By Clint Miller
March 4, 4:00 p.m.
Mediator’s choir will sing Choral Evensong on the afternoon of March 4 at four o’clock. Of special interest for this Lenten Evensong will be a performance of the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis composed by our own Neil Farrell. We are, indeed, fortunate to have Neil, his wife, Leslie, and their two sons, Liam and Jack as members of our church family.
Neil and his family arrived in the Lehigh Valley from New York City a few years ago where Neil had a distinguished career as a professional musician, composer and singer. He was a frequent tenor soloist with most the city’s best professional and volunteer choruses; among the most notable being the renowned Renaissance ensemble, Pomerium, Voices of Ascension and the New York Virtuoso Singers, to name only a few. For five years he was a member of the choir of The Cathedral of St. John the Divine and has also been featured as soloist on numerous recordings by these and other prominent musical ensembles. As a composer and arranger, his works have been performed and recorded by the above ensembles as well as The Western Wind Ensemble, Canticum Novum, and Equal Voices, among others. He has written more than a dozen anthems for the Choir St. Ignatius of Loyola, of which he was a member for 18 years. The Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis were his first adult compositions written while he was in the choir at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Neil still travels back and forth to New York to perform with several of these musical ensembles, most recently with Pomerium. He also occasionally sings with our choir when his schedule permits and when we are in need of his enviable talents.
The Choir will also sing Maurice Greene’s (1896-1755) wonderful anthem, “Lord, let me know mine end”, one of the choir’s favorites, which they last performed a couple of years ago. Greene succeeded to every major musical post in England becoming organist of St. Paul’s Cathedral (1718), organist and composer of the Chapel Royal (1727) and Master of the King’s Music (1735). He was also professor of music at Cambridge.
Sadly, Gerre Hancock, the distinguished organist and Choirmaster of St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Manhattan for over three decades, died last month, January 17, in Austin, Texas where he was Professor of organ and sacred music at the University of Texas. He was renowned in the profession for his skills of improvisation, virtuosity at the organ and his superb skills as choir trainer. Writing about the St. Thomas choir in The New York Times in 2004, the music critic, Allan Kozinn, said, “ It produces a polished and beautifully balanced sound that for sacred music ….. is about the best that New York has to offer. The concluding voluntary on March 4 will be his organ composition “Aria” composed in 1963 and dedicated to his wife, Judith, also a distinguished organist and musician.
As is our custom, a gala reception will follow the Evensong in the Commons Room so mark your calendars and invite a friend.