Peoria Bach Festival 2016

Join us from June 5-12, 2016 for the fourteenth annual Peoria Bach Festival. This year’s festival will feature eight concerts and six other events including a free lunch lecture and an event for children. For a complete schedule and details, please call (309) 676-4609 or visit www.peoriabachfestival.org. The first concert on Sunday, June 5 will be held at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 1420 West Moss Avenue and feature organist James Kibbie (see www.agopeoria.org).… Read More »

Fanfare, Fugue, and Chorale on CRUCIFER (Brass Choir)

The best sacred music is not “background” music, but rather music that proclaims the eternal truths of Scripture whether it is a simple song or one in which the message is written into the music. The hymn “Lift High the Cross” (CRUCIFER) has become an iconic one for many Christians because it highlights the centrality of the crucifixion of Jesus to the faith. Martin Luther speaks powerfully to this dogma in his Theology… Read More »

Top Ten List – December 2015

Happy New Year! In case you missed some of them, here are the ten most popular blog posts on this blog as of December 31, 2015. By far the most popular blog was on the Christmas carol “Silent Night,” but a close second is the one on “O Holy Night” and the one on the Biblical significance of bells. If you have any topics on music and worship that you would… Read More »

Thoughts on “O Holy Night”

Of all Christmas carols, “O Holy Night” has one of the most fascinating stories. It is a rather unlikely carol in that the poem was written by an avowed atheist (albeit one well-versed in Christian theology) and the tune composed by a practicing Jew who did not observe Christmas. It was first sung by a Parisian opera singer, but soon after church officials banned the song when it was discovered that the… Read More »

“Mi Lusim Heven Na Kamdaun” – Narapela Song Long Krismas (Another Song for Christmas)

“Mi Lusim Heven Na Kamdaun” i wanpela song long Krismas Martin Luther bai i raitim. Long Krismastaim, Martin Luther singim dispela song wantaim famili bilong em (lukim piksa). Long taim bilong Refomesen, Martin Luther i raitim planti song olsem dispela na “God I Strongpela Banis” (lukim hia). “From Heaven Above to Earth I Come” is a song for Christmas by Martin Luther. At Christmas time, Martin Luther would sing this song with his… Read More »

Celebrate Christmas with the Peoria Bach Festival

Celebrate Christmas this year by watching the Peoria Bach Festival 2012 performance of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. You can find it on the Peoria Bach Festival YouTube page by clicking here or following the video links below. Although the performance is in German, English subtitles are provided making the story easy to understand and follow. The translation is a literal one so that the original meaning of the German is as accurate… Read More »

“Ensel Bilong Heven” – Narapela Song Long Krismas (Another Song for Christmas)

“Ensel Bilong Heven” i narapela song bilong Krismas. Bipo yet long taim bilong Jisas Krais i bin kam daun, ensel i singautim dispela Gutnuis long wasman bilong sipsip (lukim Luk 2). Saveman tu i kam na lotu long Jisas (lukim Matyu 2). Olsem tu yumi olgeta mas kam na lotu long Jisas long sios na long bel bilong yumi. “Angels from the Realms of Glory” is another song for Christmas. Many… Read More »

Thoughts on “Silent Night”

Did you know that the beloved Christmas carol “Silent Night” originally had six stanzas and not three? We know this from an original manuscript submitted by the composer Franz Gruber (1787-1863) when an official investigation was held in 1854 on the origins of the carol. Other autographs have been discovered over the years, the most recent being by the author of the text, Father Joseph Mohr (1792-1848). When comparing the English translation… Read More »

Wanpela Song Long Krismas (A Song for Christmas)

“Gutpela Nait, Holi Nait” i wanpela song bilong Krismas. Em i kam long maunten bilong Ostria (Austria) klostu long Jemeni (Germany). “Silent Night, Holy Night” is a Christmas carol that comes from the mountains of Austria near Germany. Long 1817 Binksu Joseph Mohr i kam long St. Nikolaus Sios long taun Oberndorf klostu long Salzburg, Ostria (Austria). Em karim wantaim em tok bilong wanpela song em i raitim long 1816.… Read More »

Handel’s Messiah – Biblical, Christological, and Eschatological

In anticipation of the 40th Annual Peoria “Sing-It-Yourself” Messiah tomorrow on the Trinity Concert Series (www.trinityconcertseries.org), I would like to offer these thoughts on the work. Arguably the most popular musical work of all time, Handel’s Messiah sets to beautiful and awe-inspiring music Old and New Testament passages that proclaim the salvation story. According to one scholar,  the librettist Charles Jennens (1700-73) “intended Messiah as a statement of faith in… Read More »