A week ago I conducted the American Kantorei in their December 2013 concert (click here for photos). I would like to thank both the choir and the orchestra “aus Herzens Grunde” (“from the bottom of my heart”) for their glorious, incredibly beautiful, and heartfelt proclamation of the Christmas story last Sunday. It was a great thrill and honor to work with them once again. Their music was stunningly beautiful and truly “Epic!” (see previous post).
The concert consisted of Part 3 of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, three Latin motets, the hymn “Savior of the Nations, Come,” and Part 6 of the Christmas Oratorio. The three Latin motets included Tomás Luis de Victoria’s famous setting of “O magnum mysterium” and the première of two of my own motets. The first is a setting of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” that I composed the day before Christmas last year and dedicated to the memory of the late Rev. Robert Bergt, founder and, until his passing, director of the American Kantorei. This motet is available in an English version and a Latin version as well as an edition for strings. We performed it in Latin with the American Kantorei strings. The second was a setting of “Of the Father’s Love Begotten” that is dedicated to “the American Kantorei to celebrate twenty seasons of the proclamation of the Word made flesh through the Bach at the Sem concerts at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri (1993-2013).” We also sang this one in Latin. I would especially like to thank Dr. Jeral Becker for preparing the choir for their exquisitely beautiful and deeply moving performance of these motets and his wife Wanda for making all of the arrangements for the orchestra.
Among others that I need to thank are:
- all those on the Bach at the Sem Committee and at Concordia Seminary who made the visit possible and arranged all the details;
- the choir at Lutheran High School South and their director Greg Gastler, a tenor with the American Kantorei, for allowing me and my wife to sit in on a rehearsal;
- my church, Trinity Lutheran in Peoria, for allowing me to spend the week in St. Louis;
- Andy Bates and Rev. Rod Zwonitzer at KFUO radio and Kathy Lawton Brown at RAF-STL / Radio Arts Foundation ~ Saint Louis for their radio interviews;
- the busload of people who came down from Peoria for the concert and all those who made and paid for those arrangements;
- St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Des Peres, for their Thanksgiving Eve worship service and Village Lutheran Church for welcoming us on Sunday morning;
- the many other people who made our visit so pleasant.
We thank God for the legacy of the proclamation of the Word through music left to us by Rev. Robert Bergt in the form of American Kantorei and the Bach at the Sem concerts. We pray God’s richest blessings upon them in the next twenty years. Soli Deo Gloria!