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Music Department News

Rutter Requiem  This November

Building upon the past two years in presenting a requiem mass at the Feasts of All Saints & All Souls, we have been able to expand our collaborative endeavors to officially include multiple partners.

In addition to the musicians of Christ Our Hope Lutheran, Riverdale, a newly formed graduate-student chamber choir from Georiga State (The Master Singers) have also officially signed on. The resulting ensemble of 35 to 40 singers will present John Rutter’s Requiem, which will be accompanied by a chamber ensemble of woodwinds, harp, percussion, organ, and cello.

Informal invitations have also been made to musicians in local churches and with another parish in our diocese. We look forward to the possible participation of their individually contributing singers and hope that our “tapestry” of interwoven volunteers will not only enjoy the process of learning a great work but also of becoming acquainted with each other to form connections for future projects.

THERE IS STILL TIME…if you or someone you know would like to sing with us, please feel free to contact Tom Elston.

Why Should Monks Have All The Fun?

In addition to the Rutter Requiem, members of St. John’s musical community are also exploring the ancient art of singing Gregorian chant under the tutelage of the musicians at The Church Of Our Saviour (COS). Their presentation, a requiem mass held at COS on November 2nd, will feature traditional Latin-texted chants for that service.

The FUN part of this project is that rehearsals will be Sunday afternoon, so our group is contemplating forming a lunch-bunch to take advantage of COS’s proximity to the many wonderful restaurants in the Virginia-Highland area. So…if you want to experience good music AND good food, please talk to Tom Elston about signing up.

Instrumentalists!  We Need You!

Taize has returned to St. John’s!  In August, a gathering of 40 people sat in the choir stalls to hear a home-grown group of instrumentalists accompany the traditional “musical prayers” sung during the service. The instrumentalists played a series of interchangeable descants composed by Tom Elston for the chants.

Our coterie of players includes handbells, two violins, a viola, a flute, a recorder, a clarinet, a guitar, and piano. Some players are taking the opportunity of “going Taize” to dust off their instruments and giving it a shot. You are encouraged to join in…no audition is required and there’s no pressure to perform once you’ve come out of hiding. Our next services are September 12th and October 10th.  By the way, video clips of the August service are on the Events page of the website if you’ve ever wondered “what they do” in a Taize service. For more information, talk to Tom Elston.

Ringing On The Road

The change-ringing group has been invited to perform in late October at an evening fundraiser musicale being held to benefit the music program at Christ Our Hope Lutheran in Riverdale. Those of you who were in the group are invited to come back as bell-ringing alumni to help us put together a 30-minute presentation on bell ringing. We will demonstrate, in a nutshell, all the things we learned over the past several months, including ringing changes on a plain hunt, called rings (Kings, Queens, etc.), those weird but way-cool ringing thingies we did for Easter Vigil, and selections from Taize and The Summer Service.

Rehearsals for the event are scheduled on the Music Department calendar. Contact Tom Elston for more details on how you can do the “ring thing” with not a string attached!

Learn To Sing! 

A small, brave band of brothers and sisters met in August to experience the phenomenon of learning to sing. No, no corny songs or vocalizes were imposed, and no pathetic pitch was made to join the choir. Rather, the group got to experience new and exciting ways to breathe and produce a beautiful bel canto vocal tone. After much coaxing, one participant, who had just found her diaphragm, found the experience exhilarating.

Learn To Sing is on a temporary hiatus but will return within the next few weeks. Anyone of any ability can join at any time. Stay tuned for an announcement in the bulletin and find out what it’s all about!

Choir Section Leaders Being Hired

We are in the process of screening and hiring section leaders for the adult choir and (we hope) will have the individuals in place as soon as possible. The job announcement went out to area universities; we are now soliciting community choral ensembles to get the word out.