Anniversary of King James Version celebrated through orchestra, choir

Griffin Browne plays the cello at the music department's "Sounding through the Centuries." | Photo by Anne Richoux

By Amanda Parrish, Staff Writer

The music department’s “Sounding Through the Centuries,” in honor of the King James Version’s 400th anniversary, was met with praise and affirmation on Sept. 15.
One by one, the audience filed silently to their seats as a hush fell over the crowd. The orchestra and choir paused in anticipation as minutes ticked by before bow touched string.
Beginning with a strong introduction from the choir, the concert’s opening song, “Thou Shalt Love the Lord,” was composed by Dr. Daniel Musselman, assistant professor of music.
Dr. Christopher Mathews, associate professor of music and department chair, said he commissioned Musselman to write the piece. The night of the concert was the first time Musselman’s song was performed in public.
His composition was based on Deuteronomy 6:4-6 and 7:9, emphasizing the Lord’s love and the need for God’s people to honor him.
Each song performed was based on a passage of Scripture. Beginning in Deuteronomy and following the story through Revelation, the music presented the Bible’s story.
In choosing songs for this occasion, Mathews said he researched different pieces that reflected the King James Version’s theme and language style.
Approximately 100 songs were considered and several were chosen, including “Is Any Afflicted” by Williams Billings and “The Last Words of David” by Randall Thompson.
Jed Dugger, senior music major, said a wide variety of songs were included. Pieces from the past 400 years were performed.
A mixture of older, classical pieces, as well as Musselman’s new composition, gave a wide range of music.
“The King James Version has impacted all of life, from the arts and sciences on,” Mathews said.
“Music has changed throughout the years, but the Bible has stayed the same.”
Accompanying this wide variety of songs, Nigel Goodwin, founder and international director of the Genesis Arts Trust, invited the audience deeper into scripture. Speaking out across the silence in a passionate voice, he read passages such as “great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised” in 1 Chronicles 16. The words of the King James Version rang out, emphasizing the depths and riches of each passage.
Joining the list of names of the performance were three faculty members of the music department.
Dr. Stanley Warren, Dr. Georgia Wellborn and Dr. Michael Penny, all professors of music, were accompanied by the orchestra singing various sections of Handel’s “Messiah.”
The concert was brought to a close by an enthusiastic rendition of “Hallelujah,” written by Handel.
“It was a good performance because we did a lot tonight, but we did it well,” Dugger said.
Dugger commented that although he might not have a voice after the performance and constant practice, challenging songs were welcome.
After four weeks of practice, the choir, orchestra and faculty’s performance was met with applause, congratulations and high praise.

Image courtesy of Cardinal & Cream|Cardinal & Cream
About Cardinal & Cream 1009 Articles
The Cardinal & Cream is a student publication of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. Our staff ranges from freshmen to seniors and includes a variety of majors — including journalism, public relations, advertising, marketing, digital media studies, graphic design and art majors.