Dr. Jeannine Jordan, Concert Organist

Posts tagged ‘hymnody’

Living Advent through Hymnody

The ubiquitous “sounds of Christmas” which surround us at every turn from mid-November on, are among the most powerful influences on us to think about Christmas, rather than Advent. “Christmas music” from Jingle Bells and Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer mixed in with Silent Night and Joy to the World fills every store, coffee shop, elevator, and office. Once one of those catchy tunes begins ringing in our ears and repeating again and again, it is difficult to get it out. Thus, one of the ways we can work on “living Advent” is to rediscover some of the rich hymnody of the Advent season.

Advent imageThe season of Advent looks back, to a time before the birth of Christ, to show us how the people of God learned hope in ancient times. And then the season of Advent looks forward, far beyond the birth of Christ, to the true object of our faith, the King who comes to conquer the darkness, restore creation, and establish his Kingdom forever.

Following is a sampling of the Advent hymns:advent hymn

Come, thou long expected Jesus (#66) is a Charles Wesley hymn, a gentle prayer to the infant King to enter our hearts and raise us to heaven. Although it was originally written as two stanzas of eight lines each, it has been set to the tune STUTTGART as four stanzas of four lines each.

On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry (#76) Although he does not have a feast day in Advent, John the Baptist is clearly one of the chief saints of Advent. He bridges the gap between the Old and New Testaments, proclaiming the traditional prophetic promise of the coming Messiah, and then pointing specifically to Jesus, the long-awaited fulfilment of that promise. This Latin hymn of the 18th century repeats the Baptist’s warning that repentance is a necessary precondition to participation in the coming salvation. The text is set to another early melody, WINCHSTER NEW.

Creator of the stars of night (#60) The Latin original of this hymn first appears in manuscripts of the ninth and tenth centuries. Both a plea for divine compassion and a hymn of praise to God the Creator, Redeemer, and Judge of fallen humanity, it is the office hymn in the monastic office of Vespers. The English translation of John Mason Neale was first published in 1851 and has been revised and updated several times. The plainsong melody, CONDITOR ALME SIDERUM, is the traditional tune associated with this hymn.

Herald, Sound the Note of Judgment (#76) The next for this “new to us” Advent hymn, was written by Moir A. J. Waters who was born in India and spent many years teaching at Indore Theological Seminary and evangelizing in nearby villages. After his retirement, he published three small collections of hymns including the Advent hymn, Herald, Sound the Note of Judgment. With the tune, HERALD, SOUND by Robert Powell of Greenville, South Carolina, this marvelous hymn made its first (and to date) – only hymnal appearance in The Hymnal 1982.

Comfort, comfort ye my people (#67) was written in German by Johannes G. Olearius (1611-1684) for the feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist. The English translation by Catherine Winkworth was published in 1863. The text paraphrases Isaiah 40 and identifies the voice in the wilderness as John the Baptist. The lively, dance-like tune, PSALM 42, first appeared in the Genevan Psalter in the mid-1500s.

O come, O come, Emmanuel (#56) This ancient advent hymn originated in part from the “Great ‘O’ Antiphons,” part of the medieval Roman Catholic Advent liturgy. On each day of the week leading up to Christmas, one responsive verse would be chanted, each including a different Old Testament name for the coming Messiah. When we sing each verse of this hymn, we acknowledge Christ as the fulfillment of these Old Testament prophesies. We sing this hymn in an already-but not yet-kingdom of God. Christ’s first coming gives us a reason to rejoice again and again, yet we know that all is not well with the world. So along with our rejoicing, we plead using the words of this hymn that Christ would come again to perfectly fulfill the promise that all darkness will be turned to light. The original text created a reverse acrostic: “ero cras,” which means, “I shall be with you tomorrow.” That is the promise we hold to as we sing this beautiful hymn.

Dr. Jeannine Jordan is a church musician, teacher, and concert organist. Visit www.promotionmusic.org to learn more of her work.




Something About Hymns

A religious song or poem in praise of God is a hymn.

A writer of hymns is a hymnist.

A collections of hymns is a hymnal or a hymnary, which may or may not include music.

The music to which a hymn may be sung is a hymn tune.

The singing of hymns is hymnody.

A student of hymnody is a hymnologist.

And, finally the scholarly study of hymns, hymnists, and hymnody is hymnology.

Dr. Jeannine Jordan, church musician and hymnologist, is also the creator and performer of the organ and multi-media concert experiences, Bach and Sons and From Sea to Shining Sea, as a concert organist.

The Mighty Ocean-Tone

The Mighty Ocean-Tone

From 1871-1873, Henry Ward Beecher, 19th century theologian, scholar, and hymn writer delivered several lectures in the Yale Lectures on Preaching series.  The lectures cover many topics other than preaching, including congregational singing and organs. Expressing the spiritual and ecclesial function of the organ in worship, Beecher provides the following metaphor:

“I am accustomed to think of a congregation with an organ as of a fleet of boats in the harbor, or on the waters.  The organ is the flood, and the people are the boats; and they are buoyed up and carried along upon its current as boats are borne upon the depths of the sea.  So, aside from mere musical reasons, there is this power that comes upon people, that encircles them, that fills them, this great, mighty ocean-tone; and that helps them to sing.”

So organists, put on your organ shoes, turn on the organ, and provide for your congregation the “great mighty ocean-tone” that fills their spirits, encircles them with power, and sets them free to sing God’s word.

Dr. Jeannine Jordan, church and concert organist, with David Jordan, media specialist, are the creators and performers of Bach and Sons and From Sea to Shining Sea.

Patronage! It is important!

Alright, in 25 words (or 140 “tweetable” characters) or less, what is it that we should do to find those patrons eager to help composers compose, performers perform, and interested in preserving the great music of the past?

  • Decide what it is you really want to have happen with you and your specific art. Directing, playing, composing, recruiting, teaching…
  • Give yourself a test and ask if you really think it is important for people now and for those yet to come.
  • When you decide it really is that important, you may surprise yourself your new found mission.
  • With confidence in your mission, doors will begin to open to people who want to be a part of your dream
  • If you really believe it’s important, don’t hesitate, tell people about it.
  • Your enthusiasm whether quiet or loud will carry the strength to move people into motion.
  • One small warning, there will be people, believe it or not, who will want to immediately douse your enthusiasm. Don’t let them do it. If your idea has come this far, don’t waste your time on people who want to drag you down.
  • It’s interesting how people that have a great attitude and belief end up being with people that share the same thoughts.
  • Think big.  You have the skills and experience to do something great.
  • This is not make-believe blather saying “you can do anything you want”.  You can’t. But you can do great things with the skills, experience, talent, and abilities that you already posess. You just need to release them upon the waiting world and “ask and you shall receive”.
  • Don’t wait to get started. What idea do you have to further the arts in your community?
    * A scholarship program for organ/piano students
    *A school for vocal training with results that will manifest themselves in 6 years.
    *A new addition to or refurbishment of the church organ

    *A new set of bells for your music program
    *A new grand piano for the sanctuary
    *A performing arts series for your entire community

  • *An intergenerational choir that builds itself
    *An AGO chapter with 80 strong contributing members

Take that little seed, that idea has been smoldering for years, that plan that would provide so much worth for your community, and let it explode.  Then ask a patron or four to help you get there, to realize that dream, to keep music alive in our churches, schools, and concert halls today and in the future.

The members of the Music Ministry of our small mission church, St. Bede Episcopal in Forest Grove, Oregon have a vision and goal of not only providing excellence in our worship music today but building on and creating an outstanding music ministry for the future.

With that in mind, we’d like to ask for your patronage – a gift large or small to our upcoming Hymn-a-thon Music Ministry fundraising event on June 7th.  To be a patron of the worship arts at St. Bede Episcopal Church, and help us reach our goal of $4,000, please click here to visit our gofundme site. All contributions will be matched by an anonymous patron.

We thank you for your support, encouragement, and generosity.

Dr. Jeannine Jordan enjoys a career as a church musician and concert organist.  She and her husband, David Jordan, media artist, created and perform two inspiring organ and multi-media concert experiences, Bach and Sons and From Sea to Shining Sea throughout the US and in Europe.

ASK for Patronage

I believe that there are many people who might not know they are patrons yet, but who would gladly and generously support your music ministry, concert series, studio, or music program.  However, I do believe patrons have one thing in common. They need to be asked for their help.

Before beginning that search and learning how to ask for patronage, though, we have to decide that what we are doing is important enough for someone to support our efforts.  We can get caught thinking “if we only had the money we could get something done here.” Okay, ask yourself, what exactly do you want to get done and how will it benefit others.  If you can carefully and creatively formulate your idea (and put a price tag on it), you might be amazed at what can happen.

Traveling throughout the country to present our organ and multi-media concerts, we have learned so much from our hosts.  The incredible stories they share with us of patronage, of people “making things happen” in their communities in the music and art world, is astounding.

Time after time it is a single person (or a very small group) who has an idea – something they know will benefit the community – who then persuades others to join them as patrons – people working together to create a powerful forward momentum to keep the arts alive.

It would be my great desire that all of us decide that what we are contributing to the arts world is important enough that we can’t let it die (because it certainly could) and we need to pay it forward into the future, for generations that don’t even know they need your art. Today’s patrons, just like Sara Levy and the Esterhazy family of the past, ensure that some of the greatest music and sounds will be available and played for people now and in the future.

With that in mind, we’d like to ask for your patronage – a gift large or small to our upcoming Hymn-a-thon Music Ministry fundraising event on June 7th.  To be a patron of the worship arts at St. Bede Episcopal Church, and help us reach our goal of $4,000, please click here to visit our gofundme site. All contributions will be matched by an anonymous patron. We thank you for your support, encouragement, and generosity.

Dr. Jeannine Jordan, Minister of Music and Organist, at St. Bede Episcopal Church also enjoys sharing her organ and multi-media concert experiences, Bach and Sons and From Sea to Shining Sea with audiences throughout the USA and in Europe.

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.

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


Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: