A letter from the Dean: Our Music MInistry

Dear St. Paul´s family,

Our Pentecost celebration last Sunday was joyful and Spirit-filled. I had the blessing of attending all four services and experiencing the wide variety of gifts and cultures that we enjoy here in San Diego. We heard the Acts reading in many different languages, we experienced a graceful dance, we sang great hymns and enjoyed splendid organ music; at the 1:00 service we celebrated Baptism and First Communion with Mariachi accompaniment; and at the 5:00 service we joined with our Sudanese brothers and sisters in traditional songs in Arabic and Swahili, blending with the more usual Anglican offerings. Truly a Pentecostal celebration!

Our musical tradition goes deep into our history as Anglican Christians, and music speaks to the heart in ways that words alone cannot. People of faith have always sung the praises of God, as we see in the Psalms. Personally, I love to sing and to be in the midst of great music, and it is music that brought me back to the church when I strayed. God speaks to us through music.

Music is central to our worship life, as you know. Our girl and boy choristers are legendary in this city; our organ is one of the best in the country; our Choral Evensong is a gem treasured by many, including clergy of other denominations. A music program as extensive as ours normally has a whole team of staff and volunteers, but at St. Paul´s, somehow Martin Green and Gabriel Arregui produce fantastic results with other committed musicians, both professional and amateur, and minimal financial and support staff resources. I am grateful for those who volunteer significant time to sort sheet music.

Our Friends of Cathedral Music are those members of the community who make special gifts from time to time to support the music ministry. Designated gifts are placed in a special fund which is used for special occasions or, when the need is acute (as it is this year), to support the general operating expenses of the music program. We are developing a brochure to communicate different ways in which you can support our music ministry. A new music endowment is in its infancy, and you can make a contribution towards the cost of commissioning special music for our sesquicentennial celebration next year. Another current effort is the fund to rebuild our Steinway grand piano, so that we can host professional recitals in appropriate style. You may be shocked to learn that it costs up to $25,000 to rebuild a Steinway.

On Sunday June 3 our choirs will present their annual Spring Benefit Concert, featuring the beloved Requiem by Gabriel Fauré, accompanied by professional instrumentalists from around the area. I hope you will come to Evensong and stay for this short concert: I guarantee that your soul will be fed!

Donations in appreciation will be added to the Friends of Cathedral Music fund, which is in need of replenishment, but you can also mark donations for Piano Restoration, Sesquicentennial, or Music Endowment (we need $40,000 more to make the endowment active at $100,000, but our ultimate goal is $1m). You can make a gift either online or via check at any time for any of these funds. Each one will further our mission and enrich the ministry we offer the community.

St. Augustine said that those who sing, pray twice. I give thanks for all the opportunities we have to sing God´s praise, and for all the faithful and generous souls who play, sing, pray, and give in support of this ministry.

The Very Rev Penny Bridges

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