We'll be offering special music during our March 5th Lenten worship service. A vocalist will perform "Pie Jesu." So what is this tune, anyway?
First off, it has nothing to do with dessert. The title is Latin and pronounced, "PEE-ay YAY-zu" (Pious Jesus). It's part of the liturgy for the Requiem Mass of the Catholic Church.
A Requiem Mass is a church service for the repose of the soul. It's usually celebrated to mark the passing of a person. In our faith tradition, we'd call it a memorial service.
The original text of "Pie Jesu" reads:
Pie Jesu Domine, Dona is requeim
(Pious Lord Jesus, give them rest)
Pie Jesu Domine, Dona is requeim sempiternam
(Pious Lord Jesus, give them everlasting rest)
Several composers have included "Pie Jesu" in their settings of the Requiem Mass. So there's more than one tune associated with this text. Luigi Cherubini and Antonin Dvorak used it, for example.
Gabriel Fauré's setting from his 1890 Requiem is the most famous. And it's also the most performed worldwide.
But there are two modern contenders. John Rutter is one of the most popular choral composers of the late 20th Century. His setting from his 1985 Requeim is a favorite among church choirs.
Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Pie Jesu" has even wider exposure. Lloyd Webber's Requiem also premiered in 1985. The "Pie Jesu" was a breakout hit. It's been recorded and performed by classical vocalists, Broadway singers, and pop stars.
Which setting will you hear at worship this Sunday? You'll have to discover that for yourself.
Worship begins at 10 am, Sunday morning.
For the First Sunday of Lent, Pastor Rebekah preached a powerful sermon. During Lent, our church is looking at the various roles of God. Her sermon was a contemplation of God as creator.
It reminded me of an obscure song by the Apollas, "Mr. Creator." Although not quite on message with Pastor Rebekah's sermon, I couldn't get the tune out of my head. And so I share it with you.
The song was written by Nickolas Ashford and Valerie Simpson. It was recorded by the Apollas in 1968. The Apollas were supposed to be Warner Bros.' answer to the Supremes. After three years and eight singles, though, the group failed to chart and disbanded in 1968.
That's not the end of the story, though. In the late 1960s a new dance movement emerged in Northern England. it was called Northern Soul. And its soundtrack was obscure soul singles British DJs brought over from the States.
By the mid 1970s. "Mr. Creator" had become a Northern Soul classic (which is how I first discovered it). It can be found on several Northern Soul compilation.
So does this have anything to do with Pastor Rebekah's message? Well, perhaps. Consider these lyrics:
The one who rules the earth and the sky,
You can change my loneliness in the twinkling of an eye.
Mr. Creator, I know you have a lot to do
I hope my problem isn't too small for you.
For God the Creator, can any problem be too small -- or too large?
- Ralph Graves
OPC Communications Team Leader
A Pastor's Playlist
This summer I have been preaching on each verse of the hymn "For the Beauty of the Earth." But did you know that I have been using other songs for inspiration as well? Here is my summer 2021 sermon playlist!
I have been thoroughly enjoying working with the OPC choir. We were working hard to prepare "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus" which would've been the choir special for the March 29 service. I also have been enjoying organ lessons, and was working towards preparing a romantic French piece composed by Vierne, which also would've been the prelude for the March 29 service.
I am feeling the weight of our inability to be together, and I miss collaborating with the choir to share music. However, instead of discussing "would haves" and "could haves", I'd like to mention some exciting things for up ahead!
With the switch to online school, I've been provided with more downtime to plan and research. I will be excited to resume practicing organ, because I have found beautiful pieces I'd like to learn and share with you all.
I have started a virtual "listening party series" that allows me to talk about some of my favorite composers / works of music through Zoom once a week. If you're interested in joining us, please find the information in the upcoming email memos.
I'm also eager to plan for services up ahead and hope to include some choir selections that I will personally arrange. If you'd like to learn more about how you can contribute to the musical culture of OPC, please reach out any time!
- Chelsea Holt