Church Stories

, MusicChurch Starts Early
June 26, 2018

Church Starts Early

Written by: Julia Smolucha

We are so blessed with musical wisdom and talent. This Sunday we will receive Susan Klotzbach’s gift in a very special prelude to honor our Independence Day observance and commitment to faith. You will want to arrive five minutes before the hour to hear the complete prelude she will offer at the 10 a.m Summer Worship. Here is the background on the composition from Susan Klotzbach:

In thinking about the upcoming Independence Day celebrations, this might be the perfect time to reflect on our land from the earliest days—in fact, before it was a country.  The people who lived in this land struggled with many issues, and one of those was religious freedom.  There were a variety of ways that people lobbied for what they believed should be their rights and freedoms, using words, protests, and even facing death for what they believed should be allowed in this land.

We continue to be a country of thought and protests.  Perhaps that is what makes America such a unique and treasured place!

American Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Ned Rorem wrote a set of organ pieces called the Quaker Reader.  Two of the movements from his collection are our prelude on Sunday.  Ned Rorem’s program note about these two pieces follows:

“Mary Dyer did hang as a flag for others to take example by,” said General Atherson, one of her persecutors.

Only in America did Quakers ever receive outright death sentences, as opposed to prison terms.  In Mary Dyer of Rhode Island Horatio Rogers describes that woman’s career of fighting for liberty of worship.  She never gave up, never offered the public repentance which might have saved her, and died on the gallows of Boston Common one June morning in 1660.  Everywhere is a whir of wind, the ever-weakening C-sharp pedal trill depicting the entrechat spasm of the martyr’s feet, and her silent scream. —Ned Rorem

The next offering will be gentler, leading us into worship:

“There is a Spirit That Delights to Do No Evil…” —from the dying words of James Naylor 1660

Ned Rorem writes, “This piece comes from a little tune, on a George Peel poem, composed in Paris twenty-two years ago.  A fragment of the tune was later used in my Prayers and Responses.  Today it is bestowed as a balm to James Naylor who perished so painfully in London the same year as Mary Dyer in Boston.”