Coope, Boyes & Simpson - Now Is The Cool Of The Day

I’ve long been a sucker for a cappella singing from the UK. Here’s a terrific trio from northern England - hardly known in the USA, sadly.

Coope, Boyes and Simpson are an English vocal folk trio, formed around 1990. They’ve released 16 (!) albums in less than 20 years.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coope_Boyes_and_Simpson

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Learn more about the trio at
http://www.coopeboyesandsimpson.co.uk/

Here’s their terrific cover of a terrific song about the Garden of Eden:

"Now Is The Cool of the Day" was written by Kentucky singer and folk songwriter Jean Ritchie in the early 1970s. It draws its inspiration from the rather strange biblical verse Genesis 3:8… “Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden.” Of course referring to Adam and Eve’s reaction to God after eating the apple, I love the thought of the “cool of the day” being a key part of this passage. Is this the time of day that God usually goes walking in the garden? Is this a blessed time of day? It seems that way sometimes, and Ritchie tapped into this feeling when writing the song.

NOW IS THE COOL OF THE DAY
(Jean Ritchie)

My Lord, he said unto me,
Do you like my garden so fair?
You may live in this garden if you keep the grasses green,
And I’ll return in the cool of the day.

CHORUS
Now is the cool of the day,
Now is the cool of the day;
O this earth is a garden, the garden of my Lord,
And he walks in his garden
In the cool of the day.

Then my Lord, he said unto me,
Do you like my pastures of green?
You may live in this garden if you will feed my lambs,
And I’ll return in the cool of the day.
CHORUS

Then my Lord, he said unto me,
Do you like my garden so free?
You may live in this garden if you keep the people free,
And I’ll return in the cool of the day.
CHORUS



Ritchie’s song stunningly expands on the original Genesis verse. With a nod to the original, she speaks of God’s return to his garden to see how man has been keeping it, but NOW is the cool of the day, she says, bringing us to the present time. This Earth we live on NOW is the Garden of our lord, and we shall be judged on how we keep the garden and how we keep ourselves. She brings in just enough of the Old Testament to lend an edge to the song, especially in the verses. But the chorus is the real heart.

Now is the cool of the day;
O this earth is a garden, the garden of my Lord,
And he walks in his garden
In the cool of the day.

Poets over the centuries have worked to describe God’s love of the world and mankind. They’ve used countless euphemisms, but I’ve fallen for Ritchie’s simple line of God walking in his garden in the cool of the day. There’s a real comfort in a thoughtful, reflective God, walking the paths of his creation and enjoying a cool evening breeze. And there’s comfort in our responsibility to care for his garden, by caring for each other and caring for the Earth.

All commentary on this song came from this webpage:
http://www.hearthmusic.com/blog/inside-the-songs-in-the-cool-of-the-day.html

That page also has a very different version of the song performed by Daniel Martin Moore, very pensive and slow with one voice and piano.

10 Psalm Settings by Matt Searles

Matt Searles is a British composer and worship leader. A year ago he released an album of 10 Psalm settings with contemporary music, called “From the River to the Ends of the Earth.”

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London-based songwriter, Matt Searles, is giving away his latest album in honor of its 1-year anniversary! It’s free for a couple of more days at
http://yourchartsource.com/mattsearlesgiveaway

Listen to the songs here:

Matt writes, “I’m married to Toni, father of little Annie, and up until recently was assistant minister at Dundonald Church in Wimbledon. I’m currently working for a Masters degree in theology, focussing on the Psalms, at Oak Hill Theological College.”
http://mattsearles.bandcamp.com/album/from-the-river-to-the-ends-of-the-earth

He’s made sheet music available for download at
http://www.mattsearles.org.uk/sheet-music/

"Pilgrims’ Hymn" by Stephen Paulus

Pilgrims’ Hymn is one of Stephen Paulus’s most performed and beloved works. It is from one of Stephen’s operas, The Three Hermits.

Here’s a live version performed by the ensemble Kantorei of Minnesota.

Kantorei has collaborated with the Minnesota Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Minnesota Chorale, Minnesota Sinfonia and Amadeus Chamber Symphony and performs a full schedule each season. The ensemble’s website is www.kantorei.net

PILGRIMS’ HYMN

Even before we call on Your name

To ask You, O God,
When we seek for the words to glorify You,
You hear our prayer;
Unceasing love, O unceasing love,
Surpassing all we know.

Glory to the father,
and to the Son,
And to the Holy Spirit.

Even with darkness sealing us in,
We breathe Your name,
And through all the days that follow so fast,
We trust in You;
Endless Your grace, O endless Your grace,
Beyond all mortal dream.

Both now and forever,
And unto ages and ages,
Amen

(lyrics by Michael Dennis Browne)

The lyrics were adapted from a prayer of the Russian Orthodox church according to
http://paulinege.wordpress.com/2011/11/19/music-pilgrims-hymn/

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You can order the score online at
http://stephenpaulus.com/products/pilgrims-hymn

and you’ll find a free PDF score at
http://orfeonmalaga.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/talleres/2013/Pilgrims-hymn_S-Paulus.pdf

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Stephen Paulus (August 24, 1949 - October 19, 2014) was an American composer, best known for his operas and choral music.

In over 40 years of composing his output has come to include over 450 works for chorus, orchestra, chamber ensemble, opera, solo voice, piano, guitar, organ, and band.

He received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and Guggenheim Foundation and won the prestigious Kennedy CenterFriedheim Prize. He was commissioned by such notable organizations as the Minnesota Opera, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, the Saint Louis Chamber Chorus, the American Composers Orchestra, the Dale Warland Singers, the Harvard Glee Club and the New York Choral Society.[3] Paulus was a passionate advocate for the works and careers of his colleagues. He co-founded the American Composers Forum in 1973, the largest composer service organization in the U.S.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Paulus

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Here’s a studio version of he same song performed by the Richard Zielinski Singers.

Simchat Torah: Dancing with the Word of God

Simchat Torah is a Jewish holiday that celebrates and marks the conclusion of the annual cycle of public Torah readings, and the beginning of a new cycle. It’s the culmination of the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkot).

The festival began in 2014 on the evening of October 16 (a day earlier in Israel). The scroll was rolled back toto Parsha B’reisheet, Genesis 1.

The main celebration of Simhat Torah takes place in the synagogue during evening and morning services. In Orthodox as well as many Conservative congregations, this is the only time of year on which the Torah scrolls are taken out of the ark and read at night. In the morning, the last parashah of Deuteronomy and the first parashah of Genesis are read in the synagogue. On each occasion, when the ark is opened, the worshippers leave their seats to dance and sing with the Torah scrolls in a joyous celebration that can last for several hours.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simchat_Torah

Here’s a painting (from 2012) by artist Chana Helen Rosenberg.

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I love this painting of joyfully dancing with the Word of God!

As a non-Jew grafted in to the House of David, I appreciate the joy expressed by the Jewish artist, and my baptized-into-Christ heart rejoices to also ponder Christian symbolism of “dancing with the Word of God.”

Chana, the artist, writes,  Clinging to the Torah, the men dance.  It is as if the Scrolls themselves have legs!

I wanted to express, in as powerful a way as I was able, a Jew’s love of the Torah.   I wanted the work to be rich, vibrant, and so full of joy that it couldn’t be contained on the canvas – I wanted to paint joy without bounds – joy leaping out of the canvas.  Can YOU feel it?

I hope that Jews will look at my painting and think ‘This is how I want to feel in serving Hashem!’ and non-Jews to think ‘Wow, is this how Jews feel?  They must really have something good!’

Be well, be happy – and may we all appreciate what we have.
http://www.chanahelen.com/simchat-torah-my-latest-painting/

Here’s a photo of the artist working on a detail in the large painting. It is 100 cm square (more than 3 feet):

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http://www.chanahelen.com/simchat-torah-oil2012-a-detail/

Here’s a photo of the painting at what she calls “near the beginning - after a mere 37 hours of work!”

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http://www.chanahelen.com/oil-painting-in-progress/

Praise G-d for the many hours of work she put into creating this marvelous masterpiece!

She studied art and was an art teacher in Britain for many years. She moved to Israel in 2006 and her work has been widely exhibited since then.
http://www.chanahelen.com/about-me/

Dancing with the Torah scrolls has been traced back as far as the first century CE. Now there are often seven circuits danced around the synagogue, often spilling into the streets. 

In the 20th century, Simhat Torah came to symbolize the public assertion of Jewish identity. The Jews of the Soviet Union, in particular, would celebrate the festival en masse in the streets of Moscow. On October 14, 1973, more than 100,000 Jews took part in a post-Simhat Torah rally in New York city on behalf of refuseniks and Soviet Jewry. Dancing in the street with the Torah has become part of the holiday’s ritual in various Jewish congregations in the United States as well.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simchat_Torah#Symbol_of_Jewish_identity

Many songs are sung on Simchat Torah; see a list at
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simchat_Torah#Songs

There is a recording with 14 songs for the occasion sung in Hebrew, English and Yiddish. See the list of songs at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYZPGLuLZz4

Here’s the first song on that recording, Sisu Vesimchu (Let Us All Rejoice)” in Hebrew & English.

Here are some photos of people dancing with the Word of God in celebration on Simchat Torah:

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Multicultural Worship Event in Seoul this Thursday

'Anointing' is a Christian worship community in Seoul, South Korea.
https://www.facebook.com/anointingpage?fref=nf

I’m friends with a few of the members and have some of their recordings (I’ve ministered on two trips in Seoul).

They are having a special multicultural event this Thursday involving Josh Davis, a friend from the Atlanta area who founded and leads Proskuneo Ministries.

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You can find details on the event at
https://www.facebook.com/events/1526232184286284/?ref=22

You’ll find acoustic demos of 7 songs at
http://anointing.co.kr/main/bbs/board.php?bo_table=media&wr_id=375

These songs are being recorded in Seoul and will be used at the worship event this Thursday evening. So even if you’re not in Korea, you can hear the song demos at
http://anointing.co.kr/main/bbs/board.php?bo_table=media&wr_id=375

Addendum: here’s a photo of Josh Davis (Proskuneo Ministries) leading a multicultural worship song at this event:

Addendum: Here’s a video summary of the recording of the live album:

By Thy Mercy - Indelible Grace Acoustic

 As someone who is quite fascinated with hymns both old and new, I love the work of Indelible Grace and their incredible collection of hymns albums. Matthew Perryman Jones appears on this release lending his inimitable vocals to his version of Sandra McCracken’s “Rock of Ages (When the Day Seems Long),” while McCracken herself appears with a beautiful piano-led take of “Lo The Storms of Life are Breaking.” Also contributing to this release are Andrew Osenga, Emily Deloach, Matthew Smith and more, creating a stunning collection of acoustic hymns that functions as both reminder and refresher.

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They’ve made this album (from 2009) available as a new download at Noisetrade - free but tips are appreciated.
http://noisetrade.com/indeliblegrace/by-thy-mercy-indelible-grace

About this album, they write:

“By Thy birth, Thy cross, and passion, By Thy tears of deep compassion

By Thy mighty intercession, Lord and Savior, help us”

There is an answer in the character of God for every cry of our hearts. The hymns in this collection are replete with heart cries to the Lord. And, they are also full of reminders about the character of God that encourage us to cry out to Him. It has been said that prayer is driven by two things. The first is a knowledge of our desperate need. The second is a knowledge of the gracious character of our God - expressed supremely in the gospel. Our prayer is that our great God would use this project to remind His people of these two things. As the great 19th century preacher Charles Spurgeon once said, “I have a great need for God. I have a great God for my need.” To that we say Amen!

"What Would You Give in Exchange for Your Soul?" Bill Monroe & Doc Watson

Here’s some Classic Southern Gospel from the 2005 album by that name released on Smithsonian Folkways.

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It’s performed by Bill Monroe & Doc Watson.

The album is available at multiple sources including

http://www.amazon.com/Classic-Southern-Gospel-Smithsonian-Folkways/dp/B00092322M

and
http://www.folkways.si.edu/classic-southern-gospel-from-folkways/american-folk-bluegrass-old-time-sacred/music/album/smithsonian

"ALMIGHTY FATHER WHO DOST GIVE" - Joanne Hogg

The lyrics for this hymn were published in 1922, written by John H.B. Masterman, and have been sung with several different melodies.
http://www.hymnary.org/text/almighty_father_who_dost_give

Not long ago, Joanne Hogg, the singer of the contemporary Celtic Christian band Iona, composed a new melody for the lyrics.

1. Almighty Father, who dost give
The gift of life to all who live,
Look down on all earth’s sin and strife,
And lift us to a nobler life.

2. Lift up our hearts, O King of kings,
To brighter hopes and kindlier things;
To visions of a larger good,
And holier dreams of brotherhood.

3. Thy world is weary of its pain;
Of selfish greed and fruitless gain;
Of tarnished honor, falsely strong,
And all its ancient deeds of wrong.

4. Hear Thou the prayer Thy servants pray,
Uprising from all lands today,
And o’er the vanquished powers of sin,
O bring Thy great salvation in.

Hear a short interview of Joanne talking about her composing the new melody at
http://www.celticchristianspirit.com/almighty-father-who-dost-give.html

She recorded it on her 1999 album ‘Looking Into Light.’

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'Sounds of the Nations' Gathering in Melbourne

This year I’ve become digitally acquainted with Roma Waterman, a worship leader, composer, mother, conference organizer in Australia. She’s part of an international worship network called "Sounds of the Nations’ which I’ll profile in some later blog posts.

This weekend, she and colleagues are putting on a major event in Melbourne:

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More information is at www.sotnoceania.com 

You can see a 12-second video of Island Breeze doing a Maori ‘haka’ at
https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=1513070775606619&set=vb.100007111332318&type=2&theater

Addendum: Here’s a sampler video of the event, after this introduction.

Disciples of Worship is a part of Sounds of the Nations Scandinavia as some of us traveled to Australia to join in with the Sounds of the Nations Oceania Conference. We lifted up our sounds & expressions of worship, taught workshops, and ministered at churches. God is seeking worshippers who will worship in spirit and in truth lifting up their sound and unique expression of their hearts, we want to see every nation & tribe worshipping in their cultural expression how God created them.”

'Venga Tu Reino' CD on sale!

Friends at Proskuneo Ministries have a special sale on a great Spanish CD!

"Venga Tu Reino was recorded in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. A group of worshipers from several churches got together to give God what He deserves. It is a celebration of the character of our GOD, and it is full of fresh worship songs. It is the counterpart to the Your Kingdom Come CD- the same songs, just in Spanish!”

SPECIAL DEALS FOR NATIONAL HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH (Sept 15-Oct 15)! $5 per cd…or…buy 4, get 1 free…or…buy 10, get 5 free!

The idea is for you to buy these CDs to give to your Spanish-speaking friends as a way of honoring them during National Hispanic Heritage Month. What Spanish-speaking friends would you like to bless? Place your order here.
http://proskuneo.org/special-deal-venga-tu-reino-cd/