Seven Divided by Three

A composer-friend wrote a piece for me a few weeks ago.  A lovely choral work that sets the Easter text by Charles Wesley, Love’s redeeming work is done.  My friend, Rob Lehman, thought the text would bring some comfort during a difficult time in my life, and having friendship take the form of a new creation was deeply moving.  An early Easter present:

Love’s redeeming work is done, fought the fight, the battle won, Death in vain forbids him rise; Christ has opened paradise.

Lives again our glorious King; where, O death, is now thy sting? Once he died our souls to save, where thy victory, O grave?

Soar we now where Christ has led, following our exalted Head; made like him, like him we rise, ours the cross, the grave, the skies.

I had told Rob a few years ago that I loved pieces in 7/8 time, and he promptly wrote a sparkling setting of the wonderful 19th century American text, How can I keep from singing, for me…in 7/8 time of course.  When I called to thank him for this new work a few weeks ago, I reflected on why 7/8 is so appealing to me, wondering aloud if it is because performing a piece in 7/8 time requires a musician to divide seven into three parts – albeit three unequal parts.  2+2+3 or 3+2+2 or even 2+3+2.   We know the importance of three in our thinking.   Spiritually it’s the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Ghost.  Personally it might be the trinity of friends, family and work that makes claims on our time and affection.  The power of three makes itself known in all kinds of ways in our lives. The three little pigs…Goldilocks and the three bears… three people walked into a bar…bad things happen in threes.

But 7/8 time is the reminder that the three parts of something are never equally present at any given time.  Spiritually, there are times when we walk more closely with the Son, depend more on the Father, or are more aware of the Holy Spirit working in our lives. Certainly, friends and family and work play unequal roles at various points in our life. Which isn’t to say we don’t need a balance of these three parts, just that they can’t be equally important at any given moment.

I wrote about 7/8 years ago, describing the dance I felt inherent in that time signature. Not a waltz, or any other kind of dance you would see in the ballroom, but a dance where varying parts are made into a whole. A woman responded, then, writing that she had multiple sclerosis and nothing made her happier than being held by her husband as they danced together in graceful awkwardness. That’s why I love 7/8 time.

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Where I’ll be:

Sunday, March 13

first…Bradley Hills Presbyterian Church, substitute organist for their 10:30 am service and then…Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church’s annual Bach Marathon which runs from 2:00-7:00.  I’ll be playing two of my favorite preludes and fugues during the 4:30-5:00 time slot.

This blog represents an attempt to continue putting thoughts together on various things that seem to connect – in my mind anyway!  More often than not new ideas first involve reaching back to what was and I can only hope that the prehistoric San cave painting at the top of this page inspires all kinds of new connections between old and new.

Feel free to pass this message along to anyone who might be interested, and if a community conversation comes out of it, all the better.  We have so much to share and so much to be grateful for.



Getting Off the Ground

More love and kindness.  I just heard a presidential candidate say those words, and I’m not often so completely in agreement with any politician.  After getting knocked down, a little love and kindness go a long way in someone’s life. Having been knocked down myself recently, it meant a great deal to me to have people show so much kindness in their support of my effort to get this new blog off the ground and I thank those who read last week’s inaugural Notes for New Day.

This is not really a Notes for a New Day posting.  I’ll be writing every other week, with a piece called Seven Divided by Three coming out on March 10.  Meanwhile, I’m continuing to reach out to anyone who might be interested in reading my musings on the ways that the arts, spirituality and life intersect.

Interestingly, I played last weekend for the Atlas Performing Arts Center’s Intersections Festival 2016,  which was described as the place “where the art world and the real world intersect.”  That’s the place where I want to live and hope you’ll join me there.

This Sunday, March 6, I’ll be at St. Columba Episcopal Church with my friend, French harpist Isabelle Frouvelle.  We’ll be playing a beautiful piece for organ and harp by Marcel Grandjany as the prelude to their 11:15 service, and then, adding a Handel concerto, we’ll play as part of a program there at 2:00 (OrganPlusConcert2016). On March 13 I’ll be playing the 4:30-5:00 time slot during the annual Bach Marathon at Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church (Bach Marathon).

Love and kindness are running themes throughout Michael Moore’s new film, Where to Invade Next.  He looks abroad for ways that we, as Americans, can better respect the dignity of every human being.  Even if you’re not a fan of Moore, it’s difficult to argue with that need in this world.  He asks us to be better people.  Ones who use the tools of love and kindness to help everyone get up off the ground.

Somehow, this turned into a regular Notes for a New Day posting after all…




Welcome to this new venture!  I will be posting every other Thursday beginning February 25th.  Topics will include music, art, poetry, and spirituality, among other general observations.  In addition, I will post about upcoming performances.  Looking forward to exploring with you!