Sunday, February 22, 2009

World Premiere

I was so excited just a couple of hours ago to be present at the world premiere of a new choral piece by my friend Tony Payne, (who happens to be Director of the Conservatory at Wheaton College). It was commissioned to celebrate the Sesquicentiennial of Wheaton (1859-2009).

A mass choir (a combination of fifteen local choirs) filled the stage, with brass and organ, and sang out - gloriously filling the auditorium:
O Lord our Lord
How exalted is your name in all the world.
This chorus cascaded with wonder and praise and was followed by three stanzas by the poet Jill Baumgaertner. Some of the lines were delicious:
For you the moon and stars are mere fingertoys, and you spin them like gyroscopes. And here we sit in the turn of creation, our minds agape, stupefied by your love for us.
The music danced and shimmered - at a repeated phrase "stupefied by your love" it registered shock waves of wonder. Time and again it surprised by its beauty and power.

I was thrilled to be there. I suppose we all admire people whose talents are let loose on a stage that we couldn't begin to enter. But how Tony gave his best and how proud I am of him with grateful for his gift shared like that.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You may feel that if you entered "Tony's stage", you would receive a Simon-type wrath that is present only on "American Idol" shows. Yet, as gifted as Tony and his team are in musical fetes, may he never enter the stage of preaching! From a friend who knows both of you quite well, I might say!