Category Archives: Music

Bell Choir Special: “Ascensius”

From the bell choir:

In recognition of Black History Month, the bell choir is playing an arrangement of the spiritual He Arose. The tune’s name is “Ascensius” a version of “ascensus,” meaning to climb or rise. The lyrics to this spiritual include the first verse “They crucified my Savior and nailed Him to the cross… And the Lord will bear my spirit home.” And the refrain “He arose, he arose, he arose from the dead! … And the Lord will bear my spirit home.

The Chancel Choir is Back!

The chancel choir is back! The first practice was Wednesday, September 7, 2022. It looks like we’re out of space, but don’t worry, if you want to join in we will make more room. Amy Rosine, the new choir director, and I are both committed to always having room for one more.

Additional Copies of Worship and Song

At present we don’t have very many copies of Worship and Song (the green songbook). We would like to have enough copies to place them in the pews throughout the sanctuary. For that reason the Memorials Committee is inviting people to donate a copy in memory of someone they love for $12. We hope to have someone in the narthex/lobby with bookplates you can fill out this coming Sunday.

Find Us Faithful Lyrics

Clark Williamson, director of music ministries, has asked me to share the following:

For the special music this Sunday, I’ve invited Nick Wright to return and play a flute solo. The selection is called “Find Us Faithful,” an arrangement by Stan Pethel. The words and music are by Jon Mohr. The lyrics are so inspirational, I’d be remiss if I didn’t share them with you.

We’re pilgrims on the journey of a narrow road.
And those who’ve gone before us line the way.
Cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary.
Their lives a stirring testament to God’s sustaining grace.

Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses.
Let us run the race not only for the prize.
But as those who’ve gone before us.
Let us leave to those behind us.

The heritage of faithfulness, passed on through godly lives.

Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful.
May the fire of our devotion light their way.
May the footprints that we leave, lead them to believe.
And the lives we live inspire them to obey.
Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful.

After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone.
And our children sift through all we’ve left behind.
May the clues that they discover, and the memories they uncover.
Become the light that leads them, to the road we each must find. (Chorus)

(CCLI license #811889)

Hallelujah Chorus

The following was received from Clark Williamson:

On Easter Sunday at the 10:30 service, we will end with the traditional choral benediction, Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus”.   Our Chancel Choir invites all singers from the congregation to walk up and join them at that point in singing this classic piece of music.  I will have extra copies of music to share with the volunteers.  For the source of accompaniment, we’ll be using a music CD.  If you would like to practice the music ahead of time with the group:  please attend our choir practice on Wednesday, March 23rd at 7:00 pm or Easter morning at 10:10 am in the sanctuary or just come on up at the close of the worship service.   Thanks, Clark Williamson, Director of Music Ministries

Behind the Music

Sheet MusicThe following post was contributed by Clark Williamson, Director of Music Ministries:

The John Wesley Bell Choir will wrap up their ringing season this Sunday with a musical offering of a song made popular in 2002 by Josh Groban, “You Raise Me Up”.  Arranger Sandra Eithun orchestrates the usual handbells with hand chimes but this time adds two percussion instruments to the mix:  wind chimes and suspended cymbal.  The bell choir finale is also inter-generational.  The ensemble has been blessed with the participation of Liz Collins, Rae Schwarting, and Austin Mather ringing with the adults.

During the interludes between major sections of the prelude, if you listen closely, you’ll detect short phrases from the sacred hymn, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”.  The original music for “You Raise Me Up” was composed by Rolf Lovland, from Norway.  He teamed up with Irishman Brendan Graham for the lyrics.  There are places in the words of both songs where God is at work to create signs of hope and encouragement when everyday life puts hurdles in the path of our faith journey.

“You raise me up so I can stand on mountains,
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas.
I am strong when I am on your shoulders.
You raise me up to more than I can be.”  …

“…Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.
All I have needed thy hand hath provided,
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!”

I Want Jesus to Walk With Me

Sheet MusicThe following was received from Clark Williamson, Director of Music Ministries and lightly edited:

On Sunday, March 8, 2015, our John Wesley Bell Choir will play Tammy Waldrop’s arrangement of “I Want Jesus to Walk with Me”.   The ringers use both handbells and hand chimes during this prelude.  The music creates a very rhythmic and soulful setting of a popular spiritual based on the hymn tune “Sojourner.”  Special effects heard during the piece include:  bells struck with mallets, thumb damps, gyros, shakes, vibrato, and martellato (bumping the bell against the cushion).  This song is found in The United Methodist Hymnal on page 521.  The mood and theme of the spiritual is quite a plaintive plea for change, for redemption, and relates very well for the preparatory season of Lent. Here are some of the lyrics of the text:

“I want Jesus to walk with me.
I want Jesus to walk with me.
All around my pilgrim journey,
Lord, I want Jesus to walk with me.
In my trials, Lord walk with me.
When my heart is almost breaking,
Lord, I want Jesus to walk with me.
When I’m troubled, Lord walk with me.
When my head is bowed in sorrow,
Lord, I want Jesus to walk with me.”

Musically Speaking

The following post was received from Clark Williamson and lightly edited:

Special music for the month of December, 2014 is as follows:

December 7: Our Hope Is in Emmanuel by the Chancel Choir; Light a Candle by Lori Mitchell.

December 14: Vocal Duet by Ward and Lisa Turnbull; Coventry Carol by the Handbell Trio; Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus by the Chancel Choir.

December 21: Christmas Carol Medley by the Handbell Quartet; The Hands That First Held Mary’s Child by the Chancel Choir. (There is room for additional special music this Sunday)

December 28: To Be Announced

Sheet MusicWe currently have space available for additional special music during services on Sunday, December 7th and 21st. If you have a solo or duet for voices or instruments, please let me know. If you are interested in joining the choir short term during the holidays, you are welcome to participate now through Christmas Eve. Rehearsals are downstairs in Wright Hall on Wednesday evenings from 7:00-8:15 p.m. The choir anthems are performed at the 10:30 worship service with a warm-up practice at 10:10.

Our Handbell Trio has been diligently practicing for 4 weeks in preparation to ring for the Ladies Brunch on Saturday, December 6th, sponsored by the Arts Council of Dickinson County. The ensemble is comprised of Judy Hilton, Sandy Sleichter, and Jodie Austin. They will be part of 4 musical acts of entertainment. The venue is the Eisenhower Library Courtyard. Each of the 3 handbell ringers is responsible for 8-12 bells, which is quite a formidable feat. They do normal ringing technique and also strike bells with mallets. We will have the privilege of hearing them play one of their pieces during the worship service on Sunday, December 14th.

On Sunday, December 7th, I will lead a group in Christmas caroling. This is a family event and all are welcome. Please meet in the church parking lot by 3:00 p.m. We will car pool and hand out directions for our caroling convoy to sing at the home of various members of the church. Many of our members are homebound due to illness, recent surgeries, or just in need of TLC because they’re grieving the loss of a loved one. Look for a sign-up sheet at the card signing station in the narthex in the upcoming weeks.

Music Matters

The following post was received from Clark Williamson:

We welcome the John Wesley Bell Choir this Sunday as they ring for the first time in the Fall music schedule.  They will be playing Cynthia Dobrinski’s arrangement of “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise”; one of the more familiar traditional hymns incorporating the ST DENIO tune, a melody originating in Wales, United Kingdom.  The prelude music is full of big vertical walls of sound, lush chords which allow more ringers to be active at the same time.  The melody also goes through several transformations using variation techniques where the congregation will hear handbells shaking quickly, bumped against the cushions, and LV (let vibrate) to overlap sounds.  In 1867 Walter Chalmers Smith based the first stanza of lyrics on the passage from 1Timothy 1:17.  “Immortal, invisible, God only wise; in light inaccessible hid from our eyes, most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days, almighty, victorious, thy great name we praise.”

Sheet MusicAlso on World Communion Sunday, our Chancel Choir will be singing the anthem “And Can It Be” which includes original music composed by Dan Forrest (2014) and lyrics by Charles Wesley (1738).  “Amazing love!  How can it be that thou, my God, shouldst die for me?”  Wesley’s text is very moving and challenges us to realize the sacrifice that Christ made for us on the cross. This is a very beautiful choral work in the way the vocal lines are developed, and how the music builds in intensity, plus the lovely piano accompaniment.  Nobody has a boring part in this piece.  It’s an anthem that both begins and ends quietly which calls for an audible Amen from the congregation rather than applause.