On Sunday, March 24 at 5:00pm, St. Peter’s Choir will sing J. S. Bach’s monumental motet “Jesu, Meine Freude,” as part of a special Lenten Evensong. This motet is unique among Bach’s output in this genre in that it alternates between settings of the chorale text and biblical passages from Romans. Bach likely wrote this motet for the funeral of Johanna Maria Käsin who had requested that her funeral include both the hymn “Jesu, Meine Freude,” and the text of Romans 8:1-11. The underlying theme of this work is trust – the belief that no matter the trials and struggles of this life, our joy is found in Jesus:
Go away, mournful spirits, for my joyful master, Jesus, now enters in.
For those who love God even their afflictions become pure sweetness.
Even if here I must endure shame and disgrace, even in suffering you remain,
Jesus, my joy.
We are also taking the opportunity of this special musical offering to begin talking about our next pilgrimage to England. Many of you will remember that St. Peter’s Choir served as the choir-in-residence at St. Albans Cathedral in August of 2017. This was the first England residency St. Peter’s Choir had done, and it was an incredible experience for all. It was not long after our return that we began discussing another trip.
I am thrilled to announce that St. Peter’s Choir has been accepted for a second residency, this time at Ely Cathedral in July of 2021. The Cathedral city of Ely is located in Cambridgeshire, about 15 miles north of Cambridge. The Cathedral dates from the 11th-century and is considered one of the most beautiful Cathedrals in all of England.
Why a residency? Singing for daily services at Ely will give the choir the opportunity to experience the roots of our Anglican tradition, and to sing the music of that tradition in the place for which is was conceived. We will have the opportunity to travel beyond Ely to sight-see during the week, and we will also experience the life of that city, and of the Cathedral, on a day-to-day basis. A residency is a chance for us to “stretch” as a choir – to learn new music, refine old favorites, and improve as an ensemble. Singing together on a daily basis and traveling together as a group will make us a better choir and a stronger community.
We will be talking more about this wonderful opportunity and ways in which parishioners can support, and even take part in, this trip. I am grateful for the dedication and beautiful singing of St. Peter’s Choir, and we are grateful for the support of the congregation of St. Peter’s.
Elizabeth Lenti, Director of Music and Organist