Saintly Music

by David Ouzts, Minister of Music and LiturgyIn the Episcopal Church we frequently speak of "the prayer book" and "the hymnal." Churches in the Anglican tradition have had only one standard approved Book of Common Prayer at any one time in history. However, various hymnals and psalters abounded until 1861 when the first standard Anglican hymnal, Hymns Ancient and Modern, was published, a direct outcome of the explosion of hymn texts written during the Oxford Movement in the Church o... Read More
at Thursday, October 29, 2015

A Liturgical Confession

by David Ouzts, Minister of Music and LiturgyIs the singing of one of the great anthems by English composer Herbert Howells (1892-1983), a setting of the British poet laureate Robert Bridges' (1844-1930) text "My eyes for beauty pine," a cheap liturgical ploy for lectionary readings about sight and blindness? Perhaps. But I happily confess that, upon reading this Sunday's (Oct. 25) lections, my mind gravitated quickly toward this glorious anthem. In the First Reading (Job 42), Job answers the... Read More
at Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A Canticle with Tambourine and Triangle

by David Ouzts, Minister of Music and LiturgyAs a liturgist, I live my life, or at least the professional part of it, by rubrics. In the free worship tradition, we “just let the Lord lead” (a quote from a favorite past voice professor) with few directions. However, in the liturgical worship tradition, we follow guidelines called rubrics that are based upon Anglican traditions. I try to not always die in the rubrics ditches, but I do believe getting the liturgy correct is important. As I frequ... Read More
at Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Keeping up with the Tunes

After the unsettling times in the 1960s and the 1970s, church denominations experienced in the late 1970s and through the 1980s a virtual explosion of new music and liturgical resources. The Lutheran Book of Worship (both prayer book and hymnal) was published in 1978, and the Episcopal Church’s Book of Common Prayer was ratified in 1979 and published three years later.Every major denomination in this country published a new hymnal during these times: Baptist Hymnal&nb... Read More
at Saturday, October 10, 2015

Musical Mayonnaise

This past week, a devoted Parish Choir gave me her “Brahms testimonial,” based upon the Brahms chorale movement the Parish Choir offered at the Offertory this past Sunday. She described the lush intricacies of the various moving vocal lines and how hearing the tenor and bass parts behind her so pleasingly comingled with the alto part that she was singing. Brahms is one of my favorites – organ, choral, symphonic works all – and I happily stopped Parish Choir rehearsal for just a moment while w... Read More
at Thursday, October 1, 2015