A note from our Cantor, Bev Jedynak
Hymns for the 50 days of rejoicing have one thing in common – they are filled with Alleluia and/or Christ is Risen! Our hymnody focuses on celebration, joy, transformation of creation, Christ risen for all, present for all. Baptismal and eucharistic imagery are strong – and we’ll know this one by heart after the season – Abundant Life! Frequent use of full organ – as well as special choral verses – lots of instruments, percussion. We’re celebrating during the 50 days of Easter!
While it’s easy to get answers when asking for a favorite Christmas carol – the same isn’t always true for Easter hymns. For cantors, it’s hard to pick a favorite, since there are so many good Easter hymns – and not just in the “Easter” section of the hymnal. My three favorites this season are (in no preference order):
Come, You Faithful, Raise the Strain (words – obviously – but I love playing this hymn – particularly on the organ! It’s like my hands and feet dance – and the rhythm is so much fun as well).
O Blessed Spring (While technically not in the Easter section, this baptismal hymn written by a contemporary of mine has wonderful imagery of being joined to Christ the vine in baptism and what this means throughout one’s live as one ages. Every three years the Gospel for the 5th Sunday of Easter is about Christ the Vine.)
Christ has Risen While Earth Slumbers (The melody is used with two other hymns – Unexpected and Mysterious in Advent and There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy. I’m thrilled that there is now a hymn using this tune for Easter! The words, by John Bell of the Iona Community, who also penned a St. Luke’s favorite, Will You Come and Follow Me, are equally important as they bring the Easter message to us today).
Of course, there are so many others that I enjoy – festive hymns such as “Jesus Christ is Risen Today”, “Now All the Vault of Heaven Resounds”, “This Joyful Eastertide,” “Christ the Lord is Risen Today,” “Alleluia! Jesus is Risen”. Like I said – hard to pick favorites!!