Published March 24, 2018 by SMBC

By Cleavy McKnight

One way I find God is through music - especially classical choral orchestral music. My first such experience was with Brahms? ?A German Requiem? at Westbury Baptist Church, when I was in high school. I felt honored to be one of a few students who joined the Sanctuary Choir for this major work. We spent months learning text and music - melodies and harmonies, tempos and dynamics - and seeking the best blend of our voices. Rehearsing with the orchestra, we began to anticipate a transcendent experience. When we finally performed, I believe it was indeed transcendent - perhaps even more for the performers than for the audience, because we had become so intimately familiar with the work. The whole was much more than the sum of the parts.

I was overjoyed years later, when I had the opportunity to again perform the piece, here at South Main, with Thomas Coker conducting.

The texts of the seven movements, taken from both the Old and New Testaments, seem appropriate for Lent: ?Blessed are those who mourn?; ?For all flesh is as grass?; ?Lord, make me to know the number of my days?; ?How lovely is thy dwelling place?; ?You now are sorrowful?; ?Here on earth have we no continuing place?; and ?Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord?.