Spring Choral Worship Service at Tenth Church

by Luke Carlson May 18, 2014

This year’s Spring Choral Worship Service theme is God’s holiness. Foundational to our faith—and essential to our understanding of the nature of God—is a recognition and acknowledgement of his absolute perfection and supreme holiness. In Leviticus 19:2, the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.” We rejoice in the knowledge that we have been ransomed by the precious blood of Christ and that through his death and resurrection, we who believe can share in the eternal holiness and glory of God. Please join us today for a meaningful and powerful evening of worship through congregational hymns, choral and instrumental worship, Scripture reading, and the preaching of God’s holy Word.

The worship service will feature several classical choral works extolling the holiness of God through the familiar text of the Sanctus, which is taken from the Latin mass. The translated text is, “Holy, holy, holy Lord God of hosts. Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.” The music in the service spans 350 years, beginning in the late 16th century with music of the Italian composer, Giovanni Palestrina, and concluding with a mid-20th century setting of the Sanctus by French composer, Maurice Duruflé.

The Soli Deo Gloria will present a chronological overview of the Sanctus, beginning with music by the aforementioned Palestrina (1525–1594); a setting of the Sanctus taken from the Missa Æterna Christi Munera (The Eternal Gifts of Christ the King). This simple yet elegant a cappella setting was composed in 1590 and will be conducted by Bryan Anderson. This will be followed by a mid-19th century setting of the Sanctus by the French composer, Charles Gounod. This luminous and expressive work, composed between the years 1855 and 1864, will feature the talents of tenor soloist, Gary Seydell. Another French composition will conclude Soli Deo Gloria—the Sanctus from Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem in D minor, Op. 48, composed between 1887 and 1890. Both the Gounod and the Fauré will be directed by Robert C. Joubert.

The anthems in the worship service will also be performed in chronological order, beginning with Duarte Lôbo’s Sanctus from the Missa Pro Defunctis (1621). This double choir setting (eight vocal parts as opposed to the standard four) opens in a minor key, conveying a more sober and respectful attitude toward God’s profound holiness. This is contrasted by the joyful and exuberant setting from Mozart’s C minor Mass, K. 427 (1782–83), featuring richly ornate vocal and instrumental textures. This setting, also for double choir, will be supported by the instrumental talent of the Tenth Chamber Players. These two works will be conducted by Luke Carlson. 

Felix Mendelssohn’s angelic Heilig (Holy), from Die Deutsche Liturgie (1846), will be conducted by John Leibensperger. This brief double choir setting features beautiful antiphonal writing and will be sung in the original German. The final choral anthem, conducted by Robert C. Joubert, will be the mysterious and powerful Sanctus setting by Maurice Duruflé, from his Requiem, Op. 9 (1947). The climactic arrival on the text, “Hosanna in excelsis,” underscores the believer’s unequaled joy in proclaiming “Glory to God in the highest!”

The sermon will be given by Dr. Timothy Witmer, Professor of Practical Theology at Westminster Theological Seminary. The title of his message is “Holy God, Holy People,” and the text is from 1 Peter 1:13–21. We hope that you will invite family and friends for what promises to be an encouraging and inspirational evening of worship at Tenth. 

Please mark your calendar for the next Concert Series program, the congregational Hymn Sing, Friday June 13, 7:30 PM, an informal, old-fashioned hymn sing of selections from the audience. Join the congregation and members of the music staff for an enjoyable evening of fellowship and God-honoring worship through hymnody. 

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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By Luke Carlson. © 2024 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org