SsAM’s Music Spans The Ages

We are blessed to have such a diversity of music at the Episcopal Church of Saints Andrew and Matthew in downtown Wilmington, Delaware. Just as Christianity is old and new, so too is our music. Through it, we connect to the span of history. Singing it, we feel something of our own place in history.

Consider the music at our 10:30 a.m. service on a Sunday in April, 2016, a Sunday when we had the SsAM Adult Choir but neither the Drumming Circle nor the choir from the Cathedral Choir School of Delaware.

Some of the music is new, much is from the last two centuries, but some is from ancient times.

The first piece of music was modern, by Searle Wright, who lived 1918 to 2004, wrote the organ prelude. The next two pieces of music were old.

Hymn 193 has 5th century words set to 15th century music.

Hymn 478 has older words, from the 2nd century, set to an old English folk melody which was revised by composer Ralph Vaughn Williams.

Hymn 296 is fairly new, with 20th century music and lyrics.

The Gospel tune, “Shall We Gather By The River” was written in Philadelphia in 1864 and has been published, by one count, in 638 different hymnals.

Another Gospel tune, “His Name So Sweet”, is one of Hall Johnson’s many 20th century spirituals.

Also from the 20th Century was the offertory anthem, sung by the choir: William H. Harris’s “Most Glorious Lord of Life”, followed immediately by the congregation singing, “This joyful Eastertide”, a tune from 1685 with words from about 1900.

The Sanctus and the Fraction Anthem were written by men born in 1934 and 1971 respectively.

“My Faith Looks Up to Thee” from 1830 and “Glorious things of thee are spoken” from the late 1700s ended the service. The latter’s music was written by composer Franz Joseph Haydn.

As usual, the service ended with an organ postlude, this time with “Toccata” from Suite Gothique, Op. 25 by Léon Boëllmann, 1862-1897.

As you can see, our 10:30 a.m. Sunday service has lots of music that spans the ages.