Prayers can be read from a book and recited from memory. They can be extemporaneous shouts of thanksgiving or emotional outbursts of intercession when someone we love encounters hardship and despair.
The church has long sung its prayers. It started with Gregorian chant and has grown to include classic hymns, psalmody, and modern praise choruses. Sometimes we pray silently with a trained choir as they sing well-rehearsed anthems and canticles on our behalf.
On Sunday, November 24th at 6:00 p.m. we will have an opportunity to worship with a choir that has diligently rehearsed a cantata by the master Lutheran church musician - Johannes Sebastian Bach. Dawn Riske is the Director of Music Ministries at Christ the King Church in University, Missouri. She says, “Somehow the exquisitely crafted music of J. S. Bach helps to build connections between our situation and the Holy One. Bach’s music opens the door to prayer.” This is why we will hear “Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern” in the context of a worship service rather than in a concert setting.
Bach wrote a cantata for every Sunday of the church year – for five years. He did not write one for Christ the King Sunday because that day had not yet appeared on the church calendar. You will find this text, written for the Feast of the Annunciation, to be equally appropriate for a Christ the King observance. If you would like to read the text in advance, you can find it here: http://www.uvm.edu/~classics/faculty/bach/BWV1.html
Our cantata will be accompanied by an orchestra of instrumentalists from the Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra and our soloists are Karina Calabro (soprano), Dr. James Hall (tenor), and Carl Moser (bass). The chorus includes members of the St. Mark’s choirs and singers from the Jacksonville Community. Pastor Thomas Hanson will lead the liturgy. Frank Starbuck is our German diction coach.
Bach Vespers has a 20 year history at St. Mark’s. The first cantatas being sung under the direction of Cantor Jim Rindelaub. We are grateful for the tradition that he began!
Please join us for this unique service. All are welcome.