Chorale Service of Holy Communion

Celebrating the 500th Anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation

Wednesday, July 26, 7:30pm
Hartwick Seminary Summer Institute of Theology
Atonement Lutheran Church Oneonta, New York

The year 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Lutheran Reformation. Martin Luther was at the dynamic center of the events in Europe during the 16th century that would reshape Christian culture and theology.

On Wednesday, July 26, the Elm Ensemble and leaders from the Hartwick Seminary Institute of Theology will present a Chorale Service of Holy Communion after the tradition of Martin Luther’s German Mass (Deutsche Messe).

This performance-worship hybrid event explores Luther’s revisions to the Latin mass. Luther set parts of the traditional mass to familiar tunes to help the congregation participate more easily. The Elm Ensemble will perform pieces by Luther, Johann Walther, Heinrich Schütz, and J. S. Bach. They will sing Paul Manz’s contemporary classic E’en So, Lord Jesus and a newly commissioned motetCome to Me—by Robert Buckley Farlee. The audience will have many opportunities to join in the singing.

This event is free and open to the public.

New Motet Commission: “Come to Me”

On Sunday 9 July, the Elm Ensemble premiered a new choral work—Come to Me—by Robert Buckley Farlee, cantor at Christ Church Lutheran in Minneapolis.

The motet is a lovely five-part arrangement of some verses from Matthew 11 (the lectionary Gospel text for that Sunday) juxtaposed with a brief excerpt from Luther’s last sermon in which Luther preaches on that same Matthew text:
Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28, 30)
Come to Christ, as he so lovingly invites us to do, and say: You alone are my beloved Lord and Master; I am your disciple. (from Luther’s last sermon preached in Eisleben only 3 days before his death)

The Elm Ensemble together with Christ Church commissioned the piece from Cantor Farlee on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation.

We hope the motet will be accessible to church choirs as well as professional ensembles. The piece is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Kay Madson, a beloved member of the Christ Church family, and was funded in part by gifts to her memorial fund.

The Elm Ensemble will be performing this new commission again at a worship service in Oneonta, New York, on Wednesday, July 26 as part of the Hartwick Seminary Summer Institute of Theology. The service is at Atonement Lutheran Church at 7:30pm and is free and open to the public.