The Fifth Communion Service
When we few showed up for the Schola Cantorum at 9 AM this morning, Fr. Daniel announced we'd be practicing something called "The Fifth Communion Service"? I wondered what that was but explanation was quick in coming.
Every church I've attended, when they sang portions of Holy Communion, they always sang it the same way. Looking at one of the older Hymnals around the house I see they chose the Merbecke form though there were a few alternatives. However, Fr. Daniel noted that there was supplemental material added to the 1940 Hymnal in 1960 and again around 1975. Our new Hymnals have that material appended.
Looking this afternoon at one of the two new Hymnals we purchased for the upcoming Lay Reader Training and Parish Leadership Retreat this September, I see that there are indeed additional forms, labeled the Fifth Communion Service through the Eighth (apparently added in 1960 -- and in the second set of supplemental tunes I was startled to see that "Amazing Grace" had been added!).
So in this morning's service the parish was going to sing the Fifth Communion Service, specifically the Kyrie, the Sanctus and Benedictus, and the Agnus Dei, in settings arranged by Leo Sowerby (1957). (Hymns 747, 799, and 749.) This was not going to be familiar to the church so the Schola Cantorum would learn it, practice, and provide support from wherever our group's members were seated in the congregation.
After learning about the life of Leo Sowersby, we started in. The material was not difficult, though pitched a bit high for me. Normally I could reach it, but lately I've been having trouble; the attempt can make me feel like I'm choking. So I'm afraid I wasn't much help this morning, but the church did pretty well.
I just hope my voice clears up before we start working on the Choral Evensong.