I was privileged to be the musician for our latest pastoral conference. A lot of fun in one way, and yet also a true stomach ache in another. I will always be grateful to my mom and dad - especially my dad - for the gift of music. I remember asking for the piano as a teenager and being utterly shocked when he went out and got it. For years and years, playing the piano has been a joy and delight. Nothing I like more than to have the kids and their friends and Cindi and others gathered around the piano and singing, harmonizing, having a great time.
BUT playing all the services for the pastoral conference gave me a constant stomach ache. It didn't help that the service settings went from easy (to me) to the most difficult - this morning was "Morning Prayer" - a service whose harmonizations I truly dread. So 20th century and so NOT the way that this boy plays. But thanks be to God through His grace I *think* I made it through without any major screw-ups that would invite attention away from the Lord and His words of life and onto the pianist!
What the whole thing really enforced to me was that so-called "Anglican chant" really does seem to be quite natural - for me to play and for the people to sing. I think it "fits" English in a way that no other method of chanting really does. The new Magnificat setting in Evening Prayer (I mentioned before) uses that chant and I was both surprised and delighted at how easily folks picked it up and ran with it. As my District President said to me after the Evening Prayer service, he'd never sung it before, but he was able to sing it comfortably.
Oh, and it also reminded me that I HATE playing in E-flat - those wretched three flats and then all the accidentals along the way in Lasst uns erfreuen!!! Some songs were MEANT to be in C. That's one of them. :)