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Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States

Sunday, June 12, 2005

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Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Epiphany service

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It was a lovely service. Some say that worship ought to engage all the senses, and tonight's Epiphany Procession managed three of five -- the sight of the candlelight procession, the smell of incense, and the glorious sounds of hymns, carols, and canticles.

The cantor (seen at right) performed his part adequately, despite having to juggle a music book, a pitch pipe, and a lit candle, while also beating time during the polyphonic parts, and wondering whether standing in the exhaust of the thurible would adversely affect his voice. (It didn't.)

My fellow wise men (James Lawrence, Gary Leff, and Brad Wilson) did a splendid job singing Palestrina's responsories, and the Trinity Choir was likewise splendid as they performed "The Noble Stem of Jesse" (another English paraphrase of the German carol better known as "Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming"), "Eastern Monarchs, Sages Three", "Ab Oriente" by Jacob Handl.

It was a treat to hear Fred Graves, retired professor of theatre at the University of Tulsa, read the the third lesson (Matthew 2:1-9), with his beautiful diction and warm tone. I got to know Fred during his years of service as newsletter editor for the Florence Park neighborhood association and as their representative to the Midtown Coalition of Neighborhood Associations. (He retired from that a few years ago and is still hoping to see the younger folk in the neighborhood step forward to get the association going again.)

The hymns told the story of the wise men and their gifts: "The First Nowell", "We Three Kings" (which tells the spiritual significance of the three gifts), "As with Gladness Men of Old", "What Star Is This, with Beams So Bright." The recessional hymn, "Hail to the Lord's Anointed," shifts our focus from the babe in the manger to Christ, the conquering king:


Kings shall bow down before him,
and gold and incense bring
all nations shall adore him,
his praise all people sing;
to him shall prayer unceasing
and daily vows ascend;
his kingdom still increasing,
a kingdom without end.

O'er every foe victorious,
he on his throne shall rest;
from age to age more glorious,
all blessing and all blest:
the tide of time shall never
his covenant remove;
his Name shall stand for ever,
his changeless Name of Love.


Missing from the service was David Rollo, who is in the hospital. David is the musical director of the Coventry Chorale, a member of the Trinity Choir, and retired vocal music teacher at Holland Hall. David taught a lot of folks in this town to sing and to love singing (me included). As you read this, please take a minute to offer a prayer for his speedy and full recovery. Thanks.

Monday, December 20, 2004

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