Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Vaughan Williams, "Song of Thanksgiving"


Capitol Fax, a blog covering Illinois government and politics owned and operated by Rich Miller,

also have a personal tradition of listening to Ralph Vaughn Williams’ “A Song of Thanksgiving.” I still get chills when the children start their part of song, imagining what it was like for the war-weary people to hear them in the aftermath of WW2:

Teach us the strength that cannot seek, By deed, or thought, to hurt the weak; That, under thee, we may possess Man’s strength to comfort man’s distress. Teach us delight in simple things, The mirth that has no bitter springs; Forgiveness free of evil done, And love to all men ‘neath the sun.

Robert Zimmerman, free-lance writer and blogger of the Washington, D.C., area, who recommends, "Go here for the full lyrics. It is absolutely worthwhile to print them out and read them as you watch this video. The images and words work together with amazing force, and illustrate well the importance of giving thanks on this day.

The BBC asked RVW to write a "thanksgiving anthem" to mark the end of World War 2 and this is the result. Originally called "Thanksgiving for Victory", it was later re-named and has been recorded several times. A lesser composer might have regarded such a commission as a mere 'job-of-work' - an occasional piece that would be performed once or twice and then forgotten; but Vaughan Williams, of course, gave it his all and came up with a work of poignant sincerity and emotional power; patriotic but never jingoistic or triumphalist. He selected the text himself from the bible, Shakespeare and Rudyard Kipling.

This performance is to be found on a DUTTON disc. Sir Adrian Boult conducts the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Luton Choral Society and members of Luton Girls' Choir. The soprano soloist is Betty Dolemore and the speaker was Robert Speight. It was recorded at the Abbey Road Studios on 18th December 1951.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Johann Walter Geystliche gesangk Buchleyn (1537)

Johann Walter, Geystliche gesangk Buchleyn [Wittembergisch Geistlich Gesangbuch von 1524 zu drei, vier, und fünf Stimmen]. 1537. Otto Kade, ed. Publikation älterer praktischer und theoretischer Musik-Werke, Vol. 7. Berlin: T. Trautwein'sche Buch- und Musikalienhandlung, 1878.,_Johann)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Contemporary service music, Nov. 22, Atonement-Faith-Luther Memorial Church -- Saturday before Christ the King Sunday

Here is the music line up for this coming weekend. Central theme of the worship set this weekend is the kingdom of God.

Scripture this week is John 18:33-37.

Pilate entered the headquarters again, summoned Jesus, and asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”

Opening Song: That's Why We Praise Him - Jessica, Adam, Jamie, band

Worship Set:

-- Here I Am To Worship --

-- He is Exalted (I think most everyone will know this one) --

**we will do the sharing of the peace here (at least that's my plan) - band will continue to play while sharing goes on, we'll come back in on He is Exalted after the sharing

-- Lord Most High (this is new, but it is an echo song - congregation should be able to follow easily) --

Sung Lord's Prayer

Sending Song: Shout to the North --

Monday, November 16, 2015

"Deck Us All With Boston Charlie" -- by Lambert, Hendricks & Ross

A holiday classic performed by Lambert, Hendricks and Ross

So I'm scrambling around printing out lead sheets/dulcimer tab for the Clayville-Prairieland Strings' annual Advent performance, and I blunder into the Walt Kelly classic, "Deck Us All With Boston Charlie." As everyone d'un certain age no doubt remembers, it was sung by Pogo the possum and his compères in the Okefenokee Swamp of Kelly's imagination in the comic strip Pogo, to the tune of "Deck the Halls With Boughs of Holly."

I've tried several times in recent years to explain Pogo's appeal to people who didn't live through the 1960s reading it every morning, and I've come up short each time. (I guess you had to be there?) So I'll just link to Wikipedia at, which says it "combined both sophisticated wit and slapstick physical comedy in a heady mix of allegory, Irish poetry, literary whimsy, puns and wordplay, lushly detailed artwork and broad burlesque humor."

Like all good things, Pogo didn't last long enough. It went out of production with Kelly's death in 1973. I guess you could say it was the "Calvin and Hobbes" of its day.

So this afternoon I'm on the Internet looking for the lyrics to "Deck Us All With Boston Charlie." Last year John Wiseman brought in a set of lyrics -- hat tip to John, by the way -- but I've misplaced them, and I know I won't find them again till January or February, well after Christmas in any event.

And I found a recording on YouTube by Lambert, Hendricks and Ross. They were a talented group of jazz singers in the early 60s that specialized in scat, a vocal technique of singing improvised vocables or nonsense syllables to a melody (details on the group at,_Hendricks_%26_Ross and the technique at The appeal of Walt Kelly's nonsensical Christmas song to Lambert, Hendricks and Ross is obvious -- and very, very lucky. Their arrangement is every bit as whimsical and well executed as the comic strip.

Lambert, Hendricks and Ross only sing one verse, and there are those of us who would argue there's really only the one verse. It goes:

Deck us all with Boston Charlie,
Walla walla, Wash., an' Kalamazoo!
Nora's freezin' on the trolley,
Swaller dollar cauliflower alley'garoo!
Don't we know archaic barrel,
Lullaby lilla boy, Louisville Lou?
Trolley Molly don't love Harold,
Boola boola Pensacoola hullabaloo!

But there are several others verses on the Lyrics Mania website. As I recall, they were suggested by other characters from time to time. But that first verse, with Nora freezing on the trolly in Walla Walla, Wash., is the one that appeared on the funny pages every year. The others are available on line at:,_hendricks_and_ross.html

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Matt Redman "10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)"

Heard today at services for our next-door-neighbor John Robert Holderread, June 3, 1943-Nov. 8, 2015, at Staab Funeral Home:

Music video by Matt Redman performing 10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord). (P) (C) 2012 sixstepsrecords/Sparrow Records. All rights reserved.

Article on evangelism [formerly] on ELCA's website

Editor's note [June 9, 2016]. In November, when Springfield's blended congregation now known as Peace Lutheran Church was first organizing an evangelism committee, I had no idea what "evangelism" meant -- other than a suspicion it sounded preachy and a vague notion it might have something to do with public relations. So I Googled it, and I found an article by Jennifer Phelps Ollikainen, titled "Worship and Evangelism," in Living Lutheran magazine on the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's website. It made so much sense, I posted some excerpts to my blog for future reference.

Then, when I came back to them, I discovered ELCA has taken the article down.

But I still have the excerpts. Here they are:

Jennifer Phelps Ollikainen

Worship is evangelism. Evangelism is worship.

When we look at the definitions of these two practices, it is clear that they are intertwined.

Christian worship forms the Christian community into the body of Christ proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ in word, sacrament, song and prayer.

Evangelism strategies look to share this good news intentionally with those who have yet to experience it.

Unfortunately, ELCA congregations have often fallen into practices for both worship and evangelism that separate the essential intertwining of the two.

Established worshiping communities often forget that worship is not just about proclaiming the good news for those already in the congregation. Proclamation reaches beyond the walls of the sanctuary to those who have not yet come to believe.

* * *

Understanding the foundational center of worship and evangelism as the proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ for the sake of the world leads the congregation to ask hard questions that get to the core of our faith:

- How deeply do we believe that what happens in worship in the community of Christ is the living, transformative encounter with the gospel of Jesus Christ? How do we show this belief to those who are outside of worship?

- Into what do we invite people through our evangelism efforts? How do we make clear that it isn’t about membership into a particular congregation or attendance in worship but rather deep transformation in our lives on account of the gospel of Jesus Christ?

Responses to these questions will lead to practical implications for the congregation that seeks to shepherd the transforming and far-reaching proclamation of the good news of Jesus Christ through worship.

Jennifer Phelps Ollikainen. "Worship and Evangelism." 2013. Living Lutheran. Formerly available at [dead link]. Ollikainen, of Allentown, Pa., is the southeast Pennsylvania congregational coordinator for Lutheran Congregational Services, an affiliate of Liberty Lutheran Services.

Evangelism in action

Here's a screen shot of the error message I got when I tried to Google into Ollikainen's article.

This year Living Lutheran and The Lutheran Magazine consolidated into one print and online publication, and I imagine the online back issues of Living Lutheran were taken down when that occurred. I thought the error message is pretty classy, anyway. Note especially the invitation in the lower left-hand corner: "This is Christ's church. There is a place for you here ..."

Now that's what I call evangelism.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Joni Mitchell -- BBC telecast from 1970 w/ dulcimer

dulcimer at 16:15 ( 29:38)

AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger

A bootleg this may be, but you'll be hard-pressed to find a better early live half-hour video of Joni Mitchell, done for the BBC on October 9, 1970. Performing solo on guitar, piano, and (most interestingly, on "California") on zither, Mitchell presented seven songs from her first four albums. The sound and image are excellent (and in color), and Mitchell looks happy and at ease as she delivers the material in fine voice, though she oddly notes near the end that her pipes are going. Though a few of the songs are among her most famous early compositions ("Chelsea Morning," "Both Sides Now," "Big Yellow Taxi"), for the serious fans there are also some less celebrated early album cuts ("Cactus Tree," "My Old Man," "For Free," "California"). The only mild complaints to offer are that it's too short (her comment to the audience that her voice wouldn't have allowed her to sing much longer notwithstanding), and that there's a time code strip on the screen. That latter problem would presumably be fixable if this could somehow be cleared for official release.

my FB feed "California" (Live) by Joni Mitchell (1970) — For more videos like this, please follow (Like) the Official Facebook Page of Sydney Urshan! The instrument that Joni Mitchell plays in this video is an Appalachian dulcimer... Sydney Urshan Happy 72nd Birthday Joni Mitchell! (born November 7, 1943) "Both Sides, Now" (Live) by Joni Mitchell (1970)

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

"Rock the Cradle Joe" (Joseph?) and a playlist for the Clayville-Prairieland jam session group's annual Advent performance at Atonement-Faith-Luther Memorial

Don Pedi, at left, joins in playing "Rock the Cradle Joe" in Athens, Ala.

Saturday's video

... shows my dulcimer teacher, Don Pedi of Madison County, N.C. (at left), jamming on one of the tunes I want to play at our jam session from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Nov. 7, in the barn at Clayville Historic Site, Ill. 125, Pleasant Plains.

We'll practice our selections Saturday for the annual soup supper gig. It's the third Wednesday in Advent this year, Dec. 16 (exact time TBA). Then we'll go around the room and call for tunes, songs -- or whatever -- we want to play. I've always wanted to sneak "Rock the Cradle Joe" into the Christmas program, maybe calling it "Rock the Cradle Joseph" in honor of the season? But I've always been overruled on that.

Playlist for Dec. 16

Here also, for convenient reference, is the music for Dec. 16. Links are to dulcimer tab w/ guitar chords available on line. But these songs are pretty standard, and the chords -- as always -- can be varied as you see fit. The songs are:

-- I Saw Three Ships -- (we'll play as an instrumental)

-- Cherry Tree Carol -- (lyrics and chords on "DAA" tab)

-- What Child is This -- (dulcimer tab with lyrics and chords) (in E minor, a key that dulcimers can play in DAD tuning).

-- Joy to the World -- (dulcimer tab with lyrics and chords)

-- Silent Night -- (melody and chords)

-- Silent Night -- (lyrics and chords in D) --

They're all in "D for dulcimer," except "What Child is This" in Em.