Top 5 New Cantatas for Lent and Easter

1. The Easter Story by Thomas Fettke & Thomas Grassi
Performance Time: 35 minutes


The Easter Story combines a profound narrative by Ken Bible with musical selections from Tom Fettke and Thomas Grassi. Fettke and Grassi have drawn upon several folk music sources, including hymns from The Sacred Harp and The Columbian Harmony, and spirituals, carols and songs from English, Irish and Hebrew traditions. The narrative is steeped in scripture, helping to relive the events in Jerusalem leading up to Jesus’ death and resurrection.

This cantata recommends using two narrators, but can be performed with one. It is beautiful whether accompanied by piano or orchestra.

2. Behold the Lamb, created by Lloyd Larson
Performance Time: approx. 35 minutes


Behold the Lamb! is about the path to freedom and salvation. It begins by harkening back to Israel’s release from slavery in Egypt with the Passover Lamb. It is a foreshadowing of Jesus’ coming, who made the ultimate sacrifice for spiritual freedom. Lloyd Larson, with collaborators Molly Ijames and Jay Rouse, have created a compelling worship piece by combining traditional and original music. Among the familiar tunes used are “Wondrous Love” and Largo from Dvorak’s New World Symphony.

This cantata calls for two narrators and has optional orchestration available.

3. We Remember Calvary by Joel Raney
SAB, also available in SATB
Performance Time: 35 minutes


We Remember Calvary is a contemporary Tenebrae Service. “Tenebrae” comes from the Latin word for shadows and refers to a worship service that recreates the Passion Story. This choral work uses both traditional and contemporary hymns and calls for (optional) congregational singing, scripture readings and narration. As part of the performance, seven candles are meant to be distributed throughout the worship space and extinguished one by one until the congregation is left in darkness. Communion can be taken, but is not required. These aspects work together to create a poignant reflection of the events of Holy Week.

The traditional hymns include “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”, “Just As I Am” and “Amazing Grace.” We Remember Calvary may be performed simply with choir, narration and piano accompaniment or may be complemented with instrumental parts.

4. Sanctuary, A Cantata of Hope and Peace by Joseph M. Martin
Performance Time: 40 minutes


In Sanctuary, Joseph M. Martin focuses on the ministry and passion of Christ’s last days, leading listeners to contemplate the hope found in Christ’s teachings. Scriptures and words of peace and assurance are set to Martin’s original melodies, as well as traditional sacred songs and favorite hymns, including Finlandia, “It Is Well with My Soul” and “Be Still My Soul.” It is ideal for Lenten and Holy Week services.

This cantata calls for one narrator. Two orchestration choices are also available.

5. Our Father, A Journey Through the Lord’s Prayer by Pepper Choplin

This cantata can actually be performed at any time of the year. Based on The Lord’s Prayer, it takes the congregation on a teachable journey with its thoughtful narration and beautiful, original music.

A full line of support products is available, including score and instrumental parts.


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