Next Step

(Original posting 9/19/2017) Wounded, Bleeding, Still Proceeding is going to my first reader tomorrow for preliminary approval. Hooray, big step! To refresh your memory on what this is about, here are the director’s notes:

Wounded, Bleeding, Still Proceeding is an oratorio-style Passion setting presenting significant events in the eight-day period ending with Christ’s resurrection. The music is inspired by Christ’s single-minded determination to fulfill His mission, fully cognizant of the coming ordeal, as illustrated in Matthew 20:18-19:

“Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death, and will hand him over to the Gentiles to mock, to scourge, and to crucify; and the third day he will be raised up.” (WEB)

Thus, this Passion setting purposely takes a somewhat darker tone than is often used in Easter musicals. The crucifixion was ever in Jesus’s mind in the months he circuited Galilee and Judah on the way to the cross. It is obvious from the Gospel accounts that the weight of that destiny grew on him as he neared Jerusalem. So, Wounded, Bleeding, Still Proceeding is set in such a way as to allow the listener to experience some degree of the emotions Christ must have felt as he bore our griefs and carried our sorrows to Calvary, and thus better know the exhilaration and joy that comes with witnessing his resurrection. Wounded, Bleeding, Still Proceeding makes it plain that the crucifixion wasn’t a detour, but was the essential purpose behind Christ’s incarnation.

Wounded, Bleeding, Still Proceeding may be presented in three different formats. It may stand with the music alone, as a sacred oratorio, for the concert hall or the sanctuary. With the optional drama and narration, it may be presented as a seasonal pageant. Or, in its most excellent function, it may be combined with the Lord’s Supper Observance and Gospel Presentation, as a Holy Week musical worship service.

Wounded, Bleeding, Still Proceeding‘s most unique feature is the intentional inclusion of room for the Lord’s Supper observance. The Last Supper Suite section is designed to readily facilitate communion.  Musical interludes and optional repeats are strategically located to accommodate the presentation, distribution, and consumption of the bread and cup, while the music and optional drama compellingly portray the events in the upper room.

Wounded, Bleeding, Still Proceeding is written to gently stretch the ears of sacred music listeners through expanded musical idioms, which are artistic but approachable. The musical language is sufficiently clear and beautiful for use in  the sanctuary, and sufficiently artistic for the concert hall.

The score is also intended to be engaging and rewarding for the musicians. With the strategic use of soloists and choir, the quantity of music to be learned by the singers is kept manageable. So, even though some of the music is a bit challenging,  the amount to learn is small enough to be mastered in once-a-week Easter season rehearsals. The soloists have the more ambitious parts, but, again, the quantity is small. Only the baritone, singing the role of Jesus, has a large set to sing. More difficult vocal passages are frequently doubled in the accompaniment. The instrumental charts are interesting for each player and readily readable by advanced high school or higher musicians. Each instrument is given an opportunity to shine. The chamber orchestra ensemble keeps the instrumentation within the reach of modest music programs. However, the parts can easily be doubled, especially the strings, to encompass larger ensembles as well.

The suggested narration and drama display the Passion story in a series of set-piece living dioramas (tableaux vivant). This staging is adaptable for both small, simple productions as well as the large and elaborate. The roles may be easily played by ordinary people.

May your experience with Wounded, Bleeding, Still Proceeding reveal the beauty in the Passion story.
Robert Myers
S.D.G.

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