Dr. Jeannine Jordan, Concert Organist

Posts tagged ‘church musician’

Hymns as Devotionals

I discovered a lot about the 1982 Episcopal Hymnal in preparation for last year’s Hymn-a-thon. Our choir spent 12 hours on Sunday, March 3, 2014 singing every hymn in our hymnal as a Music Ministry Fundraiser. Instead of singing straight through the hymnal, I decided we should sing through the hymns in various groupings just to keep things interesting for us.

Did you know that a section of the Episcopal hymnal is arranged by the church year? Check out the Contents pages of the 1982 Hymnal to locate the section titled The Church Year. As you will discover, hymn numbers 47-293 or approximately 1/3 of the hymns in the hymnal comprise this section. For those of you fascinated with the seasons of the church year as I am, you will find this section of the hymnal most enlightening.

For example, since we have now entered the season of Lent, you may find it interesting to note over the next four Sundays of Lent, how many hymns from the Lent section, hymn numbers 140-152, we will sing in our services. These hymns, along with others illuminating the scriptures of each Sunday will form the basis of our music for Lent.

The hymns of The Church Year can also be used to create lovely devotionals. The text by Claudia Frances Hernaman of hymn #142 could serve as a poignant Lenten devotional. Use a different verse each week of Lent as a mediation, or, as a daily devotional, read through these glorious stanzas to be reminded each day during Lent of the “Easter of unending joy” that is our hope and promise.

“Lord, who throughout these forty days for us didst fast and pray, teach us with thee to mourn our sins, and close by thee to stay.
As thou with Satan didst contend and didst the victory win, O give us strength in thee to fight, in thee to conquer sin.
As thou didst hunger bear and thirst, so teach us, gracious Lord, to die to self, and chiefly live by thy most holy word.
An through these days of penitence, and through thy Passiontide, yea, evermore, in life and death, Jesus! with us abide.
Abide with us, that so, this life of suffering overpast, an Easter of undending joy we may attain at last!”

Take time to look for the rich blessings in this magnificent book, our 1982 Hymnal.

Dr. Jeannine Jordan is the Organist and Minister of Music at St. Bede Episcopal Church in Forest Grove, Oregon. She and her husband, David, are also the creators and presenters of two organ and multi-media concert experiences, From Sea to Shining Sea and Bach and Sons.

The Church, The Music, The Service, The Organ – Making Them One With Integrity

The definition of integrity includes three words: wholeness, unity, and honesty. As a musician who has participated in church music for most of her life, reflecting on these words has been illuminating.

As a child, I sang in church choirs and when I had developed sufficient piano skills, I played for Sunday school and other church gatherings. Participating in church music was one part of my wholeness as a child. It was part of the whole person I was becoming.

For my family, the church was a unifying force in our lives. Sunday services, Sunday school, Bible studies, boards and committees, and choir participation meant regular attendance and participation. The church was a place to express our faith through service and music. It was a place where we as a family unit joyfully, for the most part, participated together in weekly worship and church gatherings.

There was an honesty to our family church participation. It completed our lives and gave fullness to them. Church participation was not questioned, as it was the norm. I never knew anything different. Participating in church music was the unifying force and that which completed or made whole the church experience. The music of the church gave integrity to worship and God’s word.

As a teenager, I became involved in church music in a different way. I was no longer the child participating in junior choirs, playing the piano for Sunday school and learning the act of worship, I was now a worship leader. There was now responsibility-a responsibility that demanded integrity. I do not remember that I had a formal job description in my first years as a paid church musician, but I do know that my organ teacher, whose position I filled when she moved from the town, instilled in me the integrity for church work that stays with me to this day. To fulfill the role of a church organist, an organist must be prepared before she can “play” a church service.

Let us examine a typical job description for a church organist from the point of view of serving in church music with integrity. Most job descriptions for a church organist begin with the imperative:
“The church organist will play for all Sunday worship services throughout the year.”

What exactly is meant by the word “play”? The “playing” of a worship service is the visible result of years of invisible work of organ study requiring thousands if not tens of thousands hours of practice. The “playing” of a particular worship service is the one hour where weeks if not months of worship planning and preparation with the pastor, worship committee, choir director, soloists, and cantors is experienced by a group of people. A group of people that see only that hour with you on the organ bench “playing” the service.

“Playing” a service with integrity means being prepared. It means putting years of practice and study into use. It means finding music appropriate to the season, the scriptures, and the pastor’s message. It means learning that music including the hymns and service music. It means rehearsing with choirs, soloists and cantors. It means putting together the music so the service proceeds smoothly and seamlessly.

Creating wholeness and unity through careful honest preparation is the way of those who serve with integrity in the church as an organist.

Dr. Jeannine Jordan is the Organist and Director of Music at St. Bede Episcopal Church in Forest Grove, Oregon.  She is also a concert organist who performs the organ and multi-media concert experiences, Bach and Sons and From Sea to Shining Sea throughout the US and Europe.

What’s In a Hymn Tune Title?

The hymn tune TON-Y-BOTEL (tune in a bottle) also known as EBENEZER is a Welsh tune that first appeared in hymnals in 1890. Often a composer will choose a hymn tune name based on a scriptural reference in the case of EBENEZER. The tune name TON-Y-BOTEL came from a legend about the tune being picked up by a peasant on the coast of the Lleyn Peninsula in a sealed bottle which washed ashore. The title ST. PETERSBURG was probably chosen by the composer Bortnianski because that is the city in which he resided at the time he composed the melody.

You can find a list of the Tune Names included in our 1982 Hymnal on page 1045. You may find more than one page number listed with some titles which means several different texts can be sung to this tune. (Example: TON-Y-BOTEL, pages 381 and 527).

A wonderfully complete website to discover more about hymn tunes and their composers and texts and their writers, is www.hymnary.com. Enjoy!

Dr. Jeannine Jordan, Church and Concert Organist

 

What Do You Know About Your Hymnal?

With the New Year, why not take time to look really carefully at the amazing book we use every Sunday in worship – the hymnal. Did you know at the bottom of each hymn page is a wealth of information about each hymn? Why you can discover who wrote the text and when that writer lived and died; who composed the tune or melody of the hymn and when that composer lived and died; what the name of the tune is; what the poetic meter of the text is; and even how quickly the hymn should be played.

For example, let’s look at the most well-loved Epiphany hymn, known by the first line of its text, We Three Kings of Orient Are. Checking the bottom of the page we discover the words were written by John Henry Hopkins, Jr. who lived between 1820 and 1891. As it happens Mr. Hopkins also composed the melody (music) to this favorite text. Listed to the right of the word Music is Three Kings of Orient. Every composer names his/her tune and this is the title Mr. Hopkins gave to his now-famous tune/melody. To the far right of the page are a rather strange set of numbers – in this case 88.446 with Refrain. These numbers refer to the poetic meter of the text, i.e. 8 syllables in the first phrase, 8 in the second, 4 in the third and etc. The notation directly above these numbers tell a musician about how quickly this hymn should be played.

With all this information, hymns can take on new personalities and “come alive.”  Take time to learn a bit about the hymns so carefully chosen for your worship. You’ll be amazed at what you will discover.
Dr. Jeannine Jordan, church and concert organist

 

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