Celebrating Moravian Musical Culture
Notes from Nola … The Moravian Music Foundation celebrates …
Continuing my series on the Moravian Music Foundation’s mission statement, what do we mean by “celebrating”?
The Moravian Music Foundation preserves, shares, and celebrates Moravian musical culture.
What do we celebrate in our world? Anniversaries … birthdays … all sorts of special occasions … maybe a new job, or a promotion, or a retirement … all sorts of transitions. Accomplishments of many kinds merit acknowledgment and celebration. And a lot of these include music – from a family singing “happy birthday” to bringing in a dance band.
Celebrating is certainly part of Moravian history and culture. Think of the annual remembrances that are common to all Christian churches – the birth of Christ; the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ; ascension; congregational anniversaries. All of these are in our Moravian world, as well as several others. Think of the special Moravian commemorations – the martyrdom of John Hus (July 6); the renewal of the Moravian Church (August 13); the acknowledgment of Jesus Christ as the Chief Elder of the Moravian Church (November 13). Special services have been held for these Moravian festivals for many generations, and there is a wealth of hymns and anthems written especially for these days. And many Moravian congregations have special celebrations for groups within the church. Some have a “workers’ lovefeast”, acknowledging the many contributions of members to the life and work of the church throughout the year. The Southern Province has an annual Children’s Festival in August, and music is certainly a part of that every year. Some still celebrate the “choir festivals” – single brothers, single sisters, married people, and so on.
But what, especially, does the Moravian Music Foundation do to “celebrate Moravian musical culture?” Our “celebration” work covers a lot of activites. Some of these are …
- holding Moravian Music Festivals every four years. (Note: Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, the 2021 Festival was held online with a Part II set for July 26, 2022 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania). Watch for updates, and plan to come …
- holding Moravian Music Weekends. We’ve now hosted 8 of these at Laurel Ridge Camp, Conference, and Retreat Center in the mountains of North Carolina, and we’d love to hold these at other locations as well. Interested in one in your area? Let’s talk about how to make it happen.
- sponsoring the Unitas Chorale in Pennsylvania and the Moramus Chorale in North Carolina. These two groups of singers rehearse and perform Moravian music and other music complementary to it – perhaps music by composers the Moravians knew and loved, or music written on Moravian tunes or texts. Both groups welcome new singers at any time, and our office can put you in touch with the directors (Gwyn Michel with the Unitas Chorale and Drake Flynt with the Moramus Chorale).
- providing music and programming assistance for other groups wanting to perform music from our collections. Many professional and amateur musical groups (and individual performers) contact our office each year asking about music, and we help by suggesting music to fit their programming wishes, their available musicians, and so on. We make the Lending Libraries available to all who contact us (a future post will say more!), or we sell our own publications. We’re happy to provide background information and program notes.
- helping Moravian congregations celebrate special occasions – providing music and liturgy suggestions for the services of dedication (or re-dedication) of or a building; for a special anniversary; for a vacation Bible school; for a children’s hand chimes group; for almost anything a congregation wants to celebrate with music!
- helping congregations, Moravian and many other denominations, who want to hold a Moravian lovefeast or candle service. We can send music suggestions, practical ideas for how to hold it, information about obtaining candles or lovefeast buns, suggested orders of worship, and so on.
When you think of celebrating, then, you may already think of music. And we hope that as your congregation or organization thinks of future celebrations, you’ll remember that the Moravian Music Foundation is here to help with music suggestions for almost any occasion!
Next time? The Music Lending Libraries managed by the Moravian Music Foundation – What’s in them, who uses them, and how can you use them?