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Treble Choir sang at the 11:00 a.m. service on Sunday, February 25, 2024.

Updated: Mar 20

On Sunday, February 25, 2024, the Treble Choir of Houston sang at the 11:00 a.m. service at Christ Church Cathedral, 1117 Texas Avenue, Houston TX 77002.  At this service, they sang the Offertory Anthem, “A Gaelic Blessing” by Sir John Rutter (b. 1945).

 

“A Gaelic Blessing” was originally scored for four vocal parts (SATB) and organ or orchestra. This Sunday, we will sing an SSA arrangement of this anthem.

 

“A Gaelic Blessing” is also known by the first line of the text, "Deep peace." This composition was commissioned by the Chancel Choir of First United Methodist Church, Omaha, Nebraska, for their conductor Mel Olson. It was published first in 1978 by Hinshaw Music, by Oxford University Press and also by the Royal School of Church Music.

 

The format of “A Gaelic Blessing” is based on Celtic Christian prayers and songs.  The text of “A Gaelic Blessing” is like the prayers found in the Scottish Gaelic collection, the “Carmina Gadelica.” Rutter has said that this composition is based on "an old Gaelic rune", and that he added a line mentioning Jesus and the word Amen, to make it also a Christian anthem.

 

For the tempo, Rutter marked his score, "Flowing and tranquil." The key is in E major and the time signature is 3/4.  The organ accompaniment rests on a pattern of chords often held for a full measure in the left hand with arpeggiated eighth notes in the right hand.

 

When the voices enter together, the lower voices sing long held notes matching the accompaniment found in the left hand (a full measure for "Deep", another one for "peace"), while the soprano pronounces "peace" sooner and moves in eighth notes on the words, "running wave." This pattern is kept for most of the piece.

 

"A Gaelic Blessing" begins softly (p), growing slightly (to mp) for the words "shining stars," and again later for the words, "moon and stars." A climax is reached on the word "Christ," with a crescendo rising to a forte (f) on the text, "light of the world" (with all voices holding the word "light" for more than a measure). Then with all the voices and the accompaniment, there is a diminuendo to a very soft ending.


On February 25, Maille Craig sang the soprano solo in "A Gaelic Blessing."

 

Here are some images of the Treble Choir from the service on February 25:

 

 



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