Lent, Holy Week, and Easter are some of the most important seasons in the church year. A lot of pressure may be placed on music directors to choose songs that will set the right tone. As a result, Easter can be a stressful time for choir directors and singers alike.
The old cliché is true: some people only come to church on Christmas and Easter.
Perhaps this is what can make these two holidays so stressful for music directors – they are concerned with pleasing the “regulars” of their congregation, as well as grabbing the attention of those who only show their face in church on special occasions. On the other end of the spectrum, choir members also expect a lot out of the Easter holiday. They want to sing songs that are uplifting and exciting.
But how do music directors find a balance between the traditional styles that are often favored by the church “regulars” and the contemporary music that is preferred by the new-comers? This balance can be very elusive. The choral music “sweet spot” escapes many a music director and can cause the process of choosing music to seem frustrating and hopeless.
Luckily, Epiphany House offers a wide variety of music that caters to many different tastes. One of our most popular selections is All Hail the Risen Lamb, composed by Arthur H. Messiter with lyrics by Randy Cox. It is voiced for SATB, and an additional accompaniment score and soundtrack are available from Epiphany House. This arrangement by Bruce Greer is one of those rare pieces of music that hits the “sweet spot”. Full of triumphant harmonies and melodies, this song combines all the timeless elements of traditional music with modern rhythms and accompaniment that is sure to keep all members of a diverse audience engaged and smiling. The melody comes from a classic and beloved hymn – Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart – but instead of monophonic four-part harmony, All Hail the Risen Lamb contains lines of beautiful polyphony that help to express the jubilance within the lyrical message.
One of the most attractive elements of this selection is the beautiful simplicity of it. The memorable harmonies laced throughout this piece make it easy for choirs of all levels to learn. Singers will be able to quickly catch on to the notes they need to sing, giving them more of a chance to focus on the incredible emotion that a piece like this deserves. Congregation members will be drawn in by this emotion, and they are sure to respond positively to it.
Though it may be difficult at times to choose music that everyone will enjoy, it is important to remember what the Easter holiday represents – Jesus’ victory over death and the grave. When music is performed with that in mind, it has the potential to speak to hearts in such a way that may not be possible on other Sundays. Music has the power to speak even when words fall flat – and using this power for worship is one of the most beautiful things we can offer to our Creator.