Dan Dorty • Director of Music and Organist

Just as an oak tree grows from a small, sprouted acorn to an enormous, sturdy tree, our church has rooted and grown into the vibrant, healthy family of faith that we know today. I invite you to our hymn festival commemorating the 300th anniversary of Derry Presbyterian Church on March 17 at 4:00 pm. The Sanctuary Choir and Derry Ringers will sing and ring the great hymns of faith in celebration of our rich history.

Under the direction of acclaimed conductor, Linda L. Tedford, we will sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs that have been published in every Presbyterian hymnal dating from the 1551 Genevan Psalter until the present Glory to God hymnal, which we currently use. Our Sanctuary walls will resonate with the joyous sounds of a full orchestra, including brass, strings, woodwinds, percussion, our mighty Aeolian-Skinner pipe organ, and the Lee Ann Taylor Memorial Steinway and Sons Concert Grand Piano.

We begin our concert giving thanks for Almighty God’s divine providence as the choir processes in with Tom Trenney’s setting of Earth and All Stars, and the Old Hundredth Psalm Tune, arranged by Ralph Vaughan Williams, for choir, brass, organ, and timpani.  From the Genevan Psalter of 1551, we sing I Greet Thee, Who My Sure Redeemer Art, often attributed to John Calvin, and more commonly known as Lord of All Good. We pray that God will be glorified through musical pillars, such as How Firm a Foundation, Praise Ye the Lord, the Almighty, Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah, and A Mighty Fortress is Our God.

Modern lyricist and hymn writer David Gambrell commissioned a new text in honor of Derry’s tri-centennial to the Irish folk tune, Londonderry Air, entitled In Jesus Christ There is a New Creation. Our choir is honored to share this new hymn in its world premiere. In keeping with our Celtic roots, we are led to sing Be Thou My Vision, set to the traditional Irish tune, Slane.

Derry Ringers will envelop you with the sounds of bronze as they present Te Deum Laudamus, a riveting setting by Cathy Moklebust, and Crown Him with Many Crowns, elegantly arranged by D. Linda McKechnie. Other choral works featured are Allen Pote’s beautiful arrangement of The Lord is My Shepherd, and American composer Aaron Copland’s interpretation of the spiritual Shall We Gather at the River. The choir will conclude the program with John Rutter’s benediction, The Lord Bless You and Keep You.

I invite you to join us under the oaks for an afternoon of worship-filled hymn singing, as we glimpse the pages of our history through songs of faith and stories of our founders.  Let us worship together through music and the spoken word, giving thanks to God for 300 years of ministry on these sacred grounds.