Three Entrance Antiphons for the Celebration of Marriage

EDDINGS ARE a vital part of the sacramental life of the Church. Likewise, the music must reflect the joy of a life with Christ at the center.

The catalyst for this collection of simple Entrance Propers in English was Msgr. Rick Hilgartner. In 2016, I was assisting with music for an FDLC workshop on the Revised Order of Matrimony. During a lengthy discussion on processions, Msgr. Hilgartner suggested singing one of the three antiphons for Marriage in the Roman Missal, all of which he read aloud for emphasis. Another priest turned to me and made a gesture that I should get busy writing. Inspired by my wife, I got to work.

These texts are beautiful, inspiring, and should be sung in their own right. Singing the Entrance Antiphon at a wedding is not simply a liturgically conservative gesture. It is a progressive act—an invocation inviting God to permeate the center of their love. As the couple confers the sacrament upon each other, these texts are a beautiful way to being the Mass. They are a beautiful way to begin life together.

PDF Download:
      * * Three Entrance Antiphons for the Celebration of Marriage • for Assembly, Cantor, SATB, Organ, Trumpet
      * * Congregation inserts are included at the end.

ABOUT THESE SETTINGS
       Designed to work for a Liturgical Procession
       OR sung as a Gathering Song after the more typical procession
       All are in the key of D to transition easily from any number of common processional pieces.
       Antiphons are METERED in 4/4
       The Verses are identical for all three: Psalm 128 — very appropriate for a wedding–and found as the verse for Deus Israel conjugat vos, the Introit from the Graduale Romanum for the Nuptial Mass.
       While choirs are not the norm for weddings, the option is available.
       Given the potential for varied instrumentation at weddings, guitar chords are provided. Although composed for organ and trumpet, these can be adapted for piano and other instruments.

Here are more free scores for weddings compiled and arranged by Jeff Ostrowski.

Finally, here are practice videos for the Nuptial Blessing: Nuptial Blessings • Practice Videos • Order of Celebrating Matrimony

Soli Deo gloria

National Anthem • Choral Arrangement for Fenway Park


RECENTLY, THE SAINT CECILIA PARISH CHOIR, Boston, sang The Star-Spangled Banner at Fenway Park prior to a Red Sox game. I took the opportunity to customize an arrangement that was not only well-suited to the strengths of this choir, but hopefully expresses the dignity, reverence, and passion worthy of our great country. At the very least, we owe a respectful performance to the selfless people who daily place their lives in mortal danger to defend freedoms we may daily take for granted.

Unfortunately, the National Anthem in America is all too often used as a vehicle to showcase individual performances. Nearly gone are the days in which The Star-Spangled Banner is sung primarily by the entire community in a shared expression. And quite ubiquitous are self-indulgent performances in which the melody is embellished beyond recognition. Among myriad reasons for this is the overwhelming influence of television/media revenue in service of the American culture of entertainment over substance. But we must never forget.

WITH THIS ARRANGEMENT, I HOPE TO BRIDGE THE GAP between individual performance and respectful tribute. It is based on a standard service version found in several hymnals including the new St. Paul Hymnal, the Hymnal 1982, Worship III, etc. However, I made numerous changes. There are small but calculated adjustments to keep repetition fresh. Then there are significant adjustments, (especially in the second half) to paint the text, e.g., a turning point of the text: “Gave proof through the night that the flag was still there.”

FREE DOWNLOAD:
PDF • The Star-Spangled Banner • National Anthem for the United States of America • for SATB Chorus

VIDEO • ST. CECILIA PARISH CHOIR • FENWAY PARK:

 

PERFORMANCE NOTES:
I have clearly marked breaths in the score: commas for relatively shorter breaths, double lines for longer breaths. The tempo should be sprightly enough to easily sing four-bar phases in one breath. To this end, it helps greatly to very slightly crescendo on the half-notes into the next bar on the words “see,” “hailed,” “stars,” etc.

One of my pet peeves is the common pronunciation of the word “perilous.” This word has a schwa on each of the last two syllables. The sung quarter-note rhythm unfortunately emphasizes the spoken unstressed vowels. This often leads to the word being pronounced: “Peh-RAH-LIS” fight. This annoys me. So, I gave explicit instructions to the choir to pronounce the short “i” and sing, “Peh-ri-lus.” Ironically, it also helps to avoid American “R”s (roll them) in a choral setting (and in such a large venue) to assist with diction.

Pastorally Imperative: They are all we have.

ARDINAL SEÁN P. O’Malley, OFM, Cap. recently ordained eight men to the Priesthood on Saturday, May 20, 2017, at Immaculate Conception Church in Lowell, Massachusetts. (The Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston is currently under renovation.)

Please pray for these new priests! Fr. Jason Rinaldo Giombetti, Fr. Pablo Gomis, Fr. Kevin Paul Leaver, Fr. Godfrey Musabe, Fr. Wellington Oliveira, Fr. Joel Americo Santos, Fr. William Paro Joseph Sexton, and Fr. Michael Louis Zimmerman

FFORDED THE OPPORTUNITY to direct the music for this ordination, I hoped to emphasize to the choir the following:

What we do is not simply “important” music for an “important” Mass. This is a day that these eight men will carry in their hearts for the rest of their lives. Not only what we sing, but how we sing will have spiritual impact beyond a nice memory. It will help shape their formation.

Music itself won’t solve any problems or persuade any newly ordained priest to adjust their liturgical inclinations. That’s not the point.

But music sung in prayer and with joy hopefully permeates their hearts and minds. It can reach the hearts of their family and friends who will support and accompany them throughout their lives. To sing in prayer and with joy is pastorally imperative for they are all we have.

ERHAPS OF INTEREST, you can watch a video of the Ordination in the Archdiocese of Boston here. We are deeply grateful to Evan Landry for this recording.

Recording for broadcast is always tricky, especially capturing the true blend of a choir in the room. Mr. Landry did an exceptional job (with omnidirectional microphones) capturing a fairly representative blend of the choir while contending with specific restrictions in space.

Music of note:

• 4:15 • INTROIT • Sacerdotes Dei, benedicite, Mode VI • (Marc Demille intones verses) I chose to have men and women sing in unison for a brighter sound, to create a more energetic pronouncement. This was followed by the hymn This Is the Feast of Victory by Hillert.

• 20:45 • Kyrie and Gloria from the Mass of the Angels (Allesandra Cionco-Dahlberg, soprano)

• 28:30 • Psalm 23 • Jeffrey Ostrowski (Jaime Korkos, psalmist)

• 34:15 • Gospel Procession, Alleluia, Theodore Marier

• 36:24 • The Gospel is beautifully chanted by Rev. Mr. Joseph J. Sanderson

• 1:07:56 • Litany of the Saints (Marc DeMille Cantor)

• 1:16:30 • Holy Spirit, Come and Shine Chant, arr. Leo Abbott (Tom Manguem, cantor) and improvisation • repeated at 1:27:25

• 1:44:00 • Christ the Lord, a Priest Forever, RJC, Ps. 100

• 1:52:00 • You are My Friends, RJC • Jn. 15:14, Ps. 100

• 2:27: 40 • Agnus Dei XVI, Byrd/Agnus Dei XVIII

• 2:30:13 • Sicut Cervus Palestrina

• 2:33:28 • Adordo Te devote

• 2:53:45 • THAXTED, O God Beyond All Praising, arr. Richard Proulx

• 2:59:45 • Processional, Mathias • Dr. Janet Hunt, FAGO, organ

Photos by George Martell • Archdiocese of Boston

I Am the Land: A Poem in Memory of Óscar Romero • E. Ethelbert Miller & Richard J. Clark

ARCH 24TH marks the anniversary of the assassination of Blessed Óscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador. On Sunday, March 23, 1980, the day before his assassination, Romero addressed the soldiers in his homily:

“En nombre de Dios, pues, y en nombre de este sufrido pueblo, cuyos lamentos suben hasta el cielo cada día más tumultuosos, les suplico, les ruego, les ordeno en nombre de Dios: ¡Cese la represión!”

“In the name of God, in the name of this suffering people whose cries rise to heaven more loudly each day, I implore you, I beg you, I order you in the name of God: stop the repression!”

Listen to a recording of this part of his homily here.

While Romero was not interested in Liberation Theology, he spoke vehemently against the human rights abuses of the Salvadoran government. He gave voice to those who had no voice: the oppressed, the poor, the victims of abject cruelty. For this, he paid with his life.

His cause for canonization was opened in 1997 by Pope St. John Paul II. At a standstill for some years, it was furthered in 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI. On February 3, 2015, Pope Francis decreed that Romero was martyred in odium fidei (“in hatred of the faith”). Romero was then beatified in El Salvador on May 23, 2015.

N 2016 JENNIFER LESTER, Music Director of the The Seraphim Singers, was intent on commissioning from me a work to honor Óscar Romero. The result was music set to I Am the Land: A Poem in Memory of Óscar Romero by E. Ethelbert Miller (b. 1950).

The text of the poem is here and below.
A Spanish translation by Nancy Morejón can be found here.

Here is a recording of a live performance by the Seraphim Singers in 2016:

E. Ethelbert Miller writes:

I Am The Land: A Poem In Memory of Oscar Romero was first published in my collection First Light: New and Selected Poems (Black Classic Press, 1994). It’s one of the few poems I wrote specifically for a public reading.

The “tone” of the poem echoes the work of Walt Whitman, Langston Hughes and Ernesto Cardenal.

The work was an outgrowth of my interest in liberation theology. One of the major issues in our world today continues to be poverty. “The people of El Salvador are the people of the world.” This line should connect with everyone. I hope my poem also speaks to the role of the church in our society. The doors of this institution must always remain open, for pilgrims and strangers. Our faith must be made visible. I believe it begins with an open heart. Finally, the poem connects life to land. I wanted to link Oscar Romero to the grass, trees and wind. Even after Romero’s death, one should be able to open a window and inhale his beliefs and memory.

He who is resurrected is revolutionary.
He who is resurrected believes in peace.
This is the meaning of light.
This is the meaning of love.

– E. Ethelbert Miller
March 14, 2017

From my own program notes: “…Romero’s message is a powerful voice crying out for the voiceless, the oppressed, and the slaughtered. Phrases in a modern harmonized Gregorian Chant style are in complete service of Miller’s text, and therefore Romero’s lifelong example of humble service towards justice and peace.”

NE OF THE GREAT JOYS of the creative process is to work with and meet great artists who also happen to be beautiful people. Out of Jennifer Lester’s vision came the opportunity to live intimately inside of E. Ethelbert Miller’s words. His poetry evokes images far beyond the vivid emotions on the page. His words elicit further questions, leaving in their wake a burning desire to experience more that has already come alive on the page.

A man of kindness and vision, Miller’s work lives well beyond his words, flowing into action, exuding a joy of living.

I Am the Land: A Poem in Memory of Óscar Romero

I am the land.
I am the grass growing.
I am the trees.
I am the wind, the voice calling.
I am the poor.
I am the hungry.

The doors of the church are open
as wide as the heart of a man.
In times of trouble
here is a rock, here is a hand.

God knows the meaning of our prayers.
I have asked our government to listen.
God is not dead
and I will never die.

I am the land.
I am the grass growing.
I am the trees.
I am the wind, the voice calling.
I am the poor.
I am the hungry.

He who is resurrected is revolutionary.
He who is resurrected believes in peace.
This is the meaning of light.
This is the meaning of love.

The souls of my people are the pages of history.
The people of El Salvador are the people of the world.

I am Oscar Romero, a humble servant.
I am the land.
I am all the people who have no land.
I am the grass growing.
I am all the children who have been murdered.
I am the trees.
I am the priests, the nuns, the believers.
I am the wind, the voice calling.
I am the poets who will sing forever.
I am the poor.
I am the dreamer whose dreams overflow with hope.
I am the hungry.
I am the people.
I am Oscar Romero.

– E. Ethelbert Miller

Communion Antiphons for Lent & Easter • NEW • World Library Publications

I AM PLEASED to announce the release of my Communion Antiphons for Easter with World Library Publications. These thirteen antiphons are set from the English translation of the Roman Missal, Third Edition. All the verses set are those prescribed by Graduale Romanum. On a personal note, this is perhaps my favorite collection to date.

You may also view and listen to the Communion Antiphons for Lent here or below.

SCORES FOR EASTER are available in hard copies or digital format:

Order • View sample pages:
Octavo • “Communion Antiphons for Easter” (for SATB Choir; Cantor; Assembly)

“Click & Print” • PDF Download:
PDF • “Communion Antiphons for Easter” (for SATB Choir; Cantor; Assembly)

All are chant based.
Can be sung with cantor or unison schola
Ample opportunity for optional SATB

HERE IS A SMALL SAMPLE of recordings—four of the thirteen communion propers are directed by Paul French. French and his singers beautifully captured the joy, movement, and energy of these chant inspired works.

Order • View sample pages:
Octavo • “Communion Antiphons for Lent” (for SATB Choir; Cantor; Assembly)

“Click & Print” • PDF Download:
PDF • “Communion Antiphons for Lent” (for SATB Choir; Cantor; Assembly)

HERE YOU CAN LISTEN to recordings of seven of the thirteen communion propers:

 

Sacred Music for Christmas on “Sounds from the Spires”

RECENTLY joined Dr. Jennifer Pascual, Director of Music for Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, on her program Sounds from the Spires. I am very fortunate to have been on the show several times. This will explain any drop in the ratings.

Pascual’s weekly show can be heard on SIRIUSXM 129 Radio, The Catholic Channel, Saturday, 11pm-12am, Sunday, 6am-7am and 8pm-9pm (All Eastern times)

You can listen to a PODCAST of this interview broadcast on 12.4.2016:



MUSIC FEATURED ON THIS PROGRAM:

Light Upon the World | Richard J. Clark, baritone; Produced by Paul Umbach | Available on iTunes and CD Baby.

Communion Antiphons for Christmas | SATB, Organ, Trumpet, Assembly • World Library Publications • Recordings Directed by Paul French

Madonna & Child | Organ • recorded on the Smith & Gilbert Organ (IV/52) at St. Cecilia Church, Boston

Although this conversation with my children happened before a prior interview, the story bears repeating:

My six-year-old son put me in my place before a radio interview. My daughter, who was eight, said, “Daddy is lucky because he is famous because he is being interviewed.” My son who was six responded: “No, he’s not famous. Never, ever! Only God is famous.” This, coming from a boy who loves getting into mischief, especially if it gets a laugh from his siblings and disapproval from his parents. But here he was dead serious and spot on!

Soli Deo gloria!

The Seraphim Singers Premiere “I Am the Land: A Poem in Memory of Óscar Romero” • E. Ethelbert Miller & Richard J. Clark

ENNIFER LESTER, director of The Seraphim Singers, molds highly adventuresome programming through faith and personal conviction. Seraphim’s upcoming program “Oppression, Exile, and Solidarity” will be another strong statement, musically and socially.

From their website:

This concert of musical works bearing witness and standing with human suffering includes James MacMillan’s Cantos Sagrados, on Argentina’s Dirty War; Zachary Wadsworth’s setting of Whitman’s “Old War Dreams”; the premiere of Richard Clark’s I Am the Land, a poem inspired by Óscar Romero, and Howells’ exquisite Requiem. With Heinrich Christensen, organ.

ESTER was intent on commissioning a new work about Óscar Romero, a voice for the voiceless. The result was music set to I Am the Land: A Poem in Memory of Oscar Romero by E. Ethelbert Miller (b. 1950), a tribute to the late Archbishop of El Salvador. Assassinated on March 24, 1980 while saying Mass, Romero was beatified by Pope Francis on May 23, 2015.

From my program notes: “…Romero’s message as a powerful voice crying out for the voiceless, the oppressed, and the slaughtered. Phrases in a modern harmonized Gregorian Chant style are in complete service of Miller’s text, and therefore Romero’s lifelong example of humble service towards justice and peace.”

The text of the poem is here.

From Miller’s publicist:

E. Ethelbert Miller is a writer and literary activist. He is board chair of the Institute for Policy Studies and a board member for The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region. Miller is an inductee of the 2015 Washington, DC Hall of Fame and recipient of the AWP 2016 George Garrett Award for Outstanding Community Service in Literature and the 2016 DC Mayor’s Arts Award for Distinguished Honor. His most recent book is The Collected Poems of E. Ethelbert Miller, edited by Kirsten Porter and published by Willow Books.

IF YOU ARE IN THE BOSTON AREA be sure not to miss this premiere as part the Seraphim Singer’s ” Oppression, Exile, and Solidarity.” There will be two performances:

Sunday, November 6, 2016, 3:00 pm
Eliot Church of Newton, 474 Centre Street, Newton

Sunday, November 13, 2016, 3:00 pm
First Church (Congregational) 11 Garden St., Cambridge, MA

$20 general admission and $15 senior/student.

• Tickets are available at the door or purchase online here
• Download the concert poster here
• Watch a video postcard here


HE SERAPHIM SINGERS ARE ENORMOUS ADVOCATES of new music with several new commissions each year. Jennifer Lester’s programming is astonishingly vast, from Gregorian Chant and Renaissance Polyphony to Twenty-first Century works. Yet, her programming flows with astounding unity and beauty.

The Boston Music Intelligencer writes:

“Ingenious programming by Jennifer Lester…”

“Anyone who cares about these genres owes it to him/herself to hear this gifted ensemble whenever possible.”

“Technically, the ensemble was in fine form, performing incredibly challenging choral repertoire with a high degree of finesse.”

Hope to see you there!

Communion Antiphons for Advent & Christmas • NEW • World Library Publications

ORLD LIBRARY Publications, the music and liturgy division of J. S. Paluch Company, Inc. has recently released my collection of Communion Antiphons for Christmas. These nine antiphons are set to the English translation of the Roman Missal, Third Edition, with verses according to the Graduale Romanum.

You may also learn about and listen to my Communion Antiphons for Advent here.

Scores are available in hard copies or for digital download:

Order • View sample pages:
Octavo • “Communion Antiphons for Christmas” (for SATB Choir, Cantor, Assembly, Organ, Trumpet)

“Click & Print” • PDF Download:
PDF • “Communion Antiphons for Christmas” (for SATB Choir, Cantor, Assembly, Organ, Trumpet)

All are chant based including quotes of Puer natus est nobis and the Mode I Ave Maria.
May be sung with cantor or unison schola or optional SATB
Several include optional vocal and trumpet descants.

BE SURE TO LISTEN to recordings directed by Paul French, Director of the William Ferris Chorale and Music Director of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church in Chicago. You can hear six of the nine antiphons here. (Each antiphon has several more verses than are recorded here.)

*Note the two options for the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God: Rejoice, O Daughter Zion (Exsulta fiIia Sion) is prescribed for the Mass at Dawn in the Roman Missal. It is also is prescribed also for the Solemnity of Mary in the Graduale Romanum.

HY SING THE PROPERS AT ALL? Forget GIRM 87 that gives singing the antiphons from the Roman Missal or Grandulae Romanum the highest preference. Forget the tradition of the propers being integral to the Roman Rite for well over a millennium. Forget that Sing to the Lord: Music In Divine Worship (SttL) gives singing the antiphons and psalms very high priority.

But remember the wisdom of the faithful who came before us. What matters most is that the antiphons and psalms we sing during communion most always point us back to the Gospel. Often they are from the Gospel itself or another reading. The psalms, which are just as important as the antiphons, shed deeper light upon the sacred mysteries and the Gospel. These scriptures amplify our prayer while receiving the Bread of Life.

I could go on for many pages, but I leave you with this simple story:

The best note I ever received on this topic came from a woman who probably knows nothing about the antiphons, the GIRM, or the rubrics. But she knows prayer and she knows her heart. She said “Isn’t it wonderful to sing the Gospel while receiving the Eucharist!”

This kind of intuitive understanding is born of the wisdom of the ages—from many faithful who came before us. This above all is why we sing the Mass.

Consciously or not, the scriptures sung in the antiphons and psalms touch the heart. Live daily with the Word, and we will be transformed.

Soli Deo gloria

“Sounds from the Spires” with Jennifer Pascual • SiriusXM Radio

RECENTLY joined Dr. Jennifer Pascual, Director of Music for Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City and host of Sounds from the Spires, at the SiriusXM Studio in Midtown Manhattan. Her weekly program can be heard on SIRIUSXM 129 Radio, The Catholic Channel.

My six-year-old son put me in my place before our interview. My daughter, who is eight, said, “Daddy is lucky because he is famous because he is being interviewed.” My son responded: “No, he’s not famous. Never, ever! Only God is famous.” This, coming from a boy who loves getting into mischief, especially if it gets a laugh from his siblings and disapproval from his parents. But here he was dead serious and spot on!

PODCAST Broadcast on 2.28.2016:

PLEASE READ MY MIND
Don’t believe everything you hear on the radio. As my choirs well know, it is a requirement that they must read my mind during rehearsal; not everything that comes out of my mouth is reliable. As such, there are two corrections here: 1) “I shall live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life” is from Psalm 27, not Psalm 122 as stated. 2) Our Lady of the Atonement R. C. Church is in San Antonio, Texas, not Houston. I knew that. I’ve always known that. But I said Houston. Please read my mind.

MUSIC FEATURED ON THIS PROGRAM:

Communion Antiphons for Lent | SATB, Organ, Assembly • World Library Publications • Recordings Directed by Paul French

Variations on Misereris Omnium | Introit for Ash Wednesday • St Cecilia Schola • Variations played on the Smith & Gilbert Organ at St. Cecilia Church, Boston

By the Rivers of Babylon | Allesandra Cionco, soprano; Michael Dahlberg, cello; R. Clark, piano

Magna Opera Domini | Commissioned for the ordination of Bishop Steven Lopes. • Recording Directed by Edmund Murray

122 Messengers of Peace • Dona Nobis Pacem

T’S NEVER just about the music. Music is always about something greater. With sacred music it is about prayer, worship, and putting God at the center. Furthermore, singing in a choir brings about benefits that go well beyond that of making beautiful music. Words are fully inadequate to describe the power of music.

I had the opportunity to compose a work for the Elementary Honor Choir for the American Choral Directors Association Eastern Division. It was recently premiered at Boston’s historic Jordan Hall. Fernando Malvar-Ruiz, Director of The American Boychoir would be conducting. Understanding music education as he does, Malvar-Ruiz has often stated that the mission of the American Boychoir is not music. It is education. With this philosophy in mind, he asked me to compose something intriguing.

THE SCORE IS AVAILABLE HERE:
Dona Nobis Pacem | SSA, Piano, Cello • RJC Cecilia Music

While not a liturgical work, we agreed to a universal message Dona nobis pacem. “Grant us peace.” He wanted Latin to teach pure vowels. He wanted easily singable lyric phrases suitable for children’s voices. (He also understands that Gregorian Chant is great tool for teaching children.) Finally, he asked for quotes from St. Francis of Assisi, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr. I jumped at this idea, knowing this would be about much more than music.

HIS HONOR CHOIR OF ONE-HUNDRED TWENTY-TWO CHILDREN (aged nine to twelve) had less than seventy-two hours to learn and memorize a program that included works of Bach, Malvar-Keylock, and others in a variety of styles and languages. Malvar-Ruiz asked me and composer Melissa Malvar-Keylock to discuss our compositions and answer questions from the children. And what brilliant questions they were!

Some asked about why I chose certain harmonies. One asked why the entire piece was not in Latin. Several questions were about the choice of the specific quotes. This opened up a great deal of historic discussion from St. Francis’ famous prayer to the direct connection between Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s use of nonviolent techniques to overcome oppression.

Many were so curious about the composition and creative process. One asked for advice I could offer about becoming a composer. My quick advice to this bright ten or eleven-year old was to not only develop the technical skills, but to develop the heart, mind, and soul. Who we are as a person gives birth to our music. What I wish I had added was this: Develop your own unique voice. Accept technical criticism, never let anyone dismiss or criticize your unique musical voice, because this is you. I really wish I said that. I hope she reads this.

HEN, AS IF one conclusion must lead to another, the final question was fascinating, especially from such from a young child: “What expectations do you have from us?” This is an incredibly mature and insightful thought. It was as if I had planted this question because it led to a question that I had for all the children.

I told them I had a question for them. I said I suspected they were already doing this, but I want them to consider my request. So then asked them, “What happens to the text at measure 132?” They explained the text changed from “Grant us peace” to “Peace be with you.” (The words Jesus spoke after His resurrection. The words he spoke when they were afraid and hiding, after His resurrection.)

While I did not mention Jesus specifically in a secular and mixed setting, I asked them if they could do what St. Francis prayed for: “Can you be an instrument of peace?” I was clear I didn’t mean just when they sing this piece. I told them I didn’t just mean for the concert. But can you be an instrument of peace when you return home to your friends, school, family, and those who care about you? Can you be an instrument of peace…for the rest of your lives?

I asked this of children, because they can carry this out much better than adults can—at least speaking for myself.

I put the words “Peace be with you” into their mouths because I know that coming from children, it is genuine. It is divine love. This is what children singing can do. Children have much to teach us, and I have much to learn from them.

The morning of the concert, Malvar-Ruiz repeated my request to be messengers of peace. They truly responded with their music. I trust they will respond further with their lives. As they do, so will the world change and be saved.

IN ADDITION, here are a few of my choral/liturgical works for Lent and Easter. You can listen to recordings of each or these:

Communion Antiphons for Lent | SATB, Organ, Assembly • World Library Publications

Christe qui lux es et dies | Based on Compline Hymn for Lent, SATB • RJC Cecilia Music

Lumen Christi | Paschal Candle Procession | Deacon/Priest, Assembly, SATB • CanticaNOVA Publications

O Sacrum Convivium | TTB or SSA • includes optional text for tempore quadragesimæ • RJC Cecilia Music

I Am Risen, Resurrexi | Introit for Easter Sunday, SATB, organ • RJC Cecilia Music