With all the energy that music can convey, the musicians honored the King of Kings through music at the Forest Lake Church on October 10, 2015. The concert was presented as the final movement in a three part symphony of the Divine. Last year was movement two, "The Fount of Blessing." Last year's program symbolized God the Holy Spirit, the Omnipresent, the Spirit of all creation, and the Still, Small Voice of the Comforter. This year's program, part three, symbolized God the Son. In this concert was shown God our Savior, Shield, and King.
The program was structured into three thematic sections, each focusing on an aspect of Christ our Redeemer.
Movement 1 - Christ our Savior
Beginning with a musical telling of the events that took place in heaven prior to Eden falling, the orchestra began the program with the somber tones of a growing war. Then the battle itself was heard as war broke out in heaven. Pieces of the Doxology were interwoven in war like rhythms and phrases, culminating in Satan being cast out of heaven. It is then the music shifts to a joyous tone as Christ emerges as the victor, with a full statement of the Doxology. "Praise Him all creatures here below..."
The next piece on the program saw all the musicians performing an original work by Mack Wilberg entitled "Hymn of Praise." This piece represented the joy of saved humanity upon recognizing the gift of life that Christ offers.
Continuing this theme of praise, the next piece featured Forest Lake Academy's Contabilé singing "Alleluia" by Randall Thompson.
Finally, this first section of the program was concluded by Contabilé singing the prayer of people everywhere, "E'en So, Lord Jesus, Quickly Come," by Paul Manz.
Movement 2 - Christ our Shield
The middle section of the program showed the protective side of Christ, fittingly starting with a Bruce Greer orchestral arrangement of Martin Luther King's "A Mighty Fortress is Our Good." Greer's arrangement set the familiar tune to a new energy that was well received.
The next piece featured an organ solo by Linda van Niekerk, Eugène Gigout's "Toccata in B Minor." It was a masterful performance, with the continuous building of the organ's sound representing the harsh reality of life we must often face.
This was then immediately contrasted by the following work, whose words and style epitomize the very essence of how we are able to get through each day, Mack Wilberg's setting of "My Song in the Night." The beautiful music of the strings, horns, and harp, with the soothing words sung by the choir, provided the hinge on which the program moved; although we may be in the darkest hour of our personal battle, from it we emerge victorious because Jesus is our Song in the Night.
Movement 3 - Christ our King
"That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow..."
And the reason is simple: the Cross represents the single greatest act of love every witnessed. Gilbert Martin's "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross" is the perfect musical statement to that fact. Featured in the program was an orchestral arrangement which greatly expanded the color palette of this famous and well loved piece.
This was followed by Beethoven's "Hallelujah" from his Opus "Christ on the Mount of Olives." The work of a master, the piece stood tall with orchestra, organ and choir loudly proclaiming, "...declare His grace and glory!"
The penultimate piece on the program was a very special showing. The program was the official premier of the brass, percussion, organ, and choir version of Kevin Kaska's "Gloria In Excelsis Deo." The piece was a thunderous conclusion to the program's section of Christ as our King.
Christ IS our king. He is the King of Kings. We have this simple truth: When we survey the wondrous cross, we are left with only this to say: "Hallelujah!" "Gloria In Excelsis Deo!"
Savior; Shield; King; these are titles we freely and gladly give to Christ because of who He is and what He has done. But Christ is more than these grand titles alone. He is our Friend, our Companion, and our Brother. We do not rejoice that Christ was killed, we rejoice because He lives! We have life because He has given us life.
"These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings..." Revelation 17:14
The concert, and the concert series itself, was ended by a rendition of Peter J. Wilhousky's, "Battle Hymn of the Republic." The audience joined in on the final chorus, and the concert, and concert series, was ended with the entire building making joyous music. "Glory! Hallelujah! Our God is marching on."
About the Program
The music program presented February 23 was part 2 in the second chapter of the "Power and Glory of God Through Music" concert series. In 2018, this new chapter began with the concert "Rejoice in Christ!" and continued here with "Christ Our Song." Together with several other churches in the area, we brought to our audience a grand program of sacred, uplifting, and awe-inspiring music featuring a combined mass choir, orchestra, hand bells, and organ.
We are constantly bombarded with news of bad things happening; on the local level, on the national level, on the global level. Music offers a break from that. Specifically, this music program exists for two reasons: to return a musical offering to the Lord, and to provide a brief respite from the constant bombardment of bad things in the world around us.
It may be noticed that there are no holidays near the program date. This is by design. The goal is to provide a musical oasis, no matter how brief, without the emotional ties to a holiday or event. The program is altruistic in nature; it exists because music and musical opportunities are good as well as fun.
In his thirty-fourth year of teaching, Mark Becker came to Forest Lake Academy eight years ago. A 1977 graduate of Union College, he completed a Masters of Music program at Boise State University in 1991. Becker’s professional experiences include music teacher at Mile High Academy (Denver, CO), Gem State Academy (Caldwell, ID), and Andrews Academy (Berrien Springs, MI) and Minister of Music at Denver First Seventh-day Adventist Church (Denver, CO) and Zion United Church of Christ (Baroda, MI)
Leon Hauck brings with him 40 years of music performance and directing. He was the choir director at the Denver First Seventh-day Adventist Church for several years. He is also the director of Restoration, a vocal octet. He studied piano under Virginia Gene Rittenhouse for several years, and at the age of 17 placed first in the New England Piano Teachers Association competition. He is an active trombone player with the Markham Brass, as well as an active singer with Restoration.
Mack Wilberg is a composer, arranger, conductor, choral clinician and the current music director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. His compositions and arrangements are performed and recorded by choral organizations throughout the world. In addition to the many compositions he has written for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, his works have been performed by such artists as Renée Fleming, Frederica von Stade, Bryn Terfel, the King’s Singers, narrators Walter Cronkite and Claire Bloom.
- Hymn of Praise
- My Song in the Night
No work of Thompson's earned in equal measure the incredible celebrity accorded to his Alleluia (1940). It was written in four days at the request of maestro Sergey Koussevitzky for a work to celebrate the opening of the new Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood. It was an immediate success and has been performed countless times by choruses large and small, professional and amateur.
The esteem and respect with which Paul Manz is regarded can be seen in the many honors he received. He was twice named one of the “Ten Most Influential Lutherans,” served as National Councilor of the American Guild of Organists and is listed as one of the "101 Most Notable Organists of the 20th Century." His most famous choral work is the Advent motet "E'en So, Lord Jesus, Quickly Come."
- E'en So, Lord Jesus, Quickly Come
For more than 30 years, organists, pianists, schools and churches have performed and enjoyed Gilbert M. Martin's many and varied original compositions and arrangements. He often travels throughout the country to teach and conduct musical ensembles. He was recently honored at Westminster as a distinguished composer and graduate. He has received 21 yearly ASCAP Awards.
- When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
Ludwig van Beethoven
Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist, and a crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music. Christus am Ölberge (in English, Christ on the Mount of Olives), Op. 85, features the "Welten singen..." This finale chorus has enjoyed some popularity on its own, usually being rendered as a "Hallelujah", frequently performed by church, high school and college choirs.
- Hallelujah [Excerpt]
Kevin Kaska is an American composer, arranger, record producer, and conductor. Mr. Kaska's music has been performed all over the world by major orchestras, including the London Symphony Orchestra, New York Pops at Carnegie Hall, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and with John Williams and the Boston Pops Orchestra, to name a few. His piece presented here, "Gloria in Excelsis Deo," is an original composition that the October brass players have the privilege of premiering.
- Gloria In Excelsis Deo
A pupil of Camille Saint-Saëns, Eugène Gigout served as the organist of the French capital's Saint-Augustin Church for 62 years. He became widely known as a teacher and his output as a composer was considerable. Renowned as an expert improviser, he also founded his own music school. The Toccata in B minor is Gigout's best-known creation, and is frequently heard at organ recitals around the world.
- Toccata in B Minor
Peter J. Wilhousky was a popular American composer, educator, and choral conductor of Ukrainian ethnic extraction. During his childhood he was part of New York's Rusyn Cathedral Boys Choir, and gave a performance at the White House to President Woodrow Wilson. His arrangement of the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" for Chorus, Band, and Orchestra, is probably the most famous arrangement of the hymn before the 1940s in the United States.
- Battle Hymn
Bruce Greer is the Creative Director for Word Records. In 1999 Bruce was awarded a Dove Award for Musical of the Year for his musical, titled "Mary, Did You Know." His orchestral arrangement of "A Mighty Fortress is Our God" brings a vibrant energy to the familiar tune.
- A Mighty Fortress is Our God[Excerpt]
Mark is the producer of "The Power and Glory of God Through Music" concert series. In addition, he is the series' graphic artist, music librarian, website builder, sound engineer, video editor, print designer, and orchestral trumpet player. This year, he's adding one more hat to the collection by composing a piece for the program.
- Proelium - War In Heaven
The Choir - An Exciting Partnership
The choir this year is composed of members from the Markham Woods Seventh-day Adventist church in Longwood, First Methodist Church of Orlando, Spring Meadows Seventh-day Adventist church, Forest Lake Seventh-day Adventist Church Choir, members of the Men of Markham Woods men's chorus, the vocal octet Restoration, several out of state choir performers, and numerous friends from the Orlando community and surrounding areas.
The concert is a unique and exciting opportunity to blend the choral talents of many congregations, and the result is anticipated to produce amazing experiences for both choir singers and audiences alike.
The Instrumentalists - An Incredible Experience
The concert this year provides a once-off exciting experience for the instrumentalists. Often an orchestra is composed of an established group. Here we have the blending of several smaller groups, including members of the Orlando Philharmonic, the Markham Woods Brass, Sabbath Strings, and students from Forest Lake Academy, Lake Highland Academy, and numerous friends from the Orlando community and surrounding areas.
Together with full pipe organ and handbells, the instruments for this years concert promise to deliver a spectacular experience for performers and audience alike.