged his musical talent, and while he studied piano extensively, severe stage fright deterred him from performing and he turned his interests instead to composition.

Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?
Gave thee life, and bid thee feed
By the stream and o’er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing, woolly, bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice?
Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?

Little Lamb, I’ll tell thee,
Little Lamb, I’ll tell thee:
He is called by thy name,
For he calls himself a Lamb.
He is meek, and he is mild;
He became a little child.
I, a child, & thou a lamb,
We are called by his name.
Little Lamb, God bless thee!
Little Lamb, God bless thee!    
        —William Blake (1757-1827)

My own journey in the world of commissions began with Arise in Beauty. When then-­chorister and handbell-ringer Carolyn Weekley lost her mother, Catherine Minor Weekley, in 2009 at just short of 90 years old, Carolyn approached me about memorializing her mother in a meaningful, musical way. We talked about commissioning an anthem, and the planted seed grew into a contract for a new work from American composer Dan Locklair (b. 1949). Poetry from noted poet and friend Angier Brock followed, and the first of many future collaborative ventures began. The text is perfect for the celebration of a remarkable life and includes a fun, personal reference to Carolyn, who was affectionately called “Stuffy” by her mother;  thus, “All the great stuff of heaven and earth” contains a dual meaning. Locklair’s setting of the poem is evocative and expressive, marrying text to sound, even painting words like “wind,” “dance,” and “silence” intrinsically and masterfully into the music. Locklair was first an organist, and his immense skill at the instrument is always apparent in his writing for it, as in the exquisite accompaniment of this anthem.

A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, Lock­lair is Professor of Music and Composer-­in-­Residence at Wake Forest University in Winston-­Salem, NC. His compositions are vast and varied and are widely performed.

Gladly each morning I arise in beauty,
in beauty, gladly go about the day
seeking the One who sings to me in secret,
“Come, my love, my fair one, come away.”

Gladly each evening, I lie down in wonder.
Who are we mortals, placed by infinite arts
in a blaze of beauty with the sweetest grace –
Love that seals salvation on our hearts?

All the great stuff of heaven and earth we are –
love and dust, breath and rest – counted as good
with the river, the wren, the lily, the lamb, the star.
Inventing Wind, what a lively dance your energy creates!
O Generous Christ, O Luminous God,
for you alone my soul in silence waits.
        —Angier Brock

James Hopkins (b. 1949) composed Thy Name Is Love for the Church of the Ascension in Sierra Madre, California. Published in 2006, the anthem includes an expressive oboe part and sets Charles Wesley’s text, Come O Thou Traveler Unknown. The vocal melody is based on the traditional Scottish melody, Candler, lending an appealing, folk-like flavor to the anthem. The oboe part weaves between the vocal lines, sometimes as an obbligato addition and sometimes as introduction or answer to the voices.

Hopkins is Professor Emeritus at his alma mater, the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music. Trained as an organist as well as a composer, Hopkins served the First United Methodist Church in Pasadena for 24 years before retiring in 2003. Though I attended USC when he was teaching there, it was through our shared world as organists that I first met and befriended him while living in California. Hopkins has composed in a wide range of genres, and his music continues to be actively performed.

O Jesus Lord, who died for me.
I hear thy whisper in my heart.
The morning breaks, the shadows flee,
pure Universal Love thou art;
to me, to all, thy mercies move
thy nature, and thy name is Love.

My prayer hath power with God;
the grace unspeakable now I receive;
through faith I see thee,
I see thee face to face, and live!
In vain I have not wept and strove
thy nature and thy name is Love.
I know thee, Savior, who thou art,
Jesus, the feeble sinner’s friend;
nor wilt thou with the night depart,
but stay and love me to the end:
thy mercies never shall remove,
thy nature, and thy name is Love.
        —Charles Wesley (1742, alt.)

Easter Light was our second commission from Cecilia McDowall. The restricted space in Bruton Parish’s historic colonial building makes including the typical Easter brass ensemble impractical, and hence much music for the feast day unusable for us. I longed for an Easter anthem that didn’t require such forces and instead grappled with the mystery of the resurrection. The text from Angier Brock led McDowall in the perfect direction. Softly rising melodies, bird calls (specifically the eastern meadowlark) cascading alleluias, and increasing urgency bring us to the garden and Christ’s empty tomb and invite Him into our presence now.

The anthem is inscribed for Jane, Lida, Henry, Lucy and Casey, the grandchildren of author Angier Brock, and the Bruton Choirs premiered the music on March 27, 2016.

In Easter light, the risen Christ is moving among us.
How brightly the meadowlark sings
its song of the season. Alleluia!
How gently the Easter light lifts the face of a lily.     Christ is risen!

Let Christ be rising now in our lives and our prayers
as we open our hands to friend and stranger.
Let Christ be rising now in our words and our work
as we repair the earth and free its creatures from danger.

     Risen Christ of limitless love,
     Risen Christ of compassion and peace,
     Risen Christ of gracious surprising now —

In Easter light, the risen Christ is moving among us.
How brightly the meadowlark sings
    its song of the season. Alleluia!
We too sing in that light with illumined hearts
    and radiant faces.
Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia! Alleluia!

 You move among us in Easter light.
 Risen Christ, be now in us rising.     —Angier Brock

Alice Parker (b. 1925) has been an important trailblazer for women composers in the United States. She began composing at an early age but received recognition after collaborating with Robert Shaw (1916-1999) in arrangements of folk songs, hymns, and spirituals while studying conducting with him at the Juilliard School of Music. Her fascination with the combination of words and music has kept her focus primarily on choral and vocal music throughout her long career as a conductor, teacher, and composer.

Parker arranged the shape-note hymn, Hark, I Hear the Harps Eternal, for The Robert Shaw Chorale during her 20 years as its primary arranger. Despite the sometimes jaunty rhythms of the tune, this hymn is about the approach of death, symbolized as a river and looked upon with both trepidation and joy. Above all else rise the alleluia refrains that provide the primary substance of this compelling anthem.

Hark, I hear the harps eternal
Ringing on the farther shore,
As I near those swollen waters,
With their deep and solemn roar.

    Hallelujah, hallelujah, praise the Lamb,
    Hallelujah, hallelujah, Glory to the great I AM.

And my soul though stained with sorrow,
Fading as the light of day,
Passes swiftly o’er those waters
To the city far away.

    Hallelujah, hallelujah, praise the Lamb,
    Hallelujah, hallelujah, Glory to the great I AM.

Souls have crossed before me, saintly,
To that land of perfect rest;
And I hear them singing faintly
In the mansions of the blest.

    Hallelujah, hallelujah, praise the Lamb,
    Hallelujah, hallelujah, Glory to the great I AM.
         —Anonymous, Traditional American

Still, Still with Thee includes a virtuosic flute obbligato over the organ accompaniment and voices. The composer Fred Gramann (b. 1950) retains the strophic structure of the poem, repeating the melody four times, but otherwise varies the setting. The overall effect of the memorable melody, bird-like flute part, and lush harmonies is appropriately haunting for another anthem about death. This time focusing on the faith that death is but a journey to the presence of God.

Gramann is a native of Washington State, where he began his organ studies with Edward Hansen in Seattle and eventually travelled to Paris to study with famed organists Marie-­Claire Alain and Maurice Duruflé. After earning a master’s degree from the University of Michigan with Marilyn Keiser, he returned to Paris where he accepted a position as music director at the American Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, a church in the Anglican tradition that welcomes international and multi-cultural worshipers. There, Gramann has built an active handbell program and composes music for them and for choirs.

Still, still with thee, when purple morning breaketh,
When the bird waketh, and the shadows flee;
Fairer than morning, lovelier than daylight,
Dawns the sweet consciousness, I am with thee.

Alone with thee, amid the mystic shadows,
The solemn hush of nature newly born;
Alone with thee in breathless adoration,
In the calm dew and freshness of the morn.

Still, still with thee! As to each newborn morning,
A fresh and solemn splendor still is giv’n.
So does this blessed consciousness, awaking,
Breathe each day nearness unto thee and heav’n.

So shall it be at last in that bright morning,
When the soul waketh and life’s shadows flee;
O in that hour, fairer than daylight dawning,
Shall rise the glorious thought, I am with thee.                 —Harriet Beecher Stowe (1812-1896)

The hymns, God, We Gather by Alvez Barkoskie IV (b. 1986) and, Christ! Who Was Before the World Began by Brenda Portman (b. 1980) were born out of Bruton Parish’s 300th anniversary celebrations in 2015. The Parish’s music ministry offered a competition to college students across the nation to write the music to any of three hymn texts Angier Brock wrote for the occasion. Out of many submissions, we chose two as standout offerings that we continue to sing in Sunday worship services. Barkoskie was a student at the University of Oklahoma where he has since received a master’s of music degree. He continues to compose and serves as music director and organist of St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Oklahoma City. Portman was finishing her D. M. A. studies in organ performance at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music at the time of the competition. She has since established a thriving career as a church musician, concert organist, and composer.

God, We Gather
God, we gather as your people
called to holy time and space,
dancing in a sacred story
of deliverance and grace.
Over land and over waters,
far and wide, your name is heard,
carried by your sons and daughters
trusting your life-giving word.

As your creatures blest with mem’ry
we recall salvation’s hymns,
tunes of hope for all the ages,
words of light that never dims:
with her timbrel, Miriam dancing,
David playing on his lyre,
savior Jesus, born of Mary,
worshipped by the angels’ choir.

Yet great fear is all around us.
Greed and rage leave dreadful scars.
Hoarded wealth and unshared power
fashion unjust prison bars.
In a land of milk and honey,
brings us healing, right our wrongs.
Move us with bright notes of promise.
Help us wisely use your songs.     —Angier Brock

Christ! Who Was Before the World Began

Christ who was before the world began,
Christ with God as all things came to be,
Christ in every atom, every span
of love and light across eternity:
You took on our humanity.
You walked the shores of Galilee.
You healed the blind and set the captive free,
and still you walk with us through history.

Christ, we are your people gathered here,
holding earth’s near future in our hands.
Needs are great, but Good News draws us near
with dreams of justice, love’s sweet providence.
Come set our hearts at liberty
and give our faith vitality.
Help us to serve, in peace and confidence,
as faithful stewards of your New Covenant.

Christ the hope of generations past,
Christ as yet our compass, star, and guide,
Christ, who summons us to feast and fast
by which the greatest love is multiplied:
You pour out grace unsparingly.
You ask us to live daringly.
Teach us to answer with a clear “Amen!”
and through your church, may you be glorified.   —Angier Brock

Lord, Enthroned in Heavenly Splendour by Malcolm Archer (b. 1952) was also part of the Parish’s 300th anniversary celebrations. The choice of an established British composer made the connection with Bruton’s Anglican roots, and we premiered the anthem on Sunday, April 12, 2015, when the Presiding Bishop, The Most Reverend Michael Bruce Curry, preached for our morning worship services. The traditional Eucharistic hymn text, included in The 1982 Hymnal, where it is paired with the tune Bryn Calfaria, is especially appropriate for either Easter or Christmas, as it broadly tells the story of Christ’s life from birth to resurrection. The jaunty rhythms and changing meters of the setting create a compelling and spirited anthem.

Conductor, organist, and composer, Archer has had a long and distinguished career, serving three English cathedrals—Bristol, Wells, and St. Paul’s. His numerous choral pieces are performed throughout the world.

Lord, enthroned in heavenly splendor,
first begotten from the dead,
Thou alone, our strong defender,
liftest up thy people’s head,
Alleluia! Alleluia! Jesu, true and living Bread.
Here our humblest homage pay we;
Here in loving rev’rence bow,
Here for faith’s discernment pray we,
lest we fail to know thee now.
Alleluia, Alleluia, thou art here, we ask not how.

Though the lowliest form doth veil thee
as of old in Bethlehem,
here as there thine angels hail thee,
branch and flower of Jesse’s stem.
Alleluia, Alleluia, we in worship join with them.

Paschal Lamb, thine off’ring, finished
once for all when thou wast slain,
in its fullness undiminished
shall for ever more remain.
Alleluia, Alleluia, cleansing souls from every stain.

Life imparting heav’nly Manna,
stricken Rock with streaming side.
Heaven and earth with loud hosanna
Worship thee, the Lamb who died.
Alleluia, Alleluia, risen, ascended, glorified.
Amen.     —George Hugh Bourne (1840-1925)

John Matherne, a dear former member of Bruton’s Chancel Choir, commissioned Love Divine in honor of his mother, Vera Dugger Matherne, for her 95th birthday in 2012 and in memory of his father, Nolan Joseph Matherne. John predeceased his mother in 2016, and this anthem is now indelibly connected with the memory of a dedicated, supportive choir member whose heart and soul were fed by music.

Love Divine sets the well-known hymn text of Charles Wesley with a fresh, memorable melody that repeats strophically with varied harmonies and accompaniment. Composer John S. Dixon was born in London in 1957 but has lived in the Tidewater region of Virginia since 1988, where we became acquainted through local organist circles. Although trained as an organist from a young age, Dixon chose instead to pursue a business career with music as an avocation. Composing has since become a passion, and I have been blessed both with his friendship and with the gift of many of his compositions for choir and for organ, including a poignant Aria, Solemn Melody, that he composed in John Matherne’s memory.

Love divine, all loves excelling,
joy of heaven to earth come down;
fix in us thy humble dwelling;
all thy faithful mercies crown!
Jesus, Thou art all compassion,
pure unbounded love Thou art,
Visit us with Thy salvation;
enter every trembling heart.

Breathe, O breathe Thy loving Spirit,
into ev’ry troubled breast!
Let us all in Thee inherit;
let us find that second rest.
Take away our bent to sinning;
Alpha and Omega be;
end of faith, as its Beginning,
set our hearts at liberty.

Come almighty to deliver,
let us all Thy life receive;
suddenly return and never,
never more Thy temples leave.
Thee we would be always blessing,
serve Thee as Thy hosts above,
pray and praise Thee without ceasing,
glory in Thy perfect love.

Finish, then, Thy new creation,
pure and spotless let us be.
Let us see Thy great salvation
perfectly restored in Thee,
changed from glory into glory,
till in heaven we take our place,
till we cast our crowns before Thee,
lost in wonder, love, and praise.
         —Charles Wesley (1707-1788)

American composer Michael John Trotta (b. 1978) composed Source of All Healing for Bruton Parish in 2018. The text for this commission is again by Angier Brock, and grew in part out of my request for an anthem that could be appropriate with the many Gospel readings about Jesus’s miracles of healing. The anthem became deeply personal for me when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2017, after the idea of such an anthem had been determined. Mr. Trotta created a refrain out of the words, “Source of all healing…,” which serves as a musically unifying and memorable feature. As is typical of his writing, the harmonies are tonal with striking dissonances that add urgency and interest to the texture, along with elegant and singable melodies.

Trotta began his career as an educator, both in primary grades and universities, and a church music director. In 2015 he moved to New York City to pursue a career as a freelance composer. His personal experience in the trenches of music-making has inspired and informed his style of composition, assuring it is accessible to both the listener and the audience.
Source of All Healing, come by this place.
Bring your good news of compassion and grace.

At your word, the heat of a fever fled.
Bid me now rise from my fevered bed.
You shielded a sinner caught in blame.
I too have sinned. Come, heal my shame.

You ordered unclean spirits to flee.
From all that would bind, I pray, set me free.

You opened deaf ears. To the blind, you gave sight.
You made the lame stand and the bent stand upright.

When lepers cried out, you made each one whole.
Hear now my cry. Cleanse my body and soul.

At your command, rough seas grew calm.
So be to my anxious heart a balm.

Source of All Healing, before you I bow.
Come, Holy Jesus, abide with me now.
        —Angier Brock

Rebecca Davy joined the Bruton Parish ministry in 2004 and has been Music Director and Organist since 2011, directing two adult choirs and handbells, planning liturgy, playing for weekly services, and administering the Candlelight Concert series of more than 130 performances annually. Rebec­ca is also the artistic director of the Williamsburg Women’s Chorus and Chor­aliers and reg­u­lar­ly plays Saturday morn­ing organ recitals on the historic 18th-century pipe organ in the Wren Chapel at the College of William & Mary. Rebecca has concertized widely through­out her career and plays numerous organ and harpsichord Candle­light Concerts at Bruton Parish each year. A native of Washington State, she completed her undergraduate degree in organ performance at the University of Puget Sound with Dr. Edward Hansen. Continuing studies, she earned two masters degrees from the University of Southern California, one in organ performance as a student of Ladd Thomas, and another in music history, with additional postgraduate studies in musicology and music theory. She began playing the organ at age 10 and was playing for services in her home church by age 11. Before moving with her family to the East Coast, Rebecca served as organist and choir director for three prominent churches and a synagogue in the Los Angeles.

JanEl B. Will, D.M.A.
, Organist of Bruton Parish Church, joined the Music Ministry of the parish in 1995. She plays Sunday services, Evensongs, Rockefeller Concerts, and accompanies the choirs throughout the year. The choirs commissioned an organ work by Carson Cooman, a Boston-­based composer, in recognition of her service. She received a doctorate in organ performance from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, as a student of James Kibbie.  Her master’s degree in organ and harpsichord performance was conferred by the University of South Dakota, her home state. She has performed for conventions of the American Guild of Organists and the Organ Historical Society as well as at Methuen Memorial Music Hall in Massachusetts. She has performed in France and England, including St. Mary’s Church in Somerset, the home of Bruton’s founders, and has concertized through­out the midwestern and eastern United States. She is a frequent recitalist of the Candlelight Concert series of Bruton Parish Church as organist and harpsichordist. JanEl grew up in a musical family where she first studied organ with her mother as a summer project in junior high. After hearing a recital by the famed David Craighead, she was completely sold on becoming an organist.

<B><I><Font Color = Red>O Sing Unto the Lord a New Song</I></font>: The Bruton Capella, Bruton Parish Church, Williamsburg, Virginia</B>
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