Forth to New Horizons, is a setting for SATB chorus (some divisi) with Organ and Brass Quintet accompaniment. It was commissioned for Dr. Robert Spencer McKie, the author of the anthem text, for his Thirty-fifth Anniversary of Ordination and service to the United Church of Christ.
Based on the hymn tune, Regent Square, the anthem blends full choral forces with brass and organ. There is ample use of the Lydian mode, frequent shifts in tonal center, and word painting. After several sections unfold in ever increasing dynamics and texture, the piece ends quietly.
The anthem is appropriate for General use and celebrations of Mission and Ministry. Dr. Robert Spencer McKie wrote the text for the 150th Anniversary of Trinity United Church of Christ, Greensburg, Pa., and in memory of Organist, Helen Wentzell Porter.
His text bears the copyright, Robert Spencer McKie, 2007
Immanuel is a setting for SATB chorus (some divisi) with Organ and Brass Quintet accompaniment and Timpani. It was commissioned, In Dedication to and Thanksgiving for the Immanuel Choir, Youngnak Presbyterian Church on its 40th Anniversary Celebration, SangGyu Choi, Director. The texts are all from scripture pertaining to the identity and spiritual force of Immanuel: Isaiah. 7:14, John. 1-3, 14, and Romans 8: 28-39.
This three part work has strong opening and closing sections with a vibrant timpani part amid full chorus, brass, and organ. The middle section is a more lyrical approach for a cappella chorus. Throughout the work there is reference to the hymn tune, St. Anne, with the intention of infusing the power and meaning of that hymn into the text on Immanuel. Therefore the piece is appropriate for General use, All Saints, and Christmas.
Blessed Assurance, Jesus is Mine is a Concertato setting of the favorite Gospel Hymn for SATB chorus (some divisi), soprano solo, with Organ and Brass Quintet accompaniment. Commissioned by SangGyu Choi, of Seoul, Korea, the piece was premiered along with Softly and Tenderly, at a Hymn Festival at the Torch Center, Seoul, Korea led my Dr. John Walker.
The choir sings three settings of the hymn verses and the congregation joins on the refrain. The brass quintet has a strong presence throughout the piece and adds special strength to the final verse and refrain. As a 19th American Gospel Hymn classic, the words of Fanny J. Crosby and music of Phoebe P. Knapp were a major part of my childhood hymn repertoire and it was a delight to set in concertato arrangement. It is appropriate for general use and especially, hymn festivals.
The Gift of This Christmas? is obviously an anthem for the Christmas season but the question mark in the title begs a question. As I have always loved Gustav Holst's setting of Christine Rossetti's text, In the bleak midwinter, especially it's last verse, What can I give you, poor as I am?, I decided to write this anthem as a tribute to the Holst/Rossetti setting. The answer to the title's question is answered at the end of the piece when I quote the last verse of Holst's setting. The other text is the composers.
It is a setting for SATB chorus with Organ and Brass Quintet accompaniment The gentle flux of meters is smoothed over by the legato singing and playing in the accompaniments. There is much unison and two part singing throughout which makes it approachable for choirs at most levels. Most of the demands are on the brass.