If you’ve been following along with the “Gloria Challenge” then this page has everything you might be interested in. Full instrument and conductor scores, rehearsal MP3’s, final performance MP3 and links to posts made during the process.
The “Gloria Challenge” was to follow the footsteps of JS Bach to compose and perform a full scale sacred work for SATB Chorus and Chamber Orchestra at a church service, and to do it all within one week. The piece I composed was the “Christmas Gloria” and it was performed at the Christmas Eve service at Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church in Mount Vernon, WA.
Here’s an Mp3 of the Christmas Eve presentation:
I had setup several high end microphones to get a quality recording, but my tapes would not format for the recording. So as a last resort I set a CD recorder on top of the church organ and recorded off it’s internal mics. I’m disappointed we didn’t get a better recording, but it will give you an idea of the piece.
The “Gloria Challenge” came about as I was Googling “JS Bach” a couple weeks ago and read again how he composed so much music for the entire church year, often preparing a full scale piece in a single week. That has always fascinated me, so I thought I’d take a swing at it and see what I could do. It was a great devotional time for me, and a bit tense to get it all together.
Thank you SO MUCH to all the vocalists and musicians who took the challenge and stepped up to the plate.
The process was gruelling to do this in a week. I was pretty sick the evening of our performance and collapsed Christmas Day. If I did this on a regular basis I think it would go much smoother. But I was pleased with the finished product. From talking to chorus members most of them were pleased as well considering the time restraints. The choir got one three hour rehearsal – then a run-through before the performance.
Of course it’s all just a scholastic game if the piece doesn’t inspire the listener and fit appropriately into the service. From feedback I’ve received people were very moved by the piece. There was a thirty second standing ovation at the end of the piece. That’s a little rare for church services, especially a Christmas Eve service. I take it that people were very moved by the text and music.
For me, the piece brought alive the mystery and nobility of Christmas. It also brought some depth to the season for me as I was huddled in seclusion working on the piece instead of watching Christmas specials on tv.
The dedication for the Christmas Gloria is to Ruth Haines and the Mount Vernon Presbyterian Church choir. I really enjoyed the couple years I spent with all of you as music director at MVPres. And thanks to Ruth Haines who always kept me organized even when I didn’t know it.
So yes, I’d say we did it.
Christmas Gloria Musicians:
Trumpet – Cindy Luna
French Horn – Amanda McDaniel
Tuba – Bruce Hanna
Oboe – Rebecca Wright
Flute – Linda Slone
Clarinet – Michelle Hanna
Harpsichord – Ruth Haines
Double Bass – Marilyn Parman
Timpani – Todd Parks
Christmas Gloria Instrument Scores
MP3 Gloria practice tracks for musicians and vocalists: