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Holy Week Music at Grace Madison

Credits: Mary Lea Crawley

The choirs of Grace Episcopal Church, Madison, under the direction of Dr. Anne Matlack, are planning special music for all of Holy Week.

On Palm Sunday April 13 at 9 a.m., the service begins with the liturgy of the palms and anthems with bells and children. After the reading of the Passion story, the children sing Were You there? Adults and older trebles present Anton Bruckner’s stunning motet, Christus Factus Est at the offertory. The Gargoyles, Grace Church’s teen boy ensemble will sing Chesnokov’s The Wise Thief, with Greg Paradis, tenor. The high school girls’ ensemble, The Daughters of Zion, will sing the first movement of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater during communion. Adult choirs also grace the 11:15 service, and the 7:30 early service will include guest soloists Betty Innemee of Livingston and Christine Cullen of Madison.

Wednesday of Holy Week, April 16, there will be a Compline for Kids service with child appropriate prayers and songs, and foot washing. The half-hour service is at 6:45 and is preceded by pizza-making and an outreach project at 5:30. Although geared to families with children 2-12, all ages are welcome.

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The Maundy Thursday Evening service at 7:30 p.m. April 17, will feature the adult choir and older children in Gawthrop’s Watch With Me and Gibbons’ Drop Slow Tears, as well as Taizé music with flutes and violin, and Grace’s teen boys, The Gargoyles. The Daughters of Zion will sing Fauré’s Tantum Ergo.

 The Good Friday 3 hour service (noon-3 p.m. April 18) will feature the adult choir in the first hour, followed by soloists Eleanor Wroath, Donna Ward,  and George Hayman  all of Madison. In the 2-2:30 time, The Gargoyles, and Daughters of Zion will sing. At 2:30, the younger children join the service, and the 50 trebles will sing Bouman’s I Lift My Eyes and the spiritual Were You There? There will be congregational hymns, prayers, meditations and organ music.  The community is welcome, and the congregation should feel free to come (and go) for any part of the service.  Nursery care is provided. A special Good Friday children's liturgy will follow at 3:15 for ages pre-school through elementary.

The first service of Easter is the Vigil Saturday evening April 19 at 7 p.m., featuring the music of Taizé, with many singers and instrumentalists, including flute, clarinet, strings, brass, and guitar.  This mystical, meditative service begins in darkness, with the lighting of the new fire and the chanting of the Exultet, and continues with the ringing of bells and the first alleluias of Easter.  Singers from the community who would like to join the choir for this service are welcome at the 6 p.m. rehearsal (please call 073-377-0106x17 and let us know you are coming.)

Easter Sunday April 20, the combined children and adult choirs will be joined by professional brass quartet, percussion, organ and bells at the 9 and 11:15 services, in music by G.F. Handel, Flor Peeters, Malcolm Archer,  Jeffrey Rickards and others.  Widor's "Toccata" will be the organ postlude.  There will be activities for children at both services, including the flowering of the cross and an Easter egg hunt.  The 7:30 a.m. Rite I service will feature Peter Sciaino, trumpet, and Eric Stroud, Organist.

There will be nursery care at all services (except Easter 7:30 am). For more information, call the church at 377-0106 or visit

The 60-voice Grace Church Children’s Choir CDs include “Angel,” “Younger Generations,” “Halloween Concert!” “Gloria,” and “Rutter’s Requiem.” Organist/Choir Director Dr. Anne Matlack holds degrees from Yale University and Cincinnati Conservatory and also conducts the acclaimed Harmonium Choral Society.

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