Both the vocal and bell choirs are pleased to present a wide variety of repertoire this Winter and Spring as we head out of Epiphany into the seasons of Lent and Easter.

The Bell Choir will in short order present two adaptations of the African-American spiritual. The first of which, presented this past Sunday, is entitled “Abide with Me.” This song was originally written by William H. Monk and is now a standard in churches across the United States. This particular arrangement is by the iconic handbell arranger Susan Geschke and showcases the bell choir’s virtuosity through complex rhythmic elements that are passed around the choir. Secondly, as part of the celebration of communion in the month of February, the bell choir will perform an arrangement of the spiritual “Let us break bread together on our knees,” arranged by Al Fisk. More of a chorale setting, this arrangement will feature the many colors of the bell ensemble with intricate harmonies and chromaticism that support the underlying famous melody. Finally, to conclude our Spring season, the bell choir will perform an arrangement of “My Jesus, I love thee,” by Patricia Cota during Easter.

The vocal choir looks forward to presenting two major works in quick succession prior to the beginning of the Lenten season. We will first sing a setting of “Veni Sancte Spiritus” (“Come Holy Spirit, come”) by Mozart, a playful and charming arrangement of this often-set text. The following week, our offering will be the iconic Cantique de Jean Racine by Gabriel Faure, a rare instance of sacred French music written in the vernacular. As we enter Lent, the energy-level of our music will decrease, and we will present a wide variety of reflective repertoire that explores the African-American spiritual, eastern European music, and more standard canonic music from the western classical tradition. The Easter season begins with some celebratory choruses from the Easter section of Messiah by George Frederic Handel and continues in that vein with two settings of praise texts, “O Praise the Lord,” by American composer Amy Beach and “Cantate Domino,” (“Sing to God”) by the German composer Hans Leo Hassler.

The music ministry at First United very much looks forward to continuing to contribute to a meaningful worship experience for our members.

Eric Meincke

Music Director