Crystal ball, Feb-March 2018

Crystal ball, by J Waterhouse. Image Wikimedia commons

This ‘sticky’ post is intended for South Woden readers. Scroll down for weekly blog posts.

Subject to the choices of worship leaders, here are ideas for the opening months of 2018.

21 Jan, Ps 62. As explained in the recent post for this week, 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.

28 Jan, Ps 111. Our choice is adapted from a Marty Haugen refrain, with tone for the verses from New Century Hymnal — unashamedly replacing “the fear of God …” with: “To honour God is the beginning of wisdom”.

4 Feb, Ps 147. TiS 92 has not been sung at SWUC for some time, it seems; so, encouraged by the fact that it’s from the safe hands of John Bell, we should do it.

11 Feb, Ps 50. Psalms for All Season 50B(alt) or 50C seem to win the vote here — but subject to the plan from the Carers who lead today.

18 Feb, Ps 25 (Lent). Following an apparent trend to sing from the ‘Red Book’, we turn to TiS 14. Safe hands again, this time Christopher Willcock.

25 Feb, Ps 22. A young women’s group will lead us in TiS 727 with variations, In the presence of your people.

Psalm 51

Detail of voice entries to Psalm 51:20 by Lassus

4 Mar, Ps 19. TiS 7 is another somewhat neglected setting. Such neglect has been in a good cause, however; International Women’s Day which lands about this date has been duly and appropriately recognised with songs by women such as the inimitable Hildegard von Bingen.

11 Mar, Ps 107. Trying agin for a three-part refrain by Everett from The Emergent Psalter. We need leaders for the three parts.

18 Mar Ps 51 (or 119). The Lassus setting of this much-used and central Penitential Psalm is probably beyond our reach. The choice may be one of the many offered in PFAS.

25 Mar, Ps 118 and 31. Our young women’s group takes us back to Paul Stookey’s Building Block, assisted by stalwarts Brian and Bette.

  • * * * * *

Aspiring psalm singers from local churches or Woden valley communities are welcome to join. Apply webmaster via the email shown at left or contact page.

Crystal Ball Advent 2017

Crystal ball, by J Waterhouse. Image Wikimedia commons

This ‘sticky’ post is intended for South Woden readers. Scroll down for weekly blog posts.

Subject to the choices of worship leaders, what is in store?

  • 12 Nov. Psalm 78. Listen to my teaching; see the post for this psalm published recently. Chorus meet early Sunday.
  • 19 Nov. PFAS 123A suggested – draw a copy of the blue book from the SWUC library. Webmaster is away this week and next; (Stephen leads)
  • 26 Nov. Psalm 100 (Bruce leads)
    • The Old 100th is the traditional approach, TiS59;
    • however the next song in TiS 60, for which sung verses are in the TiS music edition, is preferred.
    • There are many, many choices in the mix of cultural tastes in PFAS 100A to H in our library.
    • Some of the SATB setting by Josquin des Prez would be inspirational if singers are available. We sang it three yers ago!
  • 3 Dec. Advent begins with Psalm 80. PFAS 80A ‘Restore us again’ with word-sheet on Dropbox library would fill the bill nicely again. Verse singers volunteer please.
  • 10 Dec. Go direct to Psalm 85 and the SWUC Communion chant, adapted.
  • 17 Dec. We omit Psalm 126 in favour of a carols and readings service which appropriately includes the Magnificat, led by women and young people. Ladies please note the date.
  • 24 Dec. The Magnificat is the Lectionary song on this date. So;
    • repeat it, or
    • take up Psalm 126 from last week
    • Ps 89 is also set, for which TiS 46 by Christopher Willcock is the choice.
    • We’ll try for a male voice rendition of another Slavonic Orthodox chant, Psalm 126. Men, note the date.

[Note: No. We are going for Ps 98, Sing a new song! – Ed.]

  • The geese are getting fat. More anon…

Singers are needed on many occasions. Rehearsals are @5:00pm on the Saturday before, as usual.

Crystal Ball; Oct ’17 and Advent.

Crystal ball, by J Waterhouse. Image Wikimedia commons

This ‘sticky’ post is intended for South Woden readers.

Scroll down for an important notice at the end of this post.

The year has flown and the Crystal Ball tells me that October is nearly here, which means Year B is coming down the track. So, subject to the choices of worship leaders, what is in store?

  • 1 Oct. We start with Psalm 78:1-4, 12-16, and TiS41. As we did on 10 Sep, all sing as a congregational antiphonal; the two sides sing alternating lines.
  • 8 Oct. Psalm 19 (‘Let the words of my mouth‘) comes up. TiS 7 is nice with a double tone. But habit prevails; we return to By the rivers of Babylon. Two verse cantors required.
  • 15 Oct. Psalm 106. A soloist leads us in PFAS 106A.
  • 22 OctPsalm 99:4 ‘O mighty God, lover of justice; it was you who created equity’  is the ‘long pole in the tent’ celebrating justice in the Psalter. It’s also the SWUC 50th anniversary. Party! Everett’s refrain in TEP is a good one but, since there are no verse tunes, we follow a local composition on that key verse 4.
  • 29 OctPsalm 90. The old favourite hymn O God our help in ages past, found at Together in Song 47 is an easy solution. The male voice quartet version of an Orthodox Slavonian chant is held over to next week.
  • 5 Nov. See above – an Orthodox chant. Could also to reprise the Psalm 107 setting in PFAS 107C (also in TEP) for three parts. It’s fun.
  • 12 Nov. Psalm 78. Maybe TiS 636, or revisit TiS 41 from 1 Oct.
  • 19 Nov. PFAS 123A suggested. Webmaster is away this week; leader required
  • 26 Nov. Old 100th, perhaps in TiS. Some of the SATB setting by Josquin des Prez if singers are available.
  • 3 Dec. Advent begins with Psalm 80. PFAS 80A would fill the bill.
  • 10 Dec. Go direct to Psalm 85 and the SWUC Communion chant, adapted.

Singers are needed on many occasions in October; we will recruit singers for Nov/Dec a little later. Rehearsals are @5:00pm on the Saturday before, as usual. Besides a chorus for refrains, we need:

  • Cantors for verses on 8, 15, 22 Oct. (REGISTER BELOW PLEASE)
  • All on deck for Anniversary 22 Oct.
  • Male voice group 22 and 29 Oct.

Crystal ball Aug-Sep 2017

Crystal ball, by J Waterhouse. Image Wikimedia commons

This ‘sticky’ post is for the information of South Woden readers.

Warm the cold weather with a tuneful and harmonious setting of the chosen psalm on coming Sundays. Subject to the decisions of the worship leader of the day, here’s Plan A:

  • 6 Aug: We are going with the alternative reading, Psalm 145. While we have a local composition available, our choice at SW will be the refrain in New Century Hymnal, with nice chord progressions and the opportunity for singers to add harmony. 
  • 13 Aug. A men’s quintet introduced my setting for 105 in fine form last week. We enjoy this same song and the same capable singers on 13 Aug, with a slightly different selection of verses. It comes up again on 3 and 24 Sep.
  • 20 Aug. Psalm 133 is one of those short and sweet songs of ascent. “How good it is when people live together in peace!” We turn to PFAS for a Spanish song (Miren que bono) that just begs us to move to the rhythm.
  • 27 Aug. Psalm 124. Most books use verse 1, ‘My help is in the name of God’, as a refrain. This is very suitable but present plan is to follow previous practice and sing ‘Guide my feet while I walk this path‘ to capture the idea of the psalm.
  • 3 Sep. Reprise of Psalm 105 by our male voices.
  • 10 Sep. The Psalm 149 in our book, TiS 95, is an opportunity for a traditional antiphonal approach, alternating phrases sung by sections of the congregation.
  • 17 Sep. PFAS 114C is attractive. However, in deference to the Resonants’ concert on Saturday evening, the requisite rehearsal time is problematical. Instead we turn to a home-grown paraphrase on the theme of our responsibility for the environment. Tune of the refrain will be taken from TiS 65. Singers welcome to meet Sunday morning early.
  • 24 Sep. You won’t believe it, but 105 pops up again. Thanks to the enthusiastic gentlemen presenting Psalm 105 (four times!) in those rich a cappella harmonies.

Crystal Ball, Apr-May 17

Crystal Ball

Crystal ball, by J Waterhouse. Image Wikimedia commons

Note: Another bulletin for South Woden members. Scroll down for weekly posts.

  • Psalm leaders are needed for this whole period.
  • Assuming leaders follow the Revised Common Lectionary and want to sing a psalm, here are weekly suggestions for April and May. 
  • Copies of PFAS in the Library, Helen has NCH, TEP available for download from churchpublishing.com. And anyway, you can always make up your own verse tone and refrain!

9 Apr. Liturgies are:

  1. Palms: Psalm 118, for which The Building Block by Paul Stookey is suitable.
  2. Passion: Psalm 31. PFAS 31C is a favourite that we have sung many times.

16Apr. Depending on the chosen liturgy, Psalm 118 and that building block come up again. A handy alternative is Together in Song 74.

23 Apr. Psalm 16. At this point three years ago, PFAS 16D was sung; it would be a fine choice again. (An enthusiastic quartet could also turn their attention to the Lassus motet, Benedicam Domino, three pages of nice SATB. All quite moderate and not too demanding … until the alto has a moment:ps16-lassus-moment

30 Apr. (John S in the lead.) In Dropbox sit two settings of Psalm 116: one is the PFAS version 116D, sung at Yarralumla as a small group three years ago. (Available but not published here for copyright reasons.) The second is for male voices in Eastern Orthodox style with chanted verses, enjoying the experimentation of harmonies changing under a lead voice on a monotone. PDF file here: Ps116 Orth.)

Initial decorated capital and text of verse 1, PSalm 23 in the Rutland Bible, c 1260. British Library MS 62965

Initial decorated capital and text of verse 1, PSalm 23 in the Rutland Bible, c 1260. British Library MS 62965

7 May. Psalm 23 arises again. Recommend a reprise of Paul Kelly’s Meet me in the middle of the air. If the team are available from singing El señor es mi pastor, PFAS 23I, a month ago, why not enjoy that again? If not, there are ten other settings in PFAS and dozens elsewhere.

14 May. Over the last few years for Psalm 31 we have used an excellent refrain from Psalms for All Seasons, 31C. Written by AnnaMae Meyer Bush, its four short phrases capture much of the wisdom of the Psalter: “My times are in your hands. You strengthen me in strife. My hope is in your word. Your love preserves my life.” Additionally, it’s worth a little rehearsal to learn the second (lower) echo part which adds to the musical delight.

21 May. PFAS again offers a good choice for Psalm 66, Cry out to God in joy, PFAS 66A. In our ‘red book’ TiS 36, All you nations sing out by Lucien Deiss, is a neglected but good alternative if you have a few singers who can read or learn the verses.

28 May. Psalm 68, which is akin to the previous week’s 66 in asking nations to sing with joy, concludes this two-month period of the web-master’s absence, posts having been scheduled long ago.

  • The setting in TiS 38 requires a sight-reader for the verses and some rehearsal,
  • PFAS has a possible responsorial setting in 68B.
  • Perhaps easier is a home-grown refrain that can be sung as a round (second entry, if only two parts, is at bar 3; or every bar if bravely designating more parts), the verses being chanted to a tone of choice (there are bunches of them in NCH and PFAS). We have sung this with the children:

ps68-refrainbol

Crystal Ball Feb-March 2017

Crystal ball, by J Waterhouse. Image Wikimedia commons

Crystal ball, by J Waterhouse. Image Wikimedia commons

Notes: (this will be a sticky post until next CB mid-March)

  • This series of Crystal Ball posts offers planning information for members of South Woden. Other followers around the world may skip this post — or think of us prayerfully.
  • Thanks to enthusiastic director Helen S and all singers who contributed so willingly and tunefully to music for the 50th Anniversary of South Woden UC, 12 February 2017.
  • South Woden warmly welcomes Gary and Mary-Anne Holdsworth who take up residence and ministry this week.

On 12 Feb we sang the first section Aleph of that longest psalm, no 119. Here are some suggestions for the weeks ahead (noting of course that Rev. Gary and other worship leaders may well choose different approaches to the psalm):

17 Feb. Induction service at Weston Creek for Rev. Gary Holdsworth. Brian, Bette and Brendan lead Psalm 118 with Paul Stookey’s The Building Block.

19 Feb. For Psalm 119e, we reprise the home-grown refrain for 119a sung so beautifully at the 50th Anniversary, refitting the tune with text from verse 33: Teach me the way of your statutes, and I shall keep it to the end.

26 Feb. I lean towards The New Century Hymnal and a short refrain for Psalm 2 by Carolyn Jennings (1994): “Happy are all who take refuge in God.”  Alternatives will be published in a post early that week. Male voices may convene for the last Sunday?

5 Mar. Gwenda leads us in a service that each year is proximate to and therefore celebrates International Women’s Day. In the past, we have recognised the day with women and girls singing songs by composers from Hildegard of Bingen to Sinead. On this occasion in 2017, instead of the psalm, Helen presents a Shaker song, Simple Gifts.

12 Mar. And now for something different: can you handle some Beatles? Psalm 121 says: I will lift up my eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. (v.1) So why not sing Help by Lennon and McCartney? An excellent alternative is PFAS 121D with sumptuous chord changes.

19 Mar. Two lively options for Psalm 95 are available in ‘the red book’ (Webmaster is absent this week):

  • TiS 52 is “Let us sing to the God of salvation”
  • TiS 53 is the Calypso Carol.

26 Mar. Psalm 23 without CRIMOND? Continue the tradition of male voices convening for the last Sunday and present the lilting Spanish song El señor es  mi pastor (My shepherd is the Lord), PFAS 23I.IMG_2346.JPG

2 Apr. Sinead’s chorus Out of the depths, with paraphrased verses to fit the song, will serve us well for Psalm 130. A volunteer cantor has kindly offered.

And then …

LEADERS are required for the months of April and May 2017 while the author is far from Canberra. Please consider acting as convener for a month at a time.

A full list of suggested songs will be published shortly on a forthcoming Crystal Ball. Resources can be provided on request.

Crystal Ball, June-July 2016

Crystal ball, by J Waterhouse. Image Wikimedia commons

Crystal ball, by J Waterhouse. Image Wikimedia 

Best laid plans, bare of commentary on musical options and based on the leader choosing the first reading listed in the lectionary, are as follows:

5 June: PFAS 146B, with Taizé refrain and first tone.

12 June: PFAS 5B (or 5C if the right singers are available)

19 June: Psalms 42-43, use song-sheet on Dropbox library to either the NCH refrain (if you have that book) or any other simple tune. PFAS has several suitable tunes, such as 43C.

26 June: I have not had a chance to adapt the Winter Solstice (southern hemisphere) refrain we used last year to this year’s Psalm 77. Perhaps The Emergent Psalter‘s ‘I call to mind your deeds’ would suffice. PFAS 77C looks fun for a winter’s day.

The inattentive visitor looking up at the vaulted cathedral of Siena might step on this simple but beautiful marble unawares. A wondering Mary?

3 July: Psalm 30, You turned my lament into dancing on Dropbox. A ladies’ group sang this in fine form not long ago so why not reconvene and reprise?

10 July: PFAS 82B, social justice to the fore

17 July: PFAS 52B — I am like a green olive tree (v.8)

24 July: The Betty Pulkingham tune at Together in Song 45; or PFAS 85B, another Taizé refrain (Dona nobis pacem, not the one in our book TiS which could also be used) and nice song (best for a sight-reader). See earlier post on Psalm 85 for the SW home-grown song.

There are alternatives of course, a few hymns but very few responsorial songs in Together in Song for set psalms over this period save the one mentioned. The Emergent Psalter always offers a thoughtful and singable tune, but you need to make up your own tune or tone for the verses.

South Woden singers  Continue reading