Notes from the Console
With Pentecost, June 9th, we come to the end of another choir "season." I would like to express my great gratitude to all of those who have taken part in our music program over this last season. I think they have all done great work, and have contributed greatly to the worship life of All Saints' Church. Please join me in letting the members of the Bell Choir, Parish Choir, and Quin Choir know that they are appreciated.
As of June 16, both the Quin and Parish Choirs will go on hiatus. During these summer months, anyone who wishes to be part of a "pick-up" choir for the 10:30 service is welcome to join us for a rehearsal in the Choir Room each Sunday at 9:30. There is no need for advance notice, just show up ready to sing! Please do consider joining us, whether you've sung in choir before or not. This might be a good introduction to what we do, so you can decide whether or not to formally join one of the choirs in the fall.
At various points throughout the year, we sing the Memorial Acclamation S138, and Great Amen S146, by McNeil Robinson. I thought you might like to know a little more about this fascinating musician. (see photo above)
McNeil Robinson II (1943-2015) is one of the great, yet un-sung, figures of 20th-century music. He was renowned as an organist, teacher and composer, but above all as an improviser of great skill. His sometimes hair-raising liturgical improvisations at the Church of St. Mary the Virgin in New York were legendary. In 1984-85, Dr. Robinson was my improvisation teacher through the Masters program at the Manhattan School of Music. He was a rigorous pedagogue who emphasized playing technique, harmonic knowledge, and compositional ingenuity as elements of good improvisation.
He served first as adjunct lecturer in improvisation, and later as chair of the organ department of the Manhattan School. Neil, as he was known to friends, served several major churches in New York City. He is perhaps best-known for having served Park Avenue Synagogue as organist/choirmaster for over 50 years, after having been recommended for the position by Leonard Bernstein.
In all of his work, his affinity and respect for the music of worship inspired the admiration of both his colleagues and the congregations he served over the years. When we sing his settings of portions of the Eucharist, we are just scratching the surface of the work of this masterful musician. His works comprise a large catalogue of choral, organ, and instrumental pieces.
Wishing you all a happy and blessed summer,
Gregory Eaton, Organist/Choirmaster