Wounded Alleluias

Guest post by Joseph M. Martin, Composer and Director of Sacred Publications for Shawnee Press

The quest to combine ministry with artistry has been a lifelong calling for me.  I have always found my place and purpose in this pursuit.  Composing animates me and breathes into my spirit an inner peace that is deeply sacred.

Reassuring rituals are part of my writing process—simple disciplines made special by repetition, reminding me to be grateful for the labor to which I have been called. With faithful regularity the process unfolds over and over, familiar yet surprising, comfortable yet challenging.

Climbing the stairs to my music studio is just one example. With each step there is the affirmation of how blessed I am to take this journey of discovery.  I pass by relics of my education and past concert moments hanging on the walls.  These remind me of treasured mentors and golden moments that have encouraged me through the years. 

I pass by family photos that reassure me that I am loved and not alone. I gaze at a stained-glass window that reminds me of how the mystery and ministry of light makes even broken things beautiful.

Step by step, in this gentle rising, I am reminded that the source of the seeking is divine.  As I reach the top landing, I turn on the lights.  The shadows retreat, and my special sanctuary of instruments, books and tools welcomes me back.

To be gifted with the luxury of lingering with scripture, spending sacred moments researching our shared legacy of worship, pouring my praise into my pen and composing new songs is a special grace in my life.  How can I keep from writing?

During this past year my climb has been heavy and burdened.  The rising has been labored and the journey to creativity winding and rocky.  Blank pages drone on in silence and the ink of inspiration is running low.  I write songs, but voices cannot share them.

Choirs are bound and masked! 

Instruments sit breathless and silent!

Wounded alleluias!

With wandering fingers, I search the scriptures.  The slick, cool pages pause and start to speak:

 “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.”

This passage reminded me that we are still EASTER people. We carry in our hearts hymns of hope and new songs of joy. 

There is a great crescendo coming!  Soon a sonic shudder will quake the earth back to celebration.  Our wounds will be washed, and our scars will sing!  The foundations of this pandemic prison will shake, and the stones will roll away.  Our choirs will find their purpose again. Our songs will soar, and our instruments will once again make a joyful noise. The echoes of our worship will resound in our sanctuaries and spill out into the world as a canticle of faith.

When that moment comes, may the Lord find ours hearts overflowing with the magnificent music of grace!

HEAL OUR ALLELUIAS

A PRAYER FOR SINGERS OF FAITH

CHORUS:

HEAL OUR ALLELUIAS

TOUCH OUR WOUNDED PRAISE

COMFORT EVERY TROUBLED SONG

WITH YOUR GENTLE GRACE

SING TO EVERY SHADOW

BREATHE INTO THE NIGHT

MUSIC FROM THE HEART OF LOVE

A CANTICLE OF LIGHT

VERSE: 1

THE WILLOWS HOLD OUR WEEPING HARPS

JUST BEYOND OUR DREAMS

ONLY GRACE CAN BRING THEM DOWN

AND PUT THEM IN OUR REACH

IN THE STILLNESS OF THIS TIME

EACH BROKEN SONG REDEEM

MOVE ACROSS OUR SILENT STRINGS
AND WE WILL LEARN YOUR THEME

CHORUS: (REPEAT)

VERSE 2

WRITE IN US A HYMN OF HOPE

CRAFT EACH CHORD WITH CARE

FIX IN US YOUR HARMONY

A SYMPHONY TO SHARE

HELP US TRUST YOUR GRAND DESIGN

COMPOSER OF THE HEART

MAKE US NOW YOUR INTSRUMENTS

AND LET THE MUSIC START

CHORUS (REPEAT)

© 2021 JOSEPH M. MARTIN, (MARTIN CREATIVE SERVICES)

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


Joseph Martin is recognized around the world for his many choral compositions, both sacred and secular. Martin is also Director of Sacred Publications for Shawnee Press, overseeing the editorial and creative direction of the company, and he has been a featured solo pianist with symphony orchestras throughout the U.S. and Mexico.

StreamSing: A Free Virtual Reading Session with Jubilate Music Group

As our annual Sacred Choral Sale continues, we’d like to highlight a fantastic opportunity to explore new music for spring and Easter.

Join host Mark Cabaniss, President & CEO of Jubilate Music Group, and his special guest, composer Lloyd Larson, for StreamSing, a free virtual reading session.

In this approximately hour-long express session, Mark and Lloyd tell stories, look ahead to our future opportunities for ministry and community as church singers, and preview new music perfect for distanced, streaming and virtual choirs from Mary McDonald, Lloyd Larson, Tom Fettke and more.

Here are just a few of the titles featured in StreamSing:

more “StreamSing: A Free Virtual Reading Session with Jubilate Music Group”

Let’s Begin to Ring Again! Hope Publishing Handbell Choir Selections: Fall 2020

A message from Brenda E. Austin, Handbell Editor at Hope Publishing

Hello friends!

Brenda E. Austin

Have you noticed how grumpy many people are today? I sure have. I believe with all of my heart, that is in part because no one has been to the symphony, seen a broadway show, sang in their church choir or rang in a handbell festival in months and months. Our souls are crying out to be part of a musical experience again.

There are so many challenges facing us today. We need to keep the safety of our communities as our top priority. With that being said, I believe that we also need to consider our spiritual and emotional health as well. Where and when it is possible to do so safely, let’s begin to ring again. It may look different from what we “normally” do. But, what would it look like to ring today? Ringers wearing masks, each ringer at their own table or music stand at a safe distance from one another, no shared equipment. Perhaps ringing outside?? What are the possibilities?

Wishing you well!

Ring with 6: Year-Round

Arr. Martha Lynn Thompson

Martha Lynn Thompson adds another set of six settings to her highly successful series of Ring with 6 collections. Each arrangement uses 14-22 bells and is easily playable by six ringers. Three pieces have optional handchimes. A “Bells Used Chart” for each piece provides suggested assignments. No four-in-hand ringing is required but, because some ringers have more than two bells, it is necessary to have a table or a place to put the additional bells. Three of the hymns are suitable for general occasions, one is appropriate for either Palm Sunday or Advent, and rounding out the collection is Natalie Sleeth’s beautiful “Were You There on That Christmas Night?”

more “Let’s Begin to Ring Again! Hope Publishing Handbell Choir Selections: Fall 2020”

Helping Singers Learn at Home! Hope Publishing Choral Selections with Rehearsal Tracks: Fall 2020

A message from Joel Raney, Composer & Choral Editor at Hope Publishing

Joel Raney
Joel Raney

I know that these days many of us are searching for ways to keep our singers engaged without gathering. Here we feature several of our most popular titles that have part-dominant rehearsal tracks available for soprano, alto, tenor, and bass, as well as stereo accompaniment tracks. Whether you’re doing a virtual choir or some sort of limited socially distant singing, these tools are a terrific way to help singers learn new music at home on their own.

Stay strong and safe!

In Christ Alone with Cornerstone

Arr. Joel Raney
SATB Octavo
Instrumental Parts
Performance/Accompaniment CD
Voice-Dominant CD

Listen & follow along with the score

Originally, this appeared in Joel Raney and Lloyd Larson’s best-selling Lenten cantata, Hope in the Shadows. This medley pairs the popular Keith Getty song with the praise chorus “Cornerstone” and “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.”

more “Helping Singers Learn at Home! Hope Publishing Choral Selections with Rehearsal Tracks: Fall 2020”

Mark Hayes: Perfect Postludes

The postlude following a service makes creation resound with praise and allows the congregation to leave the church proclaiming God’s greatness. As the signal for the congregation to disperse, it should be a stirring exclamation point to the service that connects the worship experience to the secular world to which the crowd of people is about to return.

PerfectPostludesWhat makes a perfect postlude? Mark Hayes answers this question with his new collection, Perfect Postludes: Hymns and Spirituals to Close the Service, which contains the following ten selections:

  • Jesus Shall Reign
  • I’m Gonna Sing When the Spirit Says Sing
  • Joyful Day
  • Christ the Lord Is Risen Today
  • O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing
  • I Want Jesus to Walk with Me
  • To God Be the Glory
  • Noble March
  • Lead On, O King Eternal
  • They’ll Know We Are Christians

Here Hayes himself describes his collection and what makes it so useful for today’s church pianist: more “Mark Hayes: Perfect Postludes”

Darcy Stanley: Seasonal Settings for Worship

DarcyStanley
Darcy Stanley

Guest post by Darcy Stanley introducing her new collection of sacred piano music, Seasonal Settings for Worship. Stanley, a composer, arranger, lyricist and orchestrator, has published many choral works, solo and duet arrangements, piano arrangements and orchestrations. As a pianist, she has been designated Permanent Professional Certified Teacher of Music in Piano from Music Teachers National Association, and has served as adjudicator for various music festivals and piano competitions. Stanley worked as adjunct music professor at Faith Baptist Bible College for 15 years, teaching piano and Choral Writing and Arranging. She and her husband, Tim, live in Greenville, SC, where she is pianist and director of orchestra and instrumental ensembles at Cornerstone Baptist Church.

 

SeasonalSettingsForWorshipLet everything that has breath praise the Lord! (Psalm 150:6) I have had the joy of praising the Lord through music since I was a child. As a little girl, I found great joy in playing the piano and singing for anyone who would listen. My sweet grandfather was my favorite and most frequent audience!

Many years have passed since those early days, and I am thankful for the numerous opportunities I have had to serve the Lord and praise Him with music. Serving as church pianist for most of my adult life has given me an appreciation of the importance of music in worship services. Pianists need to be prepared with more than just a few of their favorite hymns. Special services and occasions require music that will specifically enhance the worship service with an intentional purpose. more “Darcy Stanley: Seasonal Settings for Worship”

Pepper Choplin: Once upon a Morning – From Resurrection to Pentecost

PepperChoplin
Pepper Choplin

Guest post by composer Pepper Choplin introducing his new cantata, Once upon a Morning: From Resurrection to Pentecost. Choplin is known as one of the most creative writers in church music today. With a diverse musical background, Choplin incorporates varied styles such as folk, Gospel, classical, and jazz. His published works include over 300 anthems for church and school choir with 20 church cantatas and two books of piano arrangements, and over 120 groups have commissioned him to write original works for them. Since 1991, his choral music has sold several million copies. Choplin has conducted eight New York concerts of his music at Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center with 250 voices and full orchestra. In his hometown of Raleigh, he has conducted eight mass performances of his cantatas at Meymandi Auditorium (home to the NC Symphony) with over two hundred voices and orchestra. In 2019, he conducted Handel’s Messiah (Christmas portion) with the 150-voice Cary Community Choir with orchestra. He also visits many schools, churches and conferences to conduct and to entertain. 

 

OnceUponAMorningI always wanted to write this cantata. Then a church in Pennsylvania commissioned me to write a spring cantata outside of the typical Easter work. For a year, I surveyed directors and singers about different potential subjects. This idea got them most excited.

I loved writing this cantata. These wonderful stories don’t receive much attention in church music. Yet, they contain so much drama and passion.

more “Pepper Choplin: Once upon a Morning – From Resurrection to Pentecost”

Lee & Susan Dengler: A Holy Week Cantata Reflecting on Sacrifice and Sorrow

Guest post by composers Lee & Susan Dengler introducing their new Holy Week cantata, When Darkness Comes. Lee and Susan are the authors of over 400 choral anthems, cantatas and vocal and piano solo collections that are used worldwide. They have served as music leaders in churches, and have taught music on the elementary, high school and college levels. Both are professional singers and have performed in recitals, operas, oratorios and musicals. They reside in Goshen, Indiana.

LeeDenglerSusanDengler

Lee Dengler & Susan Naus Dengler

Easter was in mid-April that year. We who work in church music are relieved when Easter comes that late in the season, allowing adequate time to prepare for the music of Lent and Easter.

However, there was a lot going on in our house back then. We were awaiting the birth of our second child. The due date was April 1. Because of church responsibilities, we hoped that this baby would arrive on time. Rebecca Joy only made us wait two extra days before she appeared on the scene. Even though Palm Sunday was only two days later, we could fulfill our Holy Week responsibilities without too much stress.

There were, however, a few things that we hadn’t counted on. more “Lee & Susan Dengler: A Holy Week Cantata Reflecting on Sacrifice and Sorrow”