First Presbyterian Church March 10, 2012 About 200 in attendance.
We had a terrific violinist play the Prelude and Offertory. Candace Burton from Gordonsville was accompanied by Pat Davis, First Pres. Choir accompanist. She played “Song Without Words”, Op 19, #1 by Mendelssohn for the prelude, and “Adoration” by F. Borowski for the offertory. The congregation was in rapt silence at the end of both. Since I didn’t have to prepare a prelude and an offertory I concentrated on the hymns a bit more.
The opening hymn was “The King of Love My Shepherd is” and I used the Missouri Synod Lutheran hymnal for the intro and first verse in D. The second and third verses,also in D, were by Charles Callahan, with a modulation to Eb for the fourth verse from the Presbyterian Hymnal in Eb, followed by the fifth verse in Eb by Noel Rawsthorne.
The response to the assurance of pardon was to the tune Detroit, and I used Charles Callahan’s harmonization. The melody was soloed out on 8’ Diapasons accompanied by light flutes and 16’ pedal.
The second hymn was “Amazing Grace.” For the intro and first verse I used the first section of Don Hustad’s prelude on this hymn. For the intro I played just the melody line on the Positif Gedeckt 8, Flute Dolce 8, and Flute Celeste 8, down to the word “me” and then switched to the beginning of the Hustad, using Strings, flutes, and the Swell Diapason 8 down through the word “found”. Everyone started the first verse together on this same registration! The second verse was straight from the Presbyterian Hymnal using foundations on all manuals up to 1’ but no off unison or mixture stops and down to 32’ in the pedal. The third verse was a rather dissonant setting by Charles Callahan on mostly 8’ stops with 16’ pedal. The 4th verse was foundations up to 1’ switching the mixtures on after the second phrase, again by Charles Callahan . At the end of the verse I went into the modulation from The Celebration Hymnal to Ab and used the “gospely” setting from that hymnal, with all its fanfares and altered chords.
For the Doxology to “Old Hundredth” (quarter note version) I used the setting from “Hymns for the Family of God” from the United Church of Christ. It has some nice secondary dominants in it. The registration was plenum with pedal reeds and high pitched mixtures. The intro started with the first phrase in the pedal, followed by the last phrase, going to an e minor deceptive cadence and then to the one chord.
The final hymn was “Great is thy Faithfulness”. I used the Presbyterian hymnal for the first two verses in D. Intro started with melody, added tenor, then alto, then bass, ending before the chorus. First verse was foundations to 1’ with 32 in the pedal, but no off unison or mixtures.
Second verse was mostly 8’ foundations in the manuals with pedals to 32, switching mixtures on for the chorus. A modulation at the end of the chorus led to the key of Eb, and I used the version from the Armed Forces Hymnal.
The benediction response by the congregation was the first verse of What Wondrous Love Is this, using the 3rd setting from Charles Callahan’s “Art of Hymn Playing.”
Postlude started in key of G with no pause right after the above concluded in D (same key relationship as the offertory and Doxology) with Don Hustad’s variations and fugue on “Beecher” “Love Diving All Loves Excelling.” Don Hustad (b 1918) has been a recognized leader in evangelical church music for six decades. Although he is an esteemed musician, composer, and teacher, Hustad’s richest legacy resides in his informed criticism of evangelical church music and his well-developed philosophy of worship communicated through lectures, articles, and books. Hustad’s musical skills provided the financial support needed during his undergraduate education at John Fletcher College near Oskaloosa, Iowa. In addition to directing the college band and leading a male quartet, he taught himself basic organ technique and became organist at First Methodist Church in Oskaloosa during his last year of school. After graduation in 1940, he moved to the Chicago area, where he was employed as a church organist and continued studies in piano and organ. Hustad’s musical skills provided the financial support needed during his undergraduate education at John Fletcher College near Oskaloosa, Iowa. In addition to directing the college band and leading a male quartet, he taught himself basic organ technique and became organist at First Methodist Church in Oskaloosa during his last year of school. After graduation in 1940, he moved to the Chicago area, where he was employed as a church organist and continued studies in piano and organ. Hustad enrolled in Northwestern University’s doctoral program in the fall of 1955. His applied performance areas (organ, choral conducting, and service playing) together with his research projects (the choral works of Ralph Vaughan Williams and the organ works of Paul Hindemith) augmented his previous experience and training. Hustad’s transition from Director of Music at MBI to full-time organist with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association allowed him to complete his doctorate in 1963. Hustad’s choral, vocal, and keyboard compositions and arrangements. Hustad held the position of chief editorial consultant with Hope from 1950 to 1961, although his counsel as a musical advisor for the firm continued for three more decades. His knowledge of hymnody and his understanding of trends in church music helped to guide the development of Hope. Hustad’s catalog includes over 100 octavos and many vocal and keyboard volumes. Among His editorial contributions are fourteen song books and hymnals, as well as dozens of collections. Hustad’s twenty-year tenure with the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary began in 1966. This opportunity allowed him to teach courses that paralleled his wide array of interests and offered him flexibility to lecture and perform beyond the seminary. Sabbatical leaves provided time for major writing projects and further study. He also earned diplomas as an Associate of the American Guild of Organists (AAGO) and a Fellow of the Royal College of Organists (FRCO), London. His retirement in December 1986 was in fact only semi-retirement, as he continued to teach courses and offer lectures at the seminary for the next two decades.
First Presbyterian Church, Charlottesville VA Feb 24.
The bell choir played the prelude and offertory. I played the hymns and postlude. For the Postlude I played Buxtehude’s Toccata in F Major from Volume 1 of Wedding Music, published by Concordia in the 1960’s. It was played on Plenum with the 8’ Montre on the Grand Orgue omitted, and all mixtures blazing, along with a big reed in the pedal.
A comment on Preludes and Postludes in various denominations.
I have heard organists complain about talking, even loud talking during preludes and postludes. It is a “given” that talking is distracting and annoying to the organist. There is, however, historical precedent for the presence or absence of talking.
In the relatively early Anglican tradition the Prelude and Postlude were called “Voluntary” as they are not part of the ordinary or propers, but are voluntarily chosen by the organist. Still, worship in this tradition and in the Roman Catholic tradition begins when one enters the church, so silence is kept and individual prayer is the order of the day. The organist has a canvas of silence on which to paint a picture in sound to set the mood according to the lectionary of the day. In some congregations, many remain for the closing voluntary, and often at an evensong the congregation is asked to remain seated and quiet during the closing voluntary. In others half the congregation is gone by the end of the recessional hymn.
In the Calvanist churches, instrumental music was not allowed from the reformation until the late 19th century. In the Netherlands, the love of the organ “spilled over” from neighboring Germany, and the people wanted to hear organ music. Organs were installed in the churches, but were owned by the town. The organist was a town employee. The organ was played before and after the church service and in concerts at other times. Therefore the organ music was considered entertainment, and the worship only began with the minister’s “call to worship” and ended with the “benediction.” The Pilgrims arriving in New England brought the Netherlands tradition with them to some extent, so the New England churches had organs. The Presbyterian churches in the US were founded by Scottish and Scotch-Irish immigrants and up until the late 1800s were designed so it was difficult to install a pipe organ. The square, Greek Revival buildings of the 1850’s through the 1900’s were later fitted with small free-standing organs in a front corner, many built by either Estey or Moller. Today in many Presbyterian and other Calvanist churches the tradition of visiting with other churchgoers during the prelude continues, and silence only happens when the pastor stands to call the congregation to worship. So the prelude and postlude are still not considered part of the service per se. Some congregations have moved announcements to a position before the prelude, so that all worshippers are generally seated and quiet for that music. Others add “please feel free to remain seated for the postlude” in their bulletins. Local customs vary widely.
Lutheran churches vary widely between the two extremes above, again mostly through local tradition.
In my experience, most Baptist and other churches from that historical background tend to observe silence before worship, but again local tradition takes precedence.