Sound Theology by Colleen Butcher

Hubert Parry –English Terroir

Aficionados place terroir above all in fine wine: the particular taste that can only be imparted by a particular combination of factors unique to one place and time. Terroir includes a distinctive, localized, specific combination of factors including soil, climate, and sunlight that give grapes a distinctive character.

Musical performances also have terroir. Musicians, ensembles, choirs, even middle school concert bands, have something that goes beyond objective standards to an intangible, subjective sound. The same can be said for composers. read more…

The Nocturne

Very few composers are credited with having invented a classical music form, but the one thing that many people have heard about John Field (1782 – 1837) is that he invented the nocturne. It isn’t true, of course: others before him (Haydn for one) had used the term ‘nocturne’ or ‘notturno,’ either for a short, lyrical piece, or for a kind of serenade. But it was Field who cultivated it both as an idea and a genre, and associated it inescapably with the piano. Perhaps more important is the fact that he was the first Celtic voice – certainly the first Irish composer – to make a contribution to European concert music. And his contribution, though not massive in itself, had huge consequences. read more…

Trinity Sunday

The dance is a common translation of the trinitarian image “perichoresis.” This week, in honour of Trinity Sunday, the playlist features a three-step dance, the waltz. 
The waltz is a wonderful metaphor for the interaction of the holy three-in-one. It originated as a country peasant dance – rustic and spontaneous – an outpouring of the joy of the end of the week and the celebration of community. Over time, the dance took on a more formal structure, developing a tempo, interchange, and connection between the dancers in relation to each other. read more…

Pentecost 2

If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him. But you know him, because he lives with you now and later will be in you. No, I will not abandon you as orphans—I will come to you.

John 14: 15-18 read more…

Easter 7

O LORD, how manifold are your works! In wisdom you have made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.

When you send forth your spirit, they are created; and you renew the face of the ground. May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD rejoice in his works — who looks on the earth and it trembles, who touches the mountains and they smoke. I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being. May my meditation be pleasing to him, for I rejoice in the LORD. Bless the LORD, O my soul. Praise the LORD!

Psalm 104: 24, 30-34


These words have now settled deep in our bones and our hearts and have become an easy refrain: “Christ is Risen! He is Risen, Indeed! Halleluiah!” Our spirits sing with the echoes of this call and response. As spring unfolds, we see it echoed in nature as well, as everything bursts with life. Everything is alive: He has risen and everything with him. read more…