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St. John's Episcopal
Tuesday, April 28 2020

...Singers were placed approximately 10 feet apart. Entrance into the building and movement about in the building was preplanned with restroom use and sanitation protocols preplanned. Music sheets were prepared carefully using email .pdf files for home rehearsal with backup sheets as needed. Hand washing and sanitizing are our constant vigilant protocol.  Singers that live in close proximity to the church and were confident in their health status risk factors as described by the diocese and the governor were approached to serve.

The music director, in conjunction with the rector, chose hymns, liturgical music, choral or solo anthems appropriate to the small forces allowed for Sunday morning services. These materials were preplanned, rehearsed, and recorded for use in live streaming performance and for our prerecorded services downloaded to our internet platforms by our team. Fr. R.C., does all the recording, though he is teaching the music director established protocols to ensure a consistent outcome, especially as we approach summer’s needs.

During this period of emergency reformatting and creation of new ways of meaningful worship, the music director has basically been on call 7 days a week to respond at a moments notice and create music as needed in any format that might present itself.  Being able to practice on the organ has been easy enough, both at the church and on my home studio large practice organ. Both organs are easily recorded for downloads to our website.   Office time has become more intense as our virtual choir product is being built while still doing normal planning, rehearsing, practicing, and recording. Mondays are usually quiet. Late mornings, afternoons, and some evenings get filled up. Scheduling is around team and performers availability. The attempt is to complete all Friday, but there is always something more!

Rehearsing small ensembles, vocal soloists, and instrumentalists is far more intense than normal rehearsal of our choirs since the finished product doesn’t hide small mistakes hidden by other choristers singing the same part. The final musical offering must be of the highest possible quality each solo individual can deliver. Pre Recording performances help some since one can have a “do-over” or two, but since live streaming must be completely presentable, putting in the time with strong rehearsing becomes mandatory. 

Creating and practicing for small organ recitals in addition to normal service music occupies quite a bit of my time once the above priorities have been accomplished. 

The music director is presently creating a high quality virtual choir product that is hopefully better than what can be seen now on most websites. We believe our completion of this web based product will be quite soon.

The Second Sunday of the Month Compline Service has been enhanced with an organ recital immediately following the Compline Office. This will continue with the music director being the performer until other organists are available to move about. The overall interest in this offering is more valuable during the pandemic. 

In addition to Sunday services, the singing of a hymn at the Wednesday morning's 7 am service continues, but now my studio organ is heard on Zoom instead of our wonderful harmonium from the chapel.

Solo recitals and small ensembles is the plan for our concert season. Live streaming of these concerts will be offered with viewers being given the opportunity to contribute to our efforts in offering fine performances to the community. 

A strong brass ensemble presence is now emerging with a seven member ensemble participating for Festival Easter Services and during Christmas, as well as trumpets added to services from time to time just for fun!

Our 6th annual Festival of Advent Lessons & Carols service, led by the Parish Choir, Compline Choir and Jubilate Choir confidently lead the congregation in traditional Anthems and Carols for the Season. 

Our Christina Beckman’s Nookta Rose Baroque concert was a hands down spectacular success, solidifying expectations for St. John’s Concert Series offerings to come. Christina’s choice of music from the Baroque reveals both the sensitive and the exciting sides of Baroque life. Hearing the fine reproductions of period instruments, violins, cello, baroque guitar, and the visually exciting archlute introduced many listeners for the first time to the world of early music.  Expert interpretation of this styled music along with pithy narrative was a hit.

It remains to be seen how St. John’s Concert Series will continue with its traditional procession of outstanding visiting choirs such as The Esoterics and Seattle Pro-Musica. St. John’s agreement with the Olympia Chamber Orchestra for their performing their annual season as a part of St. John’s Concert Season will be re-evaluated. We expect players will accompany St. John’s choirs and ensembles in various projects throughout the year. Many of you enjoyed OCO’s Concerts this past Fall and we look forward to more. 

We will reschedule Gabrieli and Friends, Music for Brass and Organ extravaganza with scholar Rebecca Edwards, and the Dedicatory Recital of our finished Schlicker Pipe Organ to be performed by Douglas Cleveland.  Again, we thank Bond Organ Builders of Portland, Oregon for stepping up as they work to complete the installation in time for the concert.

At least one jazz offering and one Celtic style offering are being worked on for this next season.

Posted by: James French AT 03:02 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email