This weekend, during our regular 10:30 a.m. service at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, we will offer a “Hymn Festival” in place of our usual Sunday morning 10:30 a.m. service. A hymn festival is a song service in which the organist (possibly with other instrumentalists) presents an extended musical introduction for each hymn. Several of the hymn stanzas are also performed in a festive way. The main “choir” is the congregation. The hymns are often sung antiphonally between groups within the congregation (men and women, right and left sides, etc.) and the choir. This is a bit of an oversimplification, but if you merge a church service and a sacred concert into one event, you’ll end up with a hymn festival.
Our hymn festival will feature the music of Paul O. Manz (1919-2009). Manz is recognized as one of the leading church musicians and composers of the twentieth century, and his music for choir and especially organ is widely recognized. The concept of a hymn festival was one that Manz developed and promoted. Each hymn sung by the congregation will be introduced by a prelude composed by Manz. The preludes and hymns selected for the hymn festival will work through the major themes of the church year. I will spend a rare morning “preaching” from the organ bench rather than the pulpit for this occasion. The students of Gloria Dei Lutheran School will sing stanzas of selected hymns in the hymn festival. Church members, school families, and the general public are all invited to attend. We will also hold our annual church-school picnic after the service. If you are in the area, please join us on Sunday, October 3, at 10:30 a.m.
Paul Manz links: