Psalms, Psalms, and more Psalms

While I was at the University of Notre Dame pursuing my Master’s degree, I served as organist at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church. Inspired by the stories of Johann Sebastian Bach writing a cantata every week, I took it as my own challenge to write a psalm setting every week while I was there. The choir and cantors there became my compositional laboratory, and I turned out probably 100 psalm settings during my two years there.

I dropped this practice when I went to France to study, but resumed it again when I became music director at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Albany, NY. While I would have liked to reuse some of my settings from Indiana, unfortunately, most of the scores I did were minimal vocal only scores without notation for any keyboard part. Sometimes, I could figure out what I had intended to play at the keyboard, but other times, the music was effectively lost in time. In order to encourage congregational singing, many of my psalm settings written in Albany used phrases from hymn tunes to make the refrains readily accessible to the people.

Once I moved to Orlando, I had no need to compose weekly psalm settings. My catalog had also grown to include at least once setting for almost all of the three-year lectionary cycle, so when I was given the opportunity to use my own settings, I generally had something to pull out of the file cabinet ready to go. With the release of the Revised Grail Psalter and my understanding that this would be the new preferred translation for the Roman Catholic Church, I have decided once again to turn out weekly psalm settings using the new translation. No hymn tunes this time – only original music. (This collection has been published as the Audubon Park Psalter.)

Please feel free to contact me if you would like to consider using my psalm settings at your local church.

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