Monday Musical Moment: MMM: Feel the Spirit!

Justin Langham   -  
Good morning, and happy Monday!
This week is a busy one in the life of the church. As the sanctuary is nearing the end of its renovation, we also approach a big event for the music program at First UMC. Many of you may attended our winter concert, “Christmas on the Corner,” back in December, and I want to make sure you are aware of our spring concert,  “Feel the Spirit,” coming up this Sunday May 22nd at 6pm. The concert will feature handbells, choir, solos, and a chamber orchestra.
The centerpiece of this concert will be John Rutter’s “Feel the Spirit,” a cycle of spirituals for mezzo-soprano soloist, choir, and orchestra. The work is a set of seven beautiful and wonderfully dramatic arrangements of beloved spirituals that you are sure to know, such as Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho, Steal Away, Deep River, and When the Saints Go Marching In. Rutter describes the piece like this:

“The great heritage of the African-American spiritual has fired the imagination of composers, performers, and audiences for more than 100 years. Each generation has produced interpretations of many kinds, yet, curiously, few composers have combined the resources of soloist, choir, and orchestra. John Rutter was inspired by the vocal artistry of Melanie Marshall (mezzo-soprano soloist) to build a set of spirituals crafted to her personal style, partnered by choir, with the orchestra to supply a further dimension of colour and emotional depth.”

This Sunday, the chancel choir will also be joined by fantastic mezzo-soprano soloist Megan Berti of the Houston Grand Opera. Check out her bio and recordings at
For the music today, I would like to share with you the final movement of Rutter’s cycle of spirituals, his uproariously fun arrangement of the classic “When the Saints Go Marching In,” here performed by the massive choir and symphony orchestra of the Mormon Tabernacle. I hope that you will come hear this amazing and rarely performed work this Sunday May 22nd at 6pm!
Have a great week!
When the Saints Go Marching In (2012) – The Tabernacle Choir