All Saints and All Souls
Time for the saints to march in! What wonderful music we have for All Saints' Day and All Souls'. Who doesn't love For All The Saints, Ye Watchers And Ye Holy Ones, the wonderful Litany? When I was a music teacher at St. Michael School in Annandale VA, dear Sister Renee wrote a saints' play for the Second Graders, and I used to read an illustrated, book version of "I Sing A Song Of The Saints Of God" to the kids as they learned the song to perform along with her play. The lyrics, by the wonderfully named Lesbia Scott, are colorful and engaging: "I sing a song of the saints of God, patient and brave and true/who toiled and fought and lived and died for the Lord they loved and knew/And one was a doctor, and one was a Queen and one was a shepherdess on the green/they were all of them saints of God, and I mean God helping, to be one too." Verse two lists that "one was a soldier and one was a priest/and one was slain by a fierce wild beast." Awesome!!
Gabriel Faure's Requiem is sometimes heard on (or around) All Souls' Day, right after All Saints'. It's a beautiful way to remember and honor our loved ones. Trinity Episcopal Church's choir in Newport, directed by my friend Brent Erstad, performed the work last weekend. Faure actually joked that he composed the work "for fun" but it was inspired by the loss of some of his family. It's short and quite . . . sweet, especially the Sanctus and the In Paradisum. I managed to wrangle a volunteer choir together to sing the Offertoire once at St. Anthony - it was worth it! Faure is always worth it.
Most recently I sang the Faure Requiem on September 11 with a small volunteer singing group in Stonington, CT, headed by Dara Blackstone and accompanied by my friend Kim Lewis. Here's my performance of the "Pie Jesu".
Rest in peace, all the faithful departed. May perpetual light shine upon them. PH, EJ, LG.