A New Hymn for Saint Georges - Part III

Frank Boles, composer


The tune for Susan Palo Cherwien's exquisite text, All-embracing God,was written by Frank Boles, former Director of Music at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Indianapolis.  Over his 37 year tenure at St. Paul's, Frank not only cultivated one of the top music ministries in the country, but crafted many beautiful compositions for choir, congregation, and festival occasions,  He is a well-respected composer in the American Anglican music tradition, and one that has a gift for facilitating through music that holy dialogue which allows all to respond in worship to their creator.

The tune of our new hymn is most wonderful. I love many things about our new tune, which we have aptly named VIRGINIA SQUARE, to celebrate the place that is the center of our ministry, the home where we are renewed and nurtured for God's service in this world.

I love:
- That this tune can be sung in different settings to capture different elements and interpretations of the text.
- That it works to sing it quietly and reverently in a prayerful manner.  
- That it can also be sung in a celebratory and festive manner that truly celebrates the amazing, All-embracing love of God and the work we do for justice and peace.
- That the festival version is incredible - wait for its debut Jan. 22.  
     (and that it will make a certain organist practice his B-flat major scale!)
- That the first two phrases of the melody ascends and draws our eyes upward to the glories of the heavens, and outward in praise of God.
- That the melody moves downward (inward) when we sing "signed and marked and sealed" as if we are bowing our heads in prayer as we make the sign of the cross upon our selves.
- that in fact, the phrases of the tune generally ascend when talking about God images, and descend when the text is about those things in this world.
     (A subtle form of text painting!)
- That this tune has beautifully shaped phrases that allow all of us to sing well with good breath, as evidenced by its first use this past Sunday.
- That it has a descant written especially for our choristers in mind.  
     (Let the who-can-sing-the-high-notes-the-most-artistically competition begin)
- That there is now a hymn tune named VIRGINIA SQUARE!
- That this tune is memorable, and sticks in my ears all week long, helping me to again and again pray and recall this wonderful text that reminds me of God's love for all, and a guide for my actions in this world.

Soli Deo Gloria!
en Keseley, Minister of Music