Psalm of Celebration
Nick Glennie-Smith (arr. Jay Rouse):
Mansions of the Lord
William H. Monk (arr. Moses Hogan):
Abide With Me
Walking ’Cross the Sea (Soloist: Gary Miller)
Traditional (arr. R. Staheli):
I Feel Like I’m On My Journey Home
Sure on This Shining Night
Speak, Lord, in the Stillness
Z. Randall Stroope:
Go Lovely Rose
John the Revelator
O Nata Lux
Harry Dixon Loes (attrib.; arr. Mark Hayes):
I'm Gonna Let It Shine (This Little Light of Mine)
Hymn and Prayer for Peace
The Don Thompson Chorale, Inc., a non-profit volunteer community chorus in Jacksonville, Florida, was formed in 1995 after a Florida Junior College Chorale reunion concert in December, 1994. That event brought Mr. Thompson's former singers together "one last time," or so they thought. After a warm reception by an appreciative and enthusiastic audience, members of the reunion choir were hooked. They promised their director they would organize a choral group and name it after him if he would agree to lead them on an ongoing basis. Thompson selected a governing Board of Directors, which met and developed a vision for the group. One of their collective dreams was "to be flooded with so many applications for membership and invitations to perform that we are unable to accept them all." With 19 years of rehearsals, performances, and recordings under its belt, the group is realizing this dream.
Based in Kansas City, Missouri, Mark Hayes is an award-winning composer, arranger, concert pianist and conductor with over 1000 publications in print. Drawing inspiration from Psalm 98, his Psalm of Celebration was commissioned by the Southern Baptist Church Music Conference. It features a contrapuntal "Alleluia" that brings the piece to an exciting conclusion.
Originally written for the 2002 film We Were Soldiers, the text for the patriotic anthem Mansions of the Lord was written by screen-writer Randall Wallace (b.1949) and set to the music by English film composer Nick Glennie-Smith (b.1951). Two years later it was performed by U.S. Armed Services musicians at the funeral of President Ronald Reagan, and soon thereafter this choral version for the general public was prepared by Jay Rouse, who, with over 350 published compositions and arrangements, is considered among the "premier choral arrangers in Christian music."
The text of the popular Christian hymn Abide with Me was written in 1847 by the Scottish Anglican clergyman Henry Francis Lyte three weeks before he succumbed to tuberculosis. Although Lyte also provided a tune for his poem, it is best-known through the 1861 setting written by English composer William Henry Monk (1823-1889) to a tune called "Eventide." American composer and choral director Moses Hogan (1957-2003) made this arrangement for unaccompanied mixed voices in 1999. Before succumbing to cancer, Hogan was much sought after as one of the world's leading interpreters of Spirituals. He arranged and conducted selections for the 1995 PBS television documentary, The American Promise, and his arrangements remain a staple of school, community and professional choirs.
Pepper Choplin describes himself as a "full time composer, conductor and humorist," and has been music minister at Greystone Baptist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, for more than two decades. His more than 230 anthems, 13 cantatas and solo piano music reflect his diverse musical background, incorporating folk, Gospel, classical and jazz styles. Walking ’Cross the Sea is a bluesy rock-Gospel song that depicts the Bible story of Peter joining Jesus in a walk across stormy waters.
Dr. Ronald Staheli is the Choral and Conducting Division Coordinator and the Director of Graduate Studies in Choral Music at Brigham Young University in Salt Lake City, Utah. His beautiful I Feel Like I’m On My Journey Home is an a cappella setting of the American folk hymn The Saints' Delight first published in an 1835 collection called Southern Harmony, and again in 1860 as an organ piece in The Sacred Harp.
Morten Lauridsen (b. 1943) has been a professor of composition at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music for more than 40 years. He likely is the most-performed American composer of choral music worldwide, and his works have been included on over 200 CDs. The National Endowment for the Arts named him an "American Choral Master" in 2006, and the following year he received the National Medal of Arts "for his composition of radiant choral works combining musical beauty, power and spiritual depth." Sure on this Shining Night, the third of Lauridsen's four Nocturnes (2005), is a setting of the 1934 poem by American author James Agee (1909-1955), made familiar by Samuel Barber's famous song.
Romanian-born composer György Orbán (b. 1947) has been professor of composition at the Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest, Hungary since 1983, and in 2014 was awarded the Kossuth Prize, the most prestigious cultural award bestowed by the Hungarian government. His compositions are almost exclusively choral works described as mixing "traditional liturgical renaissance and baroque counterpoint with intrusions from jazz." That being said, Orbán's gentle setting of the liturgical Nunc Dimittis for unaccompanied mixed voices is unabashedly Romantic in its sensibility.
Nunc dimittis servum tuum, Domine,
secundum verbum tuum in pace:
Quia viderunt oculi mei salutare tuum
Quod parasti ante faciem
Lumen ad revelationem gentium,
et gloriam plebis tuae Israel.
English (Book of Common Prayer, 1662):
Lord, now lettest thou Thy servant depart
in peace according to Thy word:
For mine eyes have seen Thy salvation,
Which Thou hast prepared before the face
of all people;
To be a light to lighten the Gentiles,
and to be the glory of Thy people Israel.
André Thomas (b. 1952) is the Owen F. Sellers Professor of Music, Director of Choral Activities and Professor of Choral Music Education at The Florida State University, and the director of the Tallahassee Community Chorus. Dr. Thomas has directed choirs throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, New Zealand and Australia, and has been the guest conductor of such distinguished orchestras and choirs as the Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in England. Distinguished as a composer and arranger as well, he is also a past president of both the Florida American Choral Directors Association, and the Southern Division of ACDA. His spirited Rockin’ Jerusalem may sound like a traditional Spiritual, but it's actually an original composition from 1987 on a text by the composer.
David Schwoebel (b. 1957) is Minister at Derbyshire Baptist Church in Richmond Virginia, and has served as the Virginia ACDA Music & Worship Chair, and as an Adjunct Instructor of Music at Randolph-Macon College, Ashland, Virginia. In addition to choral music for all ages, his 150+ publications also include instrumental and keyboard works. Speak, Lord, in the Stillness was composed in 1992 for mixed voices and keyboard to verses adapted from a hymn text written in 1914 (and first published 1920) by E. (Emily) May Grimes Crawford (1868-1927), an English-born missionary in South Africa.
Z. Randall Stroope (b. 1953) is a popular American conductor, lecturer and composer whose 140+ published works typically sell over 200,000 copies a year. His conducting takes him all over the world, including recent engagements at the Kennedy Center and the Vatican. Stroope's Go Lovely Rose is a 2014 setting of a text by English poet and politician Edmund Waller (1606-1687), and is also available in a version just for men's voices.
According to the publisher, the traditional Gospel blues song John the Revelator "stems from the Delta Blues tradition, and was recorded by Blind Willie Johnson and Son House during the 1920s and 1930s." This arrangement by Paul Caldwell and Sean Ivory was commissioned by the ACDA Central Division's 2002 convention. Caldwell, Artistic Director of the Youth Choral Theater of Chicago, and Ivory, who directs a high school choir and the Symphony Youth Chorus in Grand Rapids, Michigan, began arranging music together in the 1990s while working with a youth choir in Grand Rapids and at the American Boychoir School in Princeton, New Jersey.
Winner of the 2006 Vanguard Premieres Choral Competition Contest, O Nata Lux by Guy Forbes is an appropriately luminous setting of an anonymous Latin text depicting "light breaking upon a darkened world," used liturgically for the the Feast of the Transfiguration. Dr. Forbes is a professor at Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois, where he conducts and tours with the Millikin Chamber Chorale.
Though it has the feel of a traditional children's hymn, the music of I'm Gonna Let It Shine (This Little Light of Mine) is attributed to Harry Dixon Loes (1895-1965). Working from an original arrangement of the tune for keyboard, in 2012 Mark Hayes developed it into a lively piece for mixed voices with either two or four-hand piano accompaniment, and featuring stylized vocals, with call and response interplay.
O nata lux de lumine,
Jesu redemptor saeculi,
Dignare clemens supplicum
Laudes precesque sumere.
Qui carne quondam contegi
Dignatus es pro perditis,
Nos membra confer effici
Tui beati corporis.
O Light born of Light,
Jesus, redeemer of the world,
with loving-kindness deign to receive
suppliant praise and prayer.
Thou who once deigned to be clothed in flesh
for the sake of the lost,
grant us to be members
of thy blessed body.
American composer, conductor and teacher Don Gillis (1912-1978) was the radio producer for Arturo Toscanini and the NBC Symphony Orchestra, and among other teaching posts he was professor/composer-in-residence at the University of South Carolina. Gillis was a prolific composer of opera, choral music, chamber music, and music for band and orchestra, including ten symphonies, plus "Symphony No, 5½, A Symphony for Fun," which became his best-known orchestral work. He wrote his own text for the 1958 Hymn and Prayer for Peace, which gained wide-spread exposure when The Mormon Tabernacle Choir included it on their 1962 album, Hymns And Songs Of Brotherhood.