Crystal Ball, to March 2021

Crystal Ball, by J Waterhouse. Wikimedia commons

During 2020, blog posts concentrated on selections during social isolation, often choosing songs readily to hand in Together in Song. As we emerge from this difficult phase, we may assume that some music, however limited, will be heard in gatherings once more.

[Notes in square brackets indicate arrangements, subject to Covid-19 situation, during the period leading up to the merger of St James and South Woden to form a combined congregation in the Woden Valley.]

3 Jan 21 (Year B), Ps 147:12-20. [Joint attendance at Yarralumla; no sung psalm anticipated.] A refrain from The Emergent Psalter has a catchy ring: ‘Jehovah with immeasurable wisdom calls each star by name’.

10 Jan, Ps 29. [GH hybrid.] Together in Song 17 is all about voices of God; the Willcock refrain ‘The Lord will bless his people with peace’, with a double tone for the verses, quotes the theme of peace that arrives in the last line of the psalm. PFAS 29D (refrain and an alternate available) is easier and just as pleasant; further, for simplicity the refrain tune may be used as the tone for verses.

A prayer for peace appears in the last line of Psalm 29. Graffiti on the Berlin Wall.

17 Jan, Ps 139:1-6, 13-18. [Hybrid, attendance and online, at Weston Creek. No sung psalm unless desired by WCUC.] Michael Card has a nice setting.

24 Jan, Ps 62:5-12. [At Pearce, closure service.] TiS 33 offers a nice refrain “Rest in God alone”, with verses sung to a double tone. Excellent potential for four-part harmony if singers are available and conditions allow. [Except that at the SWUC retrospective, a male voice quartet presents a couple of old favourites.]

31 JanPs 111. [Hybrid at Curtin.] Suggested: home-grown refrain, changing ‘fear’ to ‘honour’.

7 FebPs 147:1-11. [Hybrid last hurrah at Pearce, during which we reprise the quartet from 24 January; closure at St J.] Elsewhere, TiS 92 by John Bell might answer.

14 FebPs 50:1-6. [Commissioning of WVUC at Pearce.] The cantor will be presenting Psalms for All Season 50C, a song from the Iona Community and Wild Goose.

21 Feb (Lent 1), Ps 25:1-10. [Hybrid, Curtin.] Either (i) TiS 14, To you I lift my soul by Christopher Willcock; or, if singers are available (ii) a little swinging number on descending chords Dm, CΔ, Bb, A7.

[Note: arrangements from this date, including whether a psalm is sung, will be subject to joint planning and leadership deliberations in the newly merged Woden Valley congregations. Venue in March up to Good Friday is Pearce, then Curtin in April.]

28 Feb, Ps 22. [Curtin and Zoom, GH.] TiS 727 (a version in PFAS as 22A) In the presence of your people.

Floor tile in Sienna duomo; a song of Mary for IWD?

7 MarPs 19. [NO sung psalm at WVUC] TiS 7 (‘The sky tells the story of God’) and PFAS 19C (‘Through the witness of creation’ in a swinging 6/8) are good possibilities.

International Women’s Day, which lands near this date, might also be appropriately recognised with songs by women, a canticle such as the Magnificat and Hannah’s song, or a chant by Hildegard von Bingen.

14 Mar, Ps 107:1-3, 17-22. A three-part refrain by Everett from The Emergent Psalter may now be possible under improving conditions.

21 Mar, Ps 51 (or 119). The beautiful Lassus setting of this popular and central Penitential Psalm is beyond our reach. Many good and more modest settings are offered in PFAS. TiS 32 offers a setting by Willcock but it seems a little dated. PFAS 51G is better, either the first refrain with a fine message, or the alternate African ones.

28 Mar, Ps 118 and 31 [GH]. PFAS 31C, My times are in your hands, rolls out a series of four short but very apposite apothegms. A more folky song in Paul Stookey’s Building Block, with verses suitably paraphrased and scanned, also works very well.

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