Musical Musings~ Reflections on Sunday’s Music

February 16, 2014
  1.  Joe Utterback’s “Balm In Gilead”
What is the power of the African-American spiritual? The easiest answer may be that this genre of music is a statement of hope and quite possibly faith.  The wonderful news proclaimed in the text is that only Jesus brings healing and makes relationships right. “Balm in Gilead” meets the characteristics of many spirituals:  sung while slaves toiled for their masters in a “working rhythm,” provided codes for slaves to escape, sung individualistically while still remaining group oriented. The text is a response to Jeremiah 8:22: “Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there?”
Historian James Cone states the following:  “Black hope accepts history, but believes the historical is in motion, moving toward a divine fulfillment.” Joe Utterback in his arrangement accomplishes exactly this by having a soloist sing the theme in a declamatory style, commemorating history. However, the composer also accentuates the new (quite possibly a divine fulfillment) through the following: a meandering , lyrical flute countermelody; group unity through background vocal textures; jazz harmonies (seventh chords in particular) and innovative “Ivesian” compositional approaches. Let us not forget that our history is important, however the Holy Spirit can encourage us to grow at any time.
                                                                        -‘til Sunday-Robert Morehead
Other music selections:
Gathering Music:   I Will Boast (Paul Baloche)
Wonderful, Merciful Savior (Rodgers/Wyse)
Introit: My Spirit Longs For Thee (Dowland)
Hymn of Praise: Brightest And Best Of The Stars Of The Morning (#67)
Act Of Praise: Above All Praise And Majesty (Mendelssohn-Bartholdy)
Children’s Song: This Is Where Children Belong
Hymn of Response: Forgive Our Sins As We Forgive (#347)
Hymn of Dedication: He Is Exalted (Paris)
Postlude: This Little Light Of Mine (Arr. Joe Utterback)
          Sunday’s musicians:
  • 1 Credo Quartet
  • 2 Matt Dooley, bass soloist
  • 3 Anat Kardontchik, accompanist
  • 4 Miranda Morehead, flute
  • 5 Revolution Team
  • 6 Sanctuary Choir


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