Portland’s First United Methodist Church offers a variety of musical opportunities for vocalists and instrumentalists of all ages and musical skills. Internationally renowned musicians; Jonas Nordwall, organist, Erick Lichte, Director of the Chancel Choir, and Nancy Hascall, Director of the Sanctuary Bell Choir head a team of outstanding professional and volunteer church musicians that come from all parts of the greater Portland area. All are welcome and encouraged to join one of our many musical groups. Read more about the music program at First Church.
Author: Kelly Qualls Published: February 13th, 2013
On Sunday, February 3, the Mardi Gras committee made a very difficult decision to cancel this year’s Mardi Gras, scheduled for February 9, due to low ticket sales. Even though the committee had already spent a couple of months planning the event, we knew it was the right decision.
I want to personally thank Whitney Henion, committee chair, Greg Henion, Art and Trudy Kayser for the time and work they had already contributed to the organizing of the event. Planning such a major event takes many hours.
I would also like to thank the many individuals who so generously donated to the Friends of Music the money they had given for tickets to the Mardi Gras event as well as those who helped sponsor the event. Your contributions are so very much appreciated.
I do hope you are planning to attend the ‘Celebrate! Youth and the Arts’n April 21 at 3:00. We have some incredibly talented youth in our congregation. This is your opportunity to see their talent in ways you don’t see on Sundays during a church service.
Both FUMC handbell choirs participated in conferences of the Handbell Musicians of America in late June, taking classes, ringing with massed bell choirs, and hearing concert performances.
The Sanctuary Bell Choir attended the Area 10 (Northwest) Conference at the Tacoma Convention Center, and juBELLation traveled to California for the Area 12 (Southwest) Conference at the Disneyland Hotel.
For the Disneyland event, Sanctuary Bells director, Nancy Hascall, served as one of three conductors for the massed ringing, each of whom was also commissioned to write an original work for the final concert.
Volunteers put FUMC labels in our new “The Faith We Sing” song books and also put them into the hymnal racks in the Sanctuary so we are ready to sing from them. No more music “inserts”.
The books were paid for with money from undesignated memorial gifts. So share your book with your neighbor and sing joyfully! In fact, as John Wesley put it many years ago, “Sing lustily and with a good courage.” He also said to, “Sing modestly. Do not bawl, so as to be heard above others.” And, “Above all sing spiritually. Have an eye to God in every word you sing.” It would seem that our forefather had definite thoughts about our music making!
Our own Jonas Nordwall was interviewed by The Oregonian today.
“Jonas Nordwall has been the organist at the First United Methodist Church in Southwest Portland for forty-one years. The organ he plays has been rebuilt over years, and is considered one of the best in the world.”
From OregonLive – The website of The Oregonian:
On Sunday, Nordwall, now 63, will be honored at Portland’s oldest church, where he has played the organ for nearly 41 years. Church officials say they don’t know of any local church organist who has had a position as long as Nordwall has.
In the last ten years, Erick Lichte has carved out a distinct niche in the vocal music world and concert life in North America. The Washington Post has hailed the “audacity” of his programming, the Chicago Tribune has noted the “meticulous preparation” of his choirs and Fanfare Magazine declared that he created and helmed “the premier men’s vocal ensemble in the United States.”
As a founding member, singer and Artistic Director of the male vocal ensemble Cantus, Lichte created and sustained one of only two full-time vocal ensembles in the United States. From 2000-2009, Lichte’s programming and artistic direction were heard in over 60 concerts a year in such venues as Kennedy Center, Library of Congress, Merkin Hall, San Francisco Performances, Oregon Bach Festival, UCLA and Elora Festival. He has collaborated with artists such as Bobby McFerrin, the Boston Pops, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Doc Severinsen, Minnesota Orchestra, James Sewell Ballet and poet Robert Bly.
His work with Cantus garnered the 2009 Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence, the highest honor for the professional choral organization Chorus America. He has also been awarded major grants from Chamber Music America and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Lichte is also a champion of new music and has been a part of the creation of over 50 new works. Composers Lichte has worked with include Lee Hoiby, Gavin Bryars, Steven Sametz, Edie Hill, Mary Ellen Childs and Peteris Vasks. Lichte himself is an active arranger and composer whose music has been heard across the United States. He is especially known as a co-creator and musical arranger of the theatrical work All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914, which has been broadcast nationally and has been presented in three national tours.
As a choral conductor, Lichte has served as guest chorus master for the professional chorus of Chicago’s Music of the Baroque as well as the Great River Chorale, and One Voice Mixed Chorus. Lichte has also served on the faculty of Augsburg College and the University of Saint Catherine. He currently conducts the Portland State University Man Choir and University Choir, the Chancel Choir at Portland’s First United Methodist Church and is Associate Conductor of the Oregon Repertory Singers.
Lichte is a graduate of St. Olaf College where he studied with the renowned choral conductor Dr. Anton Armstrong and is currently studying with Dr. Ethan Sperry at Portland State University.
Lichte is an ardent audiophile and is a Contributing Editor for Stereophile Magazine where he writes equipment reviews of high performance audio equipment.
We want to give a warm welcome to the combined Chamber and E! Choirs from
South Medford High School to our worship service on April 22. They will be
singing Baba Yetu — a Swahilli version of The Lord’s Prayer.
SMHS Chamber Choir — directed by Andrea Brock
A 30 –voice auditioned advanced choral ensemble. This group has acquired a reputation for quality singing, and has appeared on the OSAA State Choir Championships for seven years.
SMHS E! Choir – directed by Pam Nordquist
A 30-voice auditioned advanced choral ensemble known for its’ eclectic repertoire — jazz, a cappella, novelty, choreographed, classical, and show tunes.
This group performs a lot in the community and has placed in the Pleasant Hill Jazz Festival in consecutive years.
They’re baaaaack! One of Portland’s greatest brass ensembles returns for a spring-time concert as eclectic as it will be electric. From classical to classic movie music, don’t miss the only spring concert by the legendary Big Horn Brass on Sunday, May 20 at 3 pm.
This concert brings together the fifteen-member Big Horn Brass, under the leadership of David Bryan and Andrew Harris at the First United Methodist Church at 1838 SW Jefferson Street in Portland. Concert selections will range from John Williams and George Gershwin to The Beatles and Leonard Bernstein.
The Big Horn Brass was founded in 1983 by Andrew Harris. Members of the group come from symphonies and brass bands from all around the area. The group performs a wide variety of music including classical, romantic, renaissance, ragtime, marches, brass band, patriotic and movie music.
The first half features:
Fanfare by John Cheetham
Lulu is Gone Quickstep and Jeannie with the Light Brown Hair by Stephen Foster
Theme from Silverado by Bruce Broughton
Porgy and Bess by George Gershwin
Somewhere by Leonard Bernstein
A Beatles medley
In the second half:
Canzon a 12 by Giovanni Gabrieli
Two selections from Lieutenant Kije by Sergei Prokofiev
Funeral March from Die Gotterdammerung by Richard Wagner
Themes from Jurassic Park and The Lost World by John Williams
Walk Like an Egyptian by Liam Sternberg
Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and are available at http//www.bighornbrass.org. For more information on The Big Horn Brass, contact Andrew Harris at 503-866-0901.
Throughout the Sundays of Lent, the Chancel Choir has sung movements of Requiem by Maurice Duruflé (1902-1986).
Though his meticulous perfectionism limited his published output to a mere handful of works, Duruflé has demonstrated an ability to borrow from those things good and beautiful composed for us by masters throughout the centuries and bind them all amidst the constant underpinning of Gregorian chant. This has resultied in some of the most sublime and resplendent music of our time. His work has contributed immeasurably to the art of liturgical music and has opened for us a better understanding of the applications of chant in the modern church.
The Requiem, Duruflé’s longest and most substantial work, was composed in 1947 and follows the form and character of the setting by Gabriel Fauré. Like Fauré, Duruflé chose to break away from the operatic and highly dramatic Requiem settings of Berlioz and Verdi. He sought to focus his setting not on visions of hell and damnation but on images of rest and peace.
Our presentation of Requiem will culminate on Palm Sunday as we sing the Sanctus. Translated from the Latin: Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts. Heaven and earth are full of thy glory. Hosanna in the highest! (Translation by Ron Jeffers.)
Mark Woodward’s award-winning choral composition “The Day Slipped By” was recently premiered by Portland Vocal Consort. This is from the Forest Grove concert.
As Rachel AuBuchon revels in the pleasures of farming, she alludes to the fluid and often elusive nature of time in these excerpts from her poem “Sunset.” She juxtaposes the repetition of manual labor against the pause of reflection and then pins a moment’s epiphany against the cycle of days and seasons.This song-setting hopes to create a similar sense of suspended time by stretching the triple meter through metric modulations and presenting surprising harmonies in each of its three short sections. The song concludes with a hymn of quiet awareness and submission to the timeless cycles of the sun.
The Day Slipped By
The day slipped by with swinging notes as reapers sowed their fields.
Sweet droning haze of yellow life, it made me want to wield
A tool of labor for myself, to work, to gain, to cut.
The sweat wiped from my brow at noon became my chill at dusk.
For as the sun advanced to shine before soon waking lands,
The sky and air turned purple-blue and cast upon my hands
New shadows, lines, and shapes of unknown hues and colors lost
Until breathless shock of frost.
Lapsing from dream to dream, I’m waking, sensing, knowing.
Yes, this is life, this gust of wind that rushes down the throat,
The surprise at the clearness, the gentle journey of night
That opens and closes with the sun.