Welcome to the Daily Dose!
Today’s word of hope comes from our own Jake Hill, Music Associate / Organist.
I have two cars. I bought my newer one in January of 2019, hoping to be equipped with a vehicle should my older car ‘give up the ghost’ since it was approaching nearly 300,000 miles. With regular oil changes seemingly more frequent than haircuts, that 2001 vehicle still, in my dad’s words, “runs like a sewing machine”. Now, with more than 345,000 miles on the odometer, I still drive that older car almost weekly, saving the newer one as my ‘Sunday car’! The older one being the age it is, it is devoid of too many fancy frills we find common today, the greatest of which is the lack of blue tooth connection for a phone. I’m certain that none of you are surprised when I tell you that music is ALWAYS playing in my car, so, when you can’t connect a phone, you resort to your other options for listening to music.
In the case of this past week, I had grown tired of listening to the radio and switched over to my 6-CD changer that was, no doubt, high-tech for the time the car was built. I keep things I can stand to listen to over and over in the CD changer because it lives in the glove box and has to be changed out by removing a large cassette-like thing and put back together properly… something you do not attempt while whizzing down a busy highway!
As fate would have it, a recording that I took part in began to play in slot 6, and immediately memories of the performance flooded back. I remember when my friend, Caroline, and I were learning the parts (the choral score did not have the accompaniment), we were so unsure of how the piece was going to come together that we thought we didn’t like it. Little did we know that it would become one of our favorite pieces entirely.
The piece is written by a friend to all of us- Dan Locklair. His Requiem- a multi-movement work for soloists, choir, strings and organ- is a deeply rich offering, taking scriptural and liturgical texts and setting them almost verbatim against a tonal canvas that brings them life. The Requiem setting is one we typically encounter around November as we approach All Saint’s and All Soul’s as Requiem masses were intended to celebrate the lives of the deceased.
While, admittedly, I have grown weary of everything pointing back to Covid-19, I couldn’t help but feel how the coincidence of this particular recording playing was astoundingly appropriate, as the world collectively mourns the loss of so many people.
The serenely beautiful ‘Pie Jesu’ movement offers a humble petition, requesting repose and mercy for the souls of the departed. Dan being the masterful composer he is, sets this simple text with an incredibly melodic mezzo-soprano solo against a lush, warm organ accompaniment. Friends, take these few minutes to listen to this prayer, letting it be your prayer also this day.
This premier recording was made at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, a sister Winston-Salem congregation, just a few doors down from our 5th Street home in 2015. Sung by our very own, widely talented First Baptist pastor, Emily Hull McGee, accompanied by Matthew Michael Brown of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Atlanta, GA.
IV. Pie Jesu
grant them rest,
grant them rest,