How hard could it be to write a unison choral piece? How about a piece for unrehearsed singers—not a choir— who get only one shot at it?
Well, that’s much of church music, the congregational singing part of it, anyway. I’ve written many hymns for just this situation, but with those you at least get multiple verses to figure things out. With service music, such as a Mass, you go though it once and, until a week later, that’s it.
The Association of Anglican Musicians commissioned me to write music for the Closing Eucharist of their National Conference in Philadelphia, June 17–22, 2012. I completed it about a month and a half ago, and after field-testing and tweaking, sent the unison congregation part to the printer yesterday for inclusion in the bulletin.
The Mass for Philadelphia will be sung during the Closing Eucharist, 3:30 pm Thursday, 21 Jun 2012, at St. Luke and The Epiphany, Philadelphia. Assisting in the congregational singing will be a massed children’s choir from churches in the greater Philadelphia area. The Mass is for unison congregation, organ, and optional cantor and descant.
Actually, the congregation for this premiere will be mostly musicians, of course, and will include many fine singers (or those like me, who are just bold singers), but we’re hoping for this to be the start of many more opportunities for its use by all sorts of churches, big and small. I’ll also be an exhibitor at the Conference, bringing along lots of my choral music, including full scores of this Mass.
My deepest thanks to Phillip and Heather Shade and the AAM.