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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Olive Branch, 10/10/2011

Accent on Worship

“Chant in the Church’s Worship” Redux

The past two Sundays I have led a discussion about chant during the Adult Forum. I thought I might share a portion of that discussion here, relative to “how” we can sing the Psalms meaningfully, freely, and together.

Chant is actually more closely related to the free flow of speech than songs or hymns. Songs and hymns are usually connected to a rhythmic pattern or meter which quantify the length of syllables with note-values (eighth notes, quarter notes, half notes, etc), and organize them into measures of 3, 4, 6 etc. beats. There is a regularity to metered music that is driven more by the rhythm. In Chant, it’s the phrase of words that provides the flow. And it’s irregular. When we speak naturally, some words go by very quickly, some words are spoken with greater length for emphasis.

Speak the phrase “of the Father’s love begotten” and notice how the word “the” goes by much more quickly than “Father’s.” If every syllable of this sentence were spoken with the same length, it sounds forced and un-natural. Natural flow of words is the goal in chant, not proper rhythm.

For thousands of years systems have been developed to sing the Psalms – “tones” for chanting these ancient sung prayers. Gregorian Chant codified a system of eight “tones” for use in singing the psalms with variables to fit different psalms. These tones consisted of several parts:

o Intonation (some introductory notes for the first couple of syllables)
o Reciting tone (one long pitch on which most of the words are sung)
o Mediant Cadence (half-verse ending, or stopping point)
o Second reciting tone
o Final cadence (the ending involving a number of syllables)

The psalm tones we have in the ELW are a distillation of this. We begin with a “reciting tone”, have a mediant cadence of three syllables, a second reciting tone with a final cadence, also three syllables. Five of the tones are “double” tones, which span over two verses.

When we chant a psalm using this consistent musical tone system, I suggest that in maintaining the natural flow of the words, we need to keep momentum going through the reciting tones through to the last accented syllable of the mediant and final cadences. There is also a kind of building momentum in that process. The longer the sentence, the more we can have a sense of moving forward through the reciting tone to cadence point.

While we do indeed observe major punctuation, we have a tendency to inappropriately stop at two points, interrupting the flow: 1. when we move off of the reciting tone; and 2. if the editors split one line of the text of a half-verse into two lines (because of space) – we still stop at the end of the line even if the sentence should go on.

For Psalm 1, this would mean:
Not: “Happy are they who have not walked (pause)
in the counsel (pause) of the wicked,

But instead: “Happy are they who have not walked in the counsel ‘ of the wicked.

We keep moving forward from “Happy” through to the word “wicked” even though we move to new notes for “of the.”

Hopefully this isn’t too technical. For some of you (actually, many of you) for whom it’s not – carry the ball in these things! For those of you for whom it is too technical – relax and let the rest of us carry you!

- Cantor David Cherwien

Sunday Readings

October 16, 2011 – Ordinary Time: Sunday 29
Isaiah 45:1-7 + Psalm 96:1-9[10-13]
I Thessalonians 1:1-10 + Matthew 22:15-22

October 23, 2011 – Ordinary Time: Sunday 30
Leviticus 19:1-2, 15-18+ Psalm 1
I Thessalonians 2:1-8 + Matthew 22:34-46

Feast of St. Luke
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Holy Eucharist with Rite of Healing
7:00 p.m.

This Sunday’s Adult Education
9:30 am in the Chapel Lounge

A presentation about Diaconal Ministries in the Lutheran Church.

Congregation Meeting

The semi-annual Congregation Meeting of Mount Olive Lutheran Church will be held on Sunday, October 23, at 9:30 a.m. The purpose of this meeting is to approve the budget for 2012. All members of Mount Olive are encouraged to attend.

2012 Proposed Budget
Copies of the proposed budget for 2012, which will be voted upon at the Congregation Meeting on Oct. 23, will be available to pick up beginning this Sunday. Please take a copy and look it over so that you can be part of an informed discussion at that meeting.

An Invitation: Berg-Jacobson Wedding
Steve and Dixie Berg invite Mount Olive members to share in the marriage of their daughter Hannah to Andrew Jacobson this Saturday, October 15. The liturgy will be at Mount Olive at 3:30 pm, with a brief champagne and hors d’oeuvres reception following in the Chapel Lounge.

Members of Andrew’s home congregation – Grace University Lutheran – have also been invited to share in this event. No gifts please! If you can’t attend, Andrew and Hannah appreciate your prayers and best wishes!

ELCA National Youth Gathering

This year we hope to bring Mount Olive Youth to New Orleans for the 2012 ELCA Youth Gathering, "Citizens With The Saints." ELCA Youth Gatherings are exciting, challenging, faith-deepening events. Vicar Erik Doughty will be calling youth to see who may be able to participate. Additional information about the Youth Gathering is available online at:

Keep Us In the Loop!

If you have recently moved, have a new or different phone number or a different email address, please remember to contact the church office and give us your updated information! Updated directories of members and friends are published about twice monthly (and are always available in the church office) Notifying us of updated contact information will help us keep directories current and help to keep you informed.

Contribution Statements

Third quarter contribution statements are ready to be picked up at church. They are on a table near the coat room, filed alphabetically.
Please pick yours up the next time you are at church. If you have any questions about your statement, please call Cha in the church office.

Book Discussion

For their meeting on November 12, the Book Discussion Group is reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot, and for the December 15 meeting they will read Light in August, by William Faulkner.

This group meets on the second Saturday of each month at 10:00 a.m. at church. All readers welcome!

Manz Tage Events
The following events, held in conjunction with the upcoming Manz Tage conference, are free and open to the public:

 Friday, Oct. 28, 7:30 pm – Hymn Festival
 Saturday, Oct. 29, 9:00 am – Morning Prayer
 Saturday, Oct. 29, 4:30 pm – Evening Prayer, with organ recital by Samuel Backman

Is Our Nation Broke?

On Sunday, November 13, following the late Eucharist the Neighborhood Ministries Committee will sponsor a light lunch and a conversation about the Federal Budget. This discussion will be led Ed Payne, a speaker with Bread for the World.

A balanced budget is important, but should it be balanced on the backs of the poor? Or are there smarter, less painful ways for this to happen?

Join us for this conversation on November 13!

First Sunday Collection

Please remember our monthly ingathering of non-perishable food items and travel-sized toiletries and personal items! These items are collected on the first Sunday of each month and distributed to those in our area who need them. Donations may be brought to the receptacles in the coat room at church. Be generous!

Free Gospel Concert

“Reviving Gospel Music” is the name of a free concert which will be held this Friday, October 14th, 7:30 pm at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church, 2315 Chicago Av. S., Minneapolis. This concert will feature yhe Minnesota Chapter of the Gospel Music Workshop of America and renowned Gospel soloists. All are invited to attend!

Congratulations, Donna!

Mount Olive Neighborhood Ministries Coordinator, Donna Neste, has recently been elected to serve on the national board of Bread For the World, a collective Christian voice urging our nation's decision makers to end hunger at home and abroad.

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