The music this Sunday is going to be everything you would expect for Easter - familiar hymns, big fanfares from our Trompette en chamades, and fine singing from the choir. This year, we are singing Handel's Hallelujah Chorus at the offertory. This is something Katie and I have always been reluctant to do, because this piece is so often performed (and often it tends to get sloppy). It would be easy to sing this chorus very loudly and without nuance. However, our choir has gotten to a point that they really can make musical nuance and coloring, and that is what we will bring to the Hallelujah Chorus. Because of the size of our group, we are taking a more energetic, lighter approach to the piece, and this is not without historical precedent. Messiah's world premier, in 1742, featured a choir of only 32 singers - not a small number, but vastly smaller than the 100-plus-member choirs that perform it today. While preparing the Hallelujah for Sunday, it has caused us to look through the many traditions, some hyperbole, and some "fluff" that surround this beloved piece - this is always the case with often-performed works. We have worked to try to capture the essence of what makes this piece work.
During communion, Maresa O'Connor will sing Mozart's Alleluia from Exsultate, jubilate. Composed when Mozart was just a teenager, this piece expresses the triumphant joy of Easter in all the ways one would expect, and even with a little humor (it is Mozart, after all). This piece was originally sung by castrati, but it is now, of course, sung by sopranos.
So, come worship with us this Sunday, and celebrate the biggest, most joyous Sunday of the year. Together, we celebrate Christ's resurrection - something we believe to be a reality everyday - something worth singing "hallelujah" about.