Director of Music Vivian Montgomery’s Music Notes are published in the weekly order of service and here at follen.org.
Notes for September 15:
Today, the Adult Choir shares Alex Rowley’s lush setting of Campion’s “Tune Thy Music to Thy Heart”, an invitation to:
“…sing thy joy with thanks, and so thy sorrow.
Though Devotion needs not Art, Sometimes of the poor the rich may borrow.
Strive not yet for curious ways: Concord pleaseth more, the less ’tis strained;
Zeal affects not outward praise, Only strives to show a love unfained.
Love can wondrous things affect, Sweetest Sacrifice, all wrath appeasing;
Love the highest doth respect; Love alone to him is ever pleasing.”
Scattered throughout the service will be Amens invented by Vivian’s composer husband, John Morrison, in dedication to his salt-of-the-earth rural North Carolina aunts and uncles. As miniature as these offerings are, they’re monumental in being a world premiere, and in their universal sentiment: our most common usage of the word amen is to mean “so be it”, sometimes “verily” or “truly”, but Rabbinic scholars believe the Hebrew word for faith, emuna, comes from the root amen, and it can also be used to express strong agreement, as in “amen to that”. About the compositions, John writes: “Amens for Morrisons (2016) honors the children and spouses of Mason McKnight and Lelia Caldwell Alexander Morrison. The children all started their spiritual lives at Gilwood Presbyterian Church in Cabarrus County, North Carolina. Presented here in the order of birth, and (coincidentally) therefore in pairs by marriage, the number of amens for each person derives from the order of death. The idea for the composition came from a desire to honor Louise Morrison…On completing it, I realized that it had eleven amens, and that she had been the next-to-last of 12 to die. That spurred to me write an amen for each child and spouse…At the time of completion…my father, W. E. Morrison, Sr. still lives in Davidson, so he is the only one to have the chance to know of my intent to honor the family.”