Published February 15, 2007
On the six Friday evenings of Lent, beginning Feb. 23, the Cathedral of Christ the King will present a series of “Lenten Musical Meditations” designed to deepen and enhance the impact and devotions of this season.
The public is encouraged to come to some or all of these Friday evening services, which will combine spiritual texts with masterful music composed to lead the human heart and spirit to prayer and meditation. A simple Lenten supper will be available beforehand.
The first program on Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m. will be Choral Vespers sung by Christ the King’s Schola Nova and Schola Cantorum. Three vocal works written specifically for evening prayer will be presented, including Carl Crosier’s “Processional for Lucenarium,” which will open the service. A setting of Psalm 145 from Paul Ford’s “By Flowing Waters” will be sung, and vespers will conclude with the singing of the “Magnificat” arranged by Seattle-based composer Peter Hallock.
Vespers is the ancient monastic office of early evening prayer. Its celebration is especially appropriate during Lent, a season of reflection and pilgrimage.
“The season of Lent, as reflected in the procession of readings and liturgies from Sunday to Sunday and week to week, has such a dramatic movement and pace,” said the choirmaster at the Cathedral, Kevin Culver. “We wanted to capture some of this movement through emotional and liturgical time with these special Friday evening presentations. Each evening has a moving blend of word and sound, and each evening discovers a different focus and flavor to this reflective season.”
On March 2, the Cathedral’s Contemporary Ensemble will present a “Procession of Lenten Readings and Carols,” and on March 9, a traditional presentation of the Stations of the Cross, with readings and meditations at each Station.
On March 16, the Cathedral Choir will present “Visions of the Cross,” a series of musical illuminations on the 14 Stations of the Cross. For this program the Stations will be visually depicted by large projections at each stop. The music for this program reflects the varied and diverse qualities of Lenten music from simple ancient chants to starkly beautiful contemporary settings.
Culver notes that “it is a testament to the powerful imagery and impact of the Stations that settings so diverse as medieval chant, 16th and 17th century polyphony, 18th century Baroque, and 20th century contemporary composers work seamlessly in this musical representation.”
The last two offerings of the series are also unique combinations of music and text.
On March 23, Ken and Elyn Macek, longtime leaders of the Cathedral’s Contemporary Ensemble, will present a Taize Prayer Service featuring the unique music of the French prayer community, founded in 1940, which developed an extraordinary international and ecumenical style of meditative sung prayer.
The series culminates with Mary Rogers’ “Journey to the Cross” on March 30, a powerful musical prayer service reflecting on Christ’s Passion. Over the years this beautiful and moving service has become an annual Cathedral tradition.
Culver said that “all of this music was created to serve a dramatic function within a liturgical framework and belongs in a holy space. We hope this series can bring this music, that is at the heart of the Lenten season, into the hearts of all those who come into contact with it.”
All programs begin at 7:30 p.m. and will be preceded by simple Lenten suppers, which will be served between 6 and 6:45 p.m. in the parish hall. Donations, which go to feed the hungry, will be accepted at the door.