Organ Dedication

Organ Dedication Program
Organ Dedication Homily Text

We dedicated our new organ this Sunday. The full program recording is below. It was wonderful having Mr. Loomer. You won’t get the stereo sound out of our recording, which is why you should have been there. It was a good day.

Music Recital/Organ Fundraiser – Oct 5th @ 4 PM

I should have had this up much sooner, but I want to invite everyone to a great afternoon of music this Sunday at 4 PM. We at St. Mark are inching our way toward a new organ and some of our musical members (and some fabulous conscripts) have agreed to help out. The featured artists are the Vertex Saxophone Quartet. I’ll include their write up below, but they have a wonderful sound and you should come listen. Also on the program are the St. Mark’s choirs – adult and children. My amazing daughter with a friend of the congregation, and the Bare Bones Trombone Trio. As our organizer says, there will be plenty of kids around, so bring the family for an eclectic program of music.

Recital program


The Vertex Saxophone Quartet has been performing in the Rochester area since it’s founding in 2009. All four members are graduates of the Eastman School of Music. Dr. Chisato Eda Marling is on faculty at both Nazareth and Houghton Colleges and is a Vandoren Performing Artist. Mrs. Kristin Bayer is the saxophone instructor for Eastman Community Music School. Dr. Mark Kraszewski is the Jazz Studies professor at the University of Rochester, and Mrs. Nancy Boone-Bahr is a faculty member at the prestigious Hochstein School of Music.

Upcoming performances for Vertex include a recital in Wilmot Hall at Nazareth College on Sunday October 19th at 3:00pm. The quartet is also recording at the Hochstein Performance Hall on Wednesday November 5th at 12:10pm as part of WXXI’s Live from Hochstein recital series. Both concerts are free and open to the public.

Gaudete Sunday – Special Guests


The 3rd Sunday of Advent used to be called Gaudete Sunday. The Sundays used to be named by the first words of the introit (the entrance chant/reading) which were initially in Latin. Gaudete means rejoice. So, depending upon the parish you were a part of as not every parish did the same thing, Gaudete was often given over to a musical celebration – a rejoicing to the Lord with song.

We have continued, or tried to continue, that in various ways. This year we have a saxophone quartet who will be sharing some of the music of the season. They will be playing at the start or prelude to service, a bit during the offertory and then postlude. So, I just want to invite you to come a bit early to get a seat, and plan on sticking around for a little while after service.

(And Kristin, if you’ve got a better photo than my cheesy photoshop, send it along.)

Instead of an Organist/The adaptability of Hymns

The hymn being sung is Blessed Jesus at Your Word LSB 904 [or Dearest Jesus we Are Here LSB592 the baptismal hymn].

German to English to African French. Acapella to piano to organ to drums. The Word translates. The Word incarnates within cultures. My only question would be what those African Seminarians think of that hymn. Do they see it now as part of their heritage, or is it something still alien or imposed? Hymns are or should be simple enough to ‘go native’ or become thought of as part of my heritage in my tongue. The cultural content of say pop-music or Hollywood or anything that tries to ape them is much higher. You either take it as an invading culture or you leave it. Its hard to translate Lady Ga Ga.

A phrase left hanging….

My daughter’s violin school was invited to play with the RIT Orchestra in a Halloween concert today. It was of course very cute to see 30 costumed elementary students with violins playing ‘Go Tell Aunt Rhody’ backed by the RIT students.

But that is not the real point. The conductor, a Dr. Michael Ruhling, gave a great little historical-musical introduction to each piece they played. After the cute kids were off stage, the orchestra turned to two other Halloween-y pieces: Danse Macabre by Camille Saint-Saens and some movements from Mussorgsky/Ravel Pictures at an Exhibition. His introduction for each commented on a major theme in each. In each the dead/undead/witch/evil builds and is given free reign, but in each it is cut short and more or less immediately goes away. In Saint-Saens the oboe(?) sounds the cocks crow signaling the dawn and the end of the harrowing. In Mussorgsky the witch Baba Yaga is cut off, one movement just ends and moves into the next, which is much grander and was meant to represent the Church bells ringing and the Great Gate of Kiev. Dr. Ruhling said the music was comforting in that the evil builds, but in each only for a short time, and he left that hanging.

He didn’t answer the why. Why does the evil in the music not over-run all? Why does it stop and stop immediately? Its just left hanging why two great pieces of music that get at truth say the same thing. Matt 24:22 – “In fact, unless that time of calamity is shortened, not a single person will survive. But it will be shortened for the sake of God’s chosen ones. (Mat 24:22 NLT)” 1 Cor 15:52 – “It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed. (1Co 15:52 NLT)” The tribulation is always cut short. Evil has no power in front of of the risen one. They are allowed to have their day, but never victory.

The true things, the beautiful things like that music, tell a story. We might ignore it or forget it, but it is there. Waiting to be told.