What is Scripture’s role in regulating worship?
Blog , Ministry , Worship / November 25, 2017

(Original posting 10/13/2017) I’m currently preparing for comprehensive exams to complete my Master of Music in Church Music degree. Part of that is being prepared to answer a number of questions on worship and music philosophy. So, in preparation for that portion of the exams I’m going to inflict, . . . I mean share, some of my practice answers to those questions with you! So the first topic is, “what role should Scripture play in developing a worship and music philosophy?” I’ll use Scripture to make the case for defining its own role. ​All references are to the ESV translation unless otherwise noted. ​Hebrews 12:28b says, “offer God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe.” The word acceptable clearly implies that God has criteria for what pleases Him in worship. Also, there must be means of worship that are unacceptable to Him or else there would be no point for the above instruction. But this raises the obvious question, what determines acceptable worship? In ​Deuteronomy, Moses gives the Israelites their final instructions before crossing the Jordan into the Promised Land. Chapter 12 contains instructions on the proper worship of God and verse 8 says, “You shall not do according to…

Next Step
Uncategorized / November 25, 2017

(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…

Major Milestone!
Blog , New Music , Personal / November 24, 2017

(Original posting 7/11/2017) Although much work remains, the first draft of my Easter cantata,  Wounded, Bleeding, Still Proceeding, is now complete! This is a significant milestone towards completing this cantata, submitting my master’s thesis, and graduation. It’s been a seven-month journey so far and I’m only a couple of weeks behind my planned schedule. So praise God for His faithfulness! The piece just completed is a resurrection setting called, “Why?”. The title derives from the angel’s question to the women who were first to view the empty tomb in Luke 24:5, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?”. The question is set as soprano solo over a high B pedal tone with eerie accompaniment from pitched percussion and woodwinds in a nebulous key center with some biting dissonance. Full chorus and orchestra then joins in a major key to proclaim, “He is not here, He is risen!”. I think the piece works, but it’s hard to be objective. Nevertheless, I pray that this piece does justice to this foundational story of Christianity. So, the first 90% of the work is done and all that’s left is the second 90% of the work (That’s an old project management joke, folks),…

John Ness Beck Choral Composers’ Workshop
Blog , Personal / November 24, 2017

(Original posting 6/19/2017) Last week was spent in Greenville, S.C. at the John Ness Beck Choral Composers’ Workshop, sponsored by Beckenhorst Press and hosted at the gorgeous First Presbyterian Church of Greenville. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (well, maybe twice!) that was a blessing to experience. As I was contemplating writing a synopsis of the week a news item came across my screen from one of my colleagues and new friend from the workshop, Joel Snyder, who beat me to the punch. Can’t do a better job than Joel did, so here is his recap of the week’s events: https://solfasounds.wordpress.com/2017/06/19/my-recap-of-the-composers-workshop-2/ Keep up with Joel on his blog at: https://solfasounds.wordpress.com/

Wounded, Bleeding, Still Proceeding Update – June 1
Uncategorized / November 24, 2017

(Original posting 6/1/2017) Progress, yes!  First draft of the crucifixion setting (Wounded, Bleeding, Still Proceeding) is complete. Some of it I really like and some I’m not so sure about. Here’s a brief sample of the orchestral opening https://soundcloud.com/wheatmyermusic/wounded-bleeding-still-proceeding-orchestra-opening-clip. Listen for “borrowed” harmonies from Rachmaninoff. Time to set this on the back burner to let those uncertainties simmer while work begins on the one remaining movement, the resurrection! I plan to call this movement, “Why?” It will be based on the angel’s question in Luke 24:5, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” I plan to utilize a strong contrast between a dissonantly vague key center section set against a strong major key declaration of “He is risen!” to portray the astonishing news that Jesus Christ is no longer dead!

It’s almost summer, and you know what that means, right?
Blog , New Music , Personal / November 24, 2017

(Original posting 5/25/2017)  Well, here comes Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial beginning of summer, and a long, long, summer it will be here in Texas. It’s time for bare feet, cook outs, baseball, tank tops, road trips, and all that goes with hot weather! Of course, Memorial Day is far more important than that and this website is a great spot to catch up on the somber significance of the day. But the beginning of summer also means it’s time to select your music for the coming Advent and Christmas season. You have started thinking about your Christmas music, haven’t you? May I offer a few suggestions? Here are four new and distinct options for four different forces that would fit well in your service and concert programming. Lo, a Rose – for SATB chorus and piano. A somber and contemplative setting of the traditional carol, Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming. You’ll find this a lovely treatment of the tune and text that won’t tax your rehearsal time. This arrangement is moderately easy but allows good musicianship to shine. The light and delicate accompaniment, with hauntingly beautiful harmonies, directs the focus onto the text while providing just the right…

Wounded, Bleeding, Still Proceeding Update
Blog , New Music / November 24, 2017

(Original posting 5/21/2017) Well, with the finale (He Became Like Me) completed it’s time to move back to the two remaining unwritten movements in my Easter cantata. These will be the settings of the crucifixion and the resurrection of Christ. Of course, these are the two most daunting movements. It’s not the music that is intimidating, as I already know what I want to do, but the gravity of the subject matter as the two most important events in Christianity weighs heavily as a duty to set them well. First up will be the crucifixion setting, which will also include the Garden of Gethsemane and the trial, and will be called, Wounded, Bleeding, Still Proceeding. It will feature tenor solo with SATB chorus. The harmonies selected for this piece are inspired by Sergei Rachmaninoff’s setting of Simeon’s Song, the “Nïne otpushchayeshi” from his All Night Vigil. Although somewhat camouflaged, the strings introduce Wounded, Bleeding, Still Proceeding with “Nïne otpushchayeshi’s” opening swaying chords and the rocking motion carries on as underlying accompaniment to the melody. We shall see how it turns out!

On the Nature of Worship
Blog , Worship / November 24, 2017

(Original posting 5/18/2017) Just what is worship? Experience? Intense emotion? Exuberant physical expression? Eh, . . . not so much, at least not according to how the Bible portrays it, nor according to the meaning of the biblical words we translate into the English, worship. But let’s let Paul Clark, Jr. take a stab at explaining all that in this article, Hope for True Worship Rooted in the Living God. Plus, it’s worth reading for the wonderful 1829 baptismal hymn he quotes at the end! It would make a worthwhile project for someone to set to new music. I wonder who could do that, hmmm?

He Became Like Me
Blog , New Music / November 24, 2017

(Original posting 5/17/2017) In my last post I had just begun work on the final movement of my Easter cantata, which is a traditional choir anthem about substitutionary atonement and Christ’s call to discipleship titled, He Became Like Me. Well, while still preserving the right to make further editorial changes, I’m glad to announce that this piece is now complete! It is set for SATB chorus with piano and optional orchestral accompaniment. Although He Became Like Me is part of a full Passion setting, I plan to offer it as a standalone choral anthem as well in the near future. Click the link below for a MIDI sample of the orchestral accompaniment. Enjoy! https://soundcloud.com/wheatmyermusic/he-became-like-me-orchestra

Easter Cantata still progressing . . . (more Wounded, Bleeding, Still Proceeding)
Blog , New Music / November 23, 2017

(Original posting 4/17/2017) Well, March was the target date for completing my thesis project (an Easter cantata) to qualify for Spring graduation, but it’s not going to happen, . . . sigh. I knew it was an ambitious goal from the get go, so the disappointment is not too great. In fact, it appeared all along that this project would require at least part of the summer to complete and that’s just what it’s going to take. I want to spend the time needed to get this right since I’m looking at this more as a debut product rather than just another hurdle in a degree plan. It would be much more gratifying to see it performed than to have it spend its days on a dusty library shelf. (for more background on what this project is about see my 3/13/2017 post on Wounded, Bleeding, Still Proceeding) At present, I’m working on the final movement , a traditional choir anthem about substitutionary atonement and Christ’s call to discipleship titled, He Became Like Me. (And no, just because it’s the final movement doesn’t mean the cantata is nearly done! Writer’s block was building up, and I jumped to the end to find…