Rejoice, Rejoice, Believers

Rejoice, Rejoice, Believers (Llangloffan)

Text by: Laurentius Laurenti 1700
Translated by: Sarah B Findlater 1854
Tune: Llangloffan, a Welsh hymn melody

Here is one of four tunes I have recorded for this text:
https://youtu.be/x5FlK-CtGsY

Rejoice, rejoice, believers, And let your lights appear;
The evening is advancing, And darker night is near.
The bridegroom is arising And soon is drawing nigh.
Up, pray and watch and wrestle; At midnight comes the cry.

The watchers on the mountain Proclaim the bridegroom near;
Go forth as He approaches With alleluias clear.
The marriage feast is waiting; The gates wide open stand.
Arise, O heirs of glory; The bridegroom is at hand.

The saints, who here in patience Their cross and sufferings bore,
Shall live and reign forever When sorrow is no more.
Around the throne of glory The Lamb they shall behold;
In triumph cast before Him Their diadems of gold.

Our hope and expectation, O Jesus, now appear;
Arise, O Sun so longed for, Over this benighted sphere.
With hearts and hands uplifted, We plead, O Lord, to see
The day of earth’s redemption That sets Your people free!

Allusions to Biblical text abound here! Most hymn books place this hymn within the Advent section. While the advent of something is surely present, it just isn’t the usual sense of Advent we have. The allusions are more appropriate to Revelations than the synoptic Gospels.

A great celebration is here as we await the arrival of the bridegroom and the watchers proclaim he is drawing near. The marriage between the bride (the church) and the bridegroom is at hand.

With the third stanza we have the second Advent for it is now after the saints have born their cross and sufferings shall they live with no more sorrow in the presence of the Lamb of God. This imagery of the Lamb and Bride of Christ can be found in Revelations chapters 19 and 20.

The final stanza calls for the redemption which will set the bridegroom’s people free from this benighted sphere.

Within the celebration of the Advent season sits the anticipation of the second coming of Christ. He came once to save and redeem, and he has promised to come again?

The author is a man who took the name Laurentius Laurenti (1660-1722). He spent most of his life in northern Germany. Laurenti was born: Lorenz Lorenzen but after a year studing music at the university of Rostock he adopted the latinized version of his name, a common practice at the time. In 1684 he became the music director at the Bremen Cathedral and wrote several dozen hymns.

The text was translated by Sarah B. Findlater (1823-1907). She was the wife of a pastor in Lochearnhead, Scotland, which then, as now, is nothing more than a wide spot in the road. Sarah wrote and translated (mostly from German) dozens of hymns throughout her life.

Andrew Remillard



What is an Ebenezer and Why on Earth Would I Want to Raise It?

Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing (Nettleton)

Text by Robert Robinson 1758
Tune: Nettleton by John Wyeth 1813

Here is a recording I did of Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing:

https://youtu.be/h69_DRq-MFA

Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing
1. Come, thou Fount of every blessing,
tune my heart to sing thy grace;
streams of mercy, never ceasing,
call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
mount of thy redeeming love.

  1. Here I raise mine Ebenezer;
    hither by thy help I’m come;
    and I hope, by thy good pleasure,
    safely to arrive at home.
    Jesus sought me when a stranger,
    wandering from the fold of God;
    he, to rescue me from danger,
    interposed his precious blood.

  2. O to grace how great a debtor
    daily I’m constrained to be!
    Let thy goodness, like a fetter,
    bind my wandering heart to thee.
    Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
    prone to leave the God I love;
    here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
    seal it for thy courts above.
    Robert Robinson 1787


As a student of history, I frequently read texts that are several centuries old. Two things often stand out, one is the very poetic and descriptive language used and the presence of archaic words and structures.

Most of our hymns have a two part history. The first is the poetry and the second is the tune and its harmonization. Sometimes we become so accustomed to singing a tune with a poem we never take a close look at the text. So we sing heartily about raising our Ebenezer and never stop to wonder: “What did I just do? Was it polite to do in mixed company?” And in our ignorance we miss the great theological truths of which we sing.

The first stanza speaks to the immeasurable mercies and grace which come from the mount of God’s unchanging love. And as only a poet can do, this mount of God’s unchanging love pivots into the opening phrase of the second verse.
In I Samuel 7:12 it says: “Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer; saying, “Thus far the LORD has helped us.””

The Ark of the Covenant had just been returned to the Israelites by the Philistines after they had captured it in battle. The Israelites were struggling with their faithfulness to the one true God. After the Ark had been returned and their enemies vanquished, Samuel took a large stone and set it up between the cities of Mizpah and Shen to mark the help the Israelites had received from God. It became both a monument and a reminder of God’s faithfulness. So when we raise our Ebenezer we are placing a public monument, acknowledging God’s faithfulness to us.

So raising your Ebenezer is a very big deal and most certainly should be done in mixed company. It also speaks to the question: If you were arrested for your faith, would there be enough evidence to convict you? Have you raised an Ebenezer to God’s faithfulness?

Throughout the Old Testament, we read of monuments and alters being built in acknowledgement of Israel’s covenanting with and dependence upon God. Mr. Robert Robinson, back in 1787 reminds us today of the importance of publicly acknowledging our faith and covenant with God.

In the third verse, Robinson writes of his innate inability to remain faithful and his complete dependence upon God to hold himself bound to God. So this public Ebenezer is one more reminder for our ever failing and wandering heart to remember and bind ourselves to God’s everlasting love which he showed in its greatest splendor in the sacrificial love of the cross.

 

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Another 15 Ways to Promote your Studio

Another 15 Ways to Promote your Studio

1) Create a niche market. Most people specialize in beginners and then everybody else. How about specializing in duets? I have noticed a significant increase in two piano and piano duo playing in the past few years. Piano ensemble work has a lot of challenges for the performer and teacher. Having been a member of a two piano team for many years I know the value of a third pair of ears.

2) Develop a logo. The purpose of a logo is to create a visual reminder of you. The Nike “swish” has become universally recognized as the symbol for Nike. The best logos are very simple but need to be present everywhere you are present from your business card to your recital programs.

3) T-shirts or sweatshirts with your name and logo on them for your students. Here is a great walking advertisement for your studio!

4) Articles in the local newspaper. Small, local newspapers will often run 300 – 500 word articles about local businesses. The best part is that it doesn’t cost anything. You need to contact the local paper’s editorial depart to see what their procedures are for submitting an article.

5) Develop a school music presentation. Back in the days when I would go on a tour I had developed a program around Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition which I would play at elementary schools in the cities I was playing in. Various pictures were displayed on a screen while I played and gave a running commentary for the children.

6) Offer lessons at places people gather. Your local YMCA is one place not normally associated with music lessons, but they are often looking for other types of programs for their members. I know of two YMCA’s which offered music lessons as part of their programs at one time.

7) Offer music programs designed for young children at after school care facilities and early educational centers such as Montessori schools.

8) Offer lessons at a senior center or a retirement center.

9) Sponsor a team. While Jimmy maybe interested in baseball, his sister Suzy may want to play the piano. It is not just your team who will know about your studio, but the parents of every team they play and the parents whose children are playing before and after your team’s games.

10) Display banners at local sports arenas. My son played years of hockey and I sat with parents of school aged children in many different ice rinks and saw a lot of local businesses’ banners hanging all around the arena. Why not yours? You might be surprised how inexpensive this is to do.

11) Reprint any ads or articles about your studio and pass them out to everybody. Yes, most will be thrown away, but some will be read and maybe passed on to others.

12) Join a civic organization. Become the go to music person for the local Rotary Club or Kiwanis clubs.

13) Offer gift certificates for lessons. This would be a great Christmas present for someone. Put together a package of a month or two of lessons and a book. You will get paid in advance and may gain a new student by the time the gift certificate is used up.

14) Use testimonials in your marketing. A couple of testimonials from either the parents or the children of only a couple dozen words can become a significant marketing tool.

15) Write a newsletter. This is a great way to keep everybody informed about important dates, you can include policy reminders and even more important include informational articles. Always leave your readers a little smarter for having read your newsletter. Give them something of value each time they pick it up and they are much more likely to pick it up again and maybe even share it with someone else.

Andrew Remillard
ANRPiano.com
Andrew@anrpiano.com

 

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Thoughts from Behind the Keyboard #1

Earlier this year, just before Easter, I effectively lost the use of my left hand due to arthritis. I had surgery to restore some functionality and while the surgery went fine, the infection which followed was devastating. When I was admitted to the hospital I feared that anything which hurt this much could not stay attached to my body. But through the grace of modern medicine, the skill and patience of my doctors and nurses, the love of my wife Diane, and the many prayers from my fellow Christians I survived and have been able to return to my seat behind the keyboard.

Throughout this episode I had the time to reflect on a number of questions. Before I knew for sure that my hand would work well enough to play again I considered why was it so important for me to play again?
In Matthew 25:14-30 Jesus tells the parable of the master who gives his three servants various amounts of talents to manage in his absence. I had always assumed that my “talent” had been the ability to play and share my skill with others. For me to play is an act of worship. All of the many hours of preparation leading up to the first notes of the Prelude are an act of sacrifice and worship. Every day of the week I would rise and plan my day around the my preparation for each Sunday. And now I feared that this would soon end.

God and I had already faced the greatest test when my son Kurt died and I knew he was always faithful. So as I laid in the hospital and then spent weeks in occupational therapy I came to realize that my ability and opportunity to worship God extends to everything I do, not just my piano playing. How I treat my neighbor and how I encourage my brothers and sisters every day is an act of worship. The patience you show a restless child is an act of worship and the patience you show the careless driver is also an act of worship. The daily practice of life provides opportunities to worship our God. We don’t do this to “feel good” or for any other purpose. Worship is an expression than God is altogether worthy of worship and is deserving of our faithful worship for no other reason.

So Sunday morning as we gather together to worship corporately, when you first hear the piano or the band begin to play please join us for we are here to worship, we are here to bow down, and we are here to say that you’re our God.