It was a real trip to be back in the pulpit yesterday, to see so many folks whom I have missed for three months.
The sermon, “Wisdom Tales,” focused on the Hindu deity Saraswathi, who symbolizes learning of all kinds–arts and sciences, prose and poetry, speech and music, crafts and book learning. She links intellectual learning with a connection to the natural world. She is one of the deities to whom I was especially drawn in India. And she’s a musician!
A delightful addition to the service was that my small vocal ensemble Loose Threads, provided much of the music, under the direction of Jenn Goodner and the able accompaniment of Live Oak’s Director of Music, Rebecca Maze. The first song, “Jerusalem,” is a traditional Irish melody in which parts of it were heterophonic.
Right–I had no idea what that means. We started with the chorus in unison, then sang ooh while a soloist sang the verses. The second and third chorus were heterophonic: One person started and the rest of us entered whenever we wanted to, at whatever tempo. It was a little bit like a canon but there were a dozen voices coming in at various times. One person was designated to be the last one to start the chorus, so she had to be extra attentive to what the rest of us were doing. As we sang we walked slowly in the aisles, so there was a real sense of movement, both literally and musically. All done a cappella. I’ve never heard (or sung) anything quite like it.
We sang Carly Simon’s “Let the River Run,” Elgar’s “As Torrents in Summer,” and closed with another a cappella piece called “Chasing the Northern Lights.” It ‘s all done on syllables like mamamamamamama or lalalalalalala or mohmohmohmohmoh. At times we hold a hand just in front of our mouths to “mute” the sound and other times we sing full voice. It has been tricky to learn and very ethereal in effect–like the Northern lights!
All of this was great practice for the Tapestry Singers concert this Saturday, May 7 (shameless plug). Loose Threads is a small part of Tapestry Singers. The concert is at 7:30 pm at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, near the intersection of Steck and Mesa.
Later that day I hosted the Bakery Jam–an informal bunch of musicians who love to get together and play music. Good stuff! AND the weather turned cool! No need to crank up the A/C. Hope YOU are enjoying the weather in your part of the world.