St. James Music Blog

by Walt Sayre, Minister of Music

Hi Everyone, I wanted to take a few moments today to talk about the music at St. James, the part it plays in the worship service, and my part in choosing it each week. First and foremost, all of the music either sung or played is an offering to the glory of God. Every musical offering is designed to enhance the worship service. I choose different pieces that fit the mood of a specific part of the service, a specific Sunday, and the specific church season. The hymns are chosen according to a list published for each week of the church calendar. I look at the lyrics of the hymns first. The lyrics for each hymn should have something to do with either the Gospel reading, the Old or New Testament readings, and/or the church season.  I also make sure that the melody is pleasant and fairly easy to sing by the congregation. The service music is also chosen carefully by season.

I remember one Sunday in July years ago at another church when the bishop was visiting. In the bulletin there was a mistake of one number in one of the hymns. All of a sudden I realized that on July 7 we would soon be singing O Little Town of Bethlehem. I stood up and announced that fact and then announced the correct hymn number. The bishop just laughed.

In each church season I try to pick anthems from week to week that are different in tempo and style. My hope is that the congregation each week will be pleasantly surprised and engaged in beautiful sacred music.

In my last blog I promised to give you an update on the summer musical offerings.  In the first weeks of July we enjoyed the talents of Nancy Newton, Tori Dahl and Niambi Mercado. Then we heard from Dave Chandler's Keene Recorder Consort. Thank you all for sharing your gifts! 

Here is what I have coming in the next few weeks:

7/30 – All music at the service was written by George Gershwin.
8/6 – Theresa Ford, Kerry Ford and Bob Trebilcock playing and singing.
8/20 – Jonathan Daniel's Sunday featuring both the vocal and Bell Choirs

Hope to see you!