Shouting Crowd Of Angels

The dramatic readings of Holy Week and Easter provide the basis for some of the most dramatic musical compositions of the Church Year. Among the dramatic readings and proclamations of the Easter Vigil Service, a piece of music commands a powerful place in this important liturgy. The Exsultet, or "Easter proclamation" is named for the first line of the Latin text: exsultet iam angelica turba caelorum ("Now the heavenly crowd of angels shout for joy"). This chant is sung after the blessing of the new fire (new life) and the Paschal candle has been lit. This powerful text recalls Israel's exodus from Egypt, new Christians crossing through water from slavery to freedom, and Christ's resurrection.

This year's Easter anthem will be Healey Willan's O Sing unto the Lord a New Song, an anthem scored for organ and brass. At the heart of this anthem is a verse from the Pascha nostrum, or "Christ our Passover" surrounded by Alleluias. It is important to note that the forty days of Lent are followed by fifty days of Easter, from Easter Day to the Day of Pentecost.

Derek E. Nickels, DMA
Director of Music