Monday Musical Moment: Eternal Light

Happy Monday!

Everyone needs a chance to rest and restart, including the choir at First UMC!

If you have been attending or watching church regularly (which I hope you have!) you may have noticed that the chancel choir has been taking a period of well-deserved rest. During the past six weeks, they were free to attend services instead of sing, or sleep in and have a lazy Sunday morning watching from home. However, starting this coming Saturday, the chancel choir will make their triumphant return, and we would like you to join us!

On Saturday starting at 9am in the sanctuary, the choir will hold their fall retreat where they will work on anthems for upcoming Sunday services, as well as begin work on “Eternal Light: A Requiem” by Howard Goodall, which will be sung during a special service on All-Saints Sunday and is the subject of today’s musical moment!

Howard Goodall is a British composer of choral music, musicals and music for TV, and was named “Composer of the Year” in the UK in 2009. “Eternal Light: A Requiem” was originally commissioned in 2008 as a choral-orchestral-dance work by several groups including The Choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, who made the first recording that year. While most requiems are based on traditional Latin text from the medieval church’s Mass for the Dead, which often includes a warning of eternal damnation, Goodall’s approach mixes traditional Latin text with English poetry that provides overall a more comforting and uplifting message for those that have suffered loss. The composer says about the work:


“I did not feel at ease with this approach to the appalling pain of loss and grief, so in an attempt to provide some solace for the living that mourn, I stripped down the old Latin texts to a few phrases in each movement and laid beside them words from English poems from across the last 500 years.” – Howard Goodall

The moment I chose for today is from the very opening of the first movement, which the choir will begin working on this Saturday. The steadily growing strings transport the listener to a peaceful and reflective state of mind before the choir gently sings a beautiful melody with the text “Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine” or “Eternal rest give unto them, O Lord,” a tune that plays an important role in the rest of the work.

The entire piece is gorgeous, and I hope you will continue to support and participate in the growth of the music program at First UMC! Hope to see you either at the retreat this Saturday, on a Sunday morning, or at a Wednesday night rehearsal at 7pm starting August 25th!

Interested? Please contact me for more information, or just show up 🙂




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