I was going through my posts and realized that this was not posted, just saved as a draft. I apologize, I originally wrote it late on January 11, 2008. Enjoy!
Tonight, I went to a Hymn Festival at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. David Cherwien, of Mt. Olive was the Organist (and presumably the organizer) and Marva Dawn presided over the reflections. They had help from the National Lutheran Choir (NLC) (see Cherwien's link).
The service was spectacular, Cherwien (my former composition professor) did an outstanding job of introducing the hymns and, for the most part, playing appropriate accompaniments to the congregation's singing. However, Cherwien is long-winded at many places where brevity would have been sufficient. The person with whom I went to this hymn festival said to me before a hymn started, "Is this intro going to be 5 minutes or 10 minutes?" I didn't have the heart to tell her that the organ was the point, but a little more variety could have been nice.
The program was well planned and had a great variety of hymn styles and stanza selections. I could have used more harmony singing, but can understand why one my not have had as much in this program. Allowing harmony takes away from some of the improvising one can do on the organ. Cherwien is a great improviser.
I won't recapitulate the program to you, but I will show you some of my favorite highlights. The NLC sang beautifully on their Rachmaninoff pieces, as well as the others, but the Rach were great. My favorite was the Hebrew piece, since I am now a student of Hebrew.
That was all I wrote, I don't remember where I was going, but I wanted you all to have that information. Peace