Friday, June 28, 2013

Wind, Pipe, and Voice Unite: Leading Diverse Assembly Song from the Organ

Association of Lutheran Church Musicians
2013 Biennial Conference, June 30-July 3
God is Here: Worship in a Wireless World
Valparaiso, Indiana

Wind, Pipe, and Voice Unite: Leading Diverse Assembly Song from the Organ

Mark Mummert, workshop leader
                Christ the King Lutheran Church (ELCA), Houston, TX

Monday, July 1, 1:30-2:30
Wednesday, July 3, 1:45-2:45
Organ Gallery at the Chapel of the Resurrection

Inspired leadership from musicians at organs requires attention to style, breath, pulse, context, and images. In this time of worship renewal, organs can still lead a wide variety of music for the worshipping assembly. This workshop will give participants opportunity to hear, sing, and play hymns at the organ with attention to introductions that invite, techniques that lead and support, and sets of priorities that determine how hymns led from the organ can assist our assemblies in proclaiming the gospel in song.

A musician at the organ leading hymns is a:
Curator of Style
Steward of Breath
Maintainer of Beat
Arbiter of Context
Seer of Images

The instrumental introduction of a hymn should:
                establish the key and pulse
                inform the vocal style
                invite eager participation
                point to purpose
                adapt to context


This Is My Song, ELW 887, finlandia
                Text: Lloyd Stone, 1912-1993, sts. 1-2; Georgia Harkness, 1891-1974, st. 3
                Music: Jean Sibelius, 1865-1957
                Half note pulse = 50-60 (MGELW)
                Aspiring, trusting (MGELW); prayerful
                Challenges: fullness of long beats, phrases that begin off a downbeat, communal tempo

In Thee Is Gladness, ELW 867, in dir ist freude (July 1)
                Text: Johann Lindemann, 1549-1631; tr. Catherine Winkworth, 1827-1878, alt.
                Music: Giovanni Giacomo Gastoldi, 1556-1622
                Dotted half note pulse = 50-56 (MGELW)
                Energetic, dance-like (MGELW); confident
                Challenges: communal tempo, implied hemiolas, assembly breathing, link between stanzas

The Risen Christ, ELW 390, woodlands (July 3)
                Text: Nigel Weaver, b. 1952
                Tune: Walter Greatorex, 1877-1949
                Half note pulse = 62-70 (MGELW)
                Majestic, energetic (MGELW), prophetic
                Challenges: repeated notes, communal breath, tempo, shifts from legato to marcato

To You, before the Close of Day, ELW 567, iam lucis (July 1)
                Text: Compline office hymn, c. 6th century; tr. John Mason Neale, 1818-1866, alt.
                Tune: Plainson mode VI
                Tempo: “A fluid tempo that neither rushes nor moves too slowly works best.” (MGELW)
                Comfort, prayerful, expectant
                Challenges: fluidity, eighth note “rests,” the character of unaccompanied song

Thee We Adore, O Savior, ELW 476, adoro te devote (July 3)
                Text: Thomas Aquinas, 1227-1274; tr. Gerard Manley Hopkins, 1844-1889,
and James R. Woodford, 1820-1885, alt.
                Tune: Plainsong mode V; Processionale, Paris, 1697
                Tempo: “A fluid tempo that neither rushes nor moves too slowly works best.” (MGELW)
                Meditative (MGELW), “As with all chant, this hymn flows according to the natural textual
 accents. For chant, depending on the text, the beats will be grouped in twos or threes.”
                Challenges: beat groupings, phrase momentum, communal breath, fluidity

O Living Breath of God, ELW 407, vÄrvindar friska
                Text: Osvaldo Catena, 1920-1986; tr. Gerhard M. Catford, b. 1923
                Tune: Swedish folk tune
                Quarter note pulse = 80-100 (MGELW)
                Joyful, prayerful (MGELW), danceable
                Challenges: adapting combo, guitar, or piano accompaniment to organ, bolero style (MGELW)

Gracious Spirit, Heed Our Pleading, ELW 401, njoo kwetu, roho mwema
                Text: Wilson Niwagila; tr. Howard S. Olsen, b. 1922 (d. 2012?)
                Tune: Wilson Niwagila; arr. Egil Hovland (1924-2013)
                Quarter note pulse = 82-92. A relaxed unhurried tempo works best. (MGELW)
                Confident, joyful (MGELW), imploring

                Challenges: adapting rhythms to organ, encouraging harmonies, avoiding the “pick-up”