By now, you should have received our 2017-2018 Music Season booklet. September marks the beginning of this new season, and I encourage you to look through the booklet and plan which events you would like to attend. Our first special event will be Evensong on October 8, featuring the Cathedral Choir, the choir of St. Stephen's in Brewton, and their organist/choirmaster, Jason Beasley. Evensong will be held regularly throughout the season, so please take advantage of this opportunity to worship in a distinctly musical and meaningful way.
When I think of September, my thoughts turn toward Rally Day and the beginning of rehearsals. Year by year, we go to work in the fields of liturgy and music to create beauty for services, special events, and other celebrations as the need arises. We are blessed by the gifts of our benefactors and the efforts of our choir members, instrumentalists, and administration to be able to look at each year as an exciting opportunity to reach higher in our goals for worship at the cathedral. In my years as a musician both within and outside of the church, I have learned something that I believe with more certainty the longer I live: there is always a way to delve deeper and more honestly into one's craft, art form, or passion.
As liturgical Christians, we observe the same feasts, holidays, and themes every year. Although we are on a three-year cycle of readings, the principal rhythms of our worship remain the same. However, each year the music ministry schedules new anthems and instrumental pieces, and quite a bit of new music is composed. I sometimes wonder why there is this drive to constantly look upon the same themes with new light, but then I remember that liturgy itself is an art; there is no way to ever "get to the bottom" of the mysteries we celebrate in prayer, word, and song each week-there are only infinite ways to gain a new perspective.
For those of us who have been in a liturgical church for some time, the rhythm of the church year, the familiarity of the same readings, and the traditional songs for certain days have, in a very real way, shaped our framework of thought toward God and the world. For those of us who are new to this type of worship, we are able to take hold of the structured litany inherent in this brand of religion and begin to build upon its foundation. Our music, much like a homily, has the ability to both reinforce this traditional structure and give us a different way of seeing it.
This music season will bring many familiar events like All Saints' Sunday, Advent Lessons and Carols, and Christmas Eve, but your musicians have been hard at work to make these things come alive in new ways this year. As a musician, I can play a good piece of music (especially Bach) for years and think I know all there is to it, but one day I will hear something new and wonder why I am only just now hearing it! The music didn't change; I did. There is a famous quote by C. S. Lewis, "[Prayer] doesn't change God-it changes me." I wonder how we will be changed over the course of the 2017-2018 Season at Christ Church Cathedral. What familiar things will we experience as if it were the first time? You are invited to journey with us as we delve deeper and more honestly into the passion of our faith.