Let say it outright, I don’t know why grace is so amazing. The concept is so overwhelming that we prefer sing about, and not just theorize about it. This choral arrangement by Roger Ames opened a window to heaven for me, specially when the arranger brings the text of the Kyrie Eleison, Lord have mercy, during the piece. Please get your headphones out and listen, or better, sing along and let God heal your heart. We all need this healing.
Listen to it. There’s also another version at this link.
A few years ago, Dr. Randall Bradley and I led a Baylor Church Music trip to El Salvador. By an act of grace, we ended up singing this song “Esto Les Digo” (This I Tell You) at the crypt of Saint Oscar Romero. It was May 23, 2015, the very day Romero was beatified – the last step toward sainthood. You can see the tears in our group and in the faces of the faithful.
Nos ha llegado una triste noticia desde El Salvador.
El Maestro Doetsch, excelente director coral, y el mas grande pedagogo de la educación vocal musical de centroamérica decidió saltearse un compás, adelantándose así a nosotros. ¡Qué vacío, nos deja… especialmente en nuestros corazones!
Un hombre de valentía inmensa: con mucho ahínco ayudó a que se estrenara mi Requiem: Las Lamentaciones de Rufina Amaya en El Salvador. Muchos se oponían, pero el no se dió por vencido. Aquí, parte de ésa presentación, se le ve a él en el piano:
Baylor University hosted New York Times columnist David Brooks at the Baylor Club on September 21, 2019, in a conversation moderated by Alan Jacobs.
The same day, Anne Snyder Brooks also delivered a timely, and well-received reflection at Baylor Chapel:
Does your choir need a composition that will bring energy, inspiration, and hope to your programming?
Te Deum Latinoamericano is a choral composition that combines Latin American styles with art choral and instrumental traditions. This composition is scored for choir, small vocal ensemble, and instruments. It is appropriate as a concert piece; or, a piece during a worship service.
In the spirit of Latin American music, you have flexibility on how to perform this composition:
1- You can perform it with just choir and piano. The vocal ensemble can be selected from the choir. You can guitar, bass, and percussion to this configuration.
2- As in the recording, you could use a children’s choir as your small children’s ensemble. Or, you could invite professional artists to be your small ensemble.
3- You can also perform this composition with piano, rhythm section & strings. Also, additional instruments up to a full orchestra are available.
On October 15, 2018, Pope Francis canonized Archbishop Oscar Romero as a saint of the Christian faith. I remember the darkness that came to my beloved El Salvador the night that Saint Romero of the Americas was assassinated in 1980. I was still there. So, it was surreal to return in 2018, and find myself leading at all the principal cathedrals of the country with this hymn of thanksgiving for his witness and life. As a sign of grace, our choir and instrumentalists for that event was transported by a bus and personnel from the Armed Forces of El Salvador, the very institution responsible for his death 38 years before. The composition was performed to audiences of over 75,000, and was received with energy and enthusiasm.
Karen Hogue, soprano.
Choir: The Ensemble from First United Methodist, Weatherford
Conducted by the composer.
Please check here for a video recording.
Cameron Park Suite for Oboe and Strings by Carlos Colón
I- Brazos de Dios (Arms of God) & II- Río Perdido (Lost River)
III- Act of Faith
IV- Miss Nellie’s Garden
V- Jacob’s Ladder
VI- Heaven’s Declaration
Conducted by Carlos Colón – Oboist: Eurídice Alvarez
This piece was composed for this program; but the music builds on a previous composition Heaven’s Declaration, commissioned by ABL a few years ago, and inspired on EBB’s reference to Psalm 19 on her poem Aurora Leigh:
“Earth’s crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes—
The rest sit round it and pick blackberries.”
In a sense, the music is a theme and five variants, which develop sort of backwards. The full theme is in the last movement; but the all the movements derive from the original piece.
The movements all take their name from trails or landmarks at Waco’s Cameron Park. I have always been intrigued by the name of the river that goes through it: Los Brazos de Dios, or the Arms of God. One story tells that Spanish missionaries gave it this name after Wacko native Americans showed them hospitality by guiding them to its waters, when the missionaries had come to the end of their resources.
I sense that all the names in each short section weave an economy of ecology and theology that I am not able to explain yet.
I am thankful for the assistance of Mexican composer David Pérez in the orchestration of this piece.