Thomas Wikman

Wikman Leads Vespers For AGO

Judith Mintel by Judith Mintel, for the Thomas Wikman website

July 5, 2006 - More than 1000 members of the American Guild of Organists attended a worship service at St. Mary of Perpetual Help Roman Catholic Church in Chicago as a part of the AGO's 2006 National Convention.  The service was a Vespers in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  It occurred at 4:15 PM on Wednesday July 5, 2006.  The Reverend Donald Craig was the celebrant.  Traditional worship music was provided by the Church of the Ascension Choir, Thomas Wikman, choirmaster; and Jonathan Tuuk, organist.

Tuuk performed Chorale #2 in B Minor by CÚsar Franck as the Prelude and Finale from Symphony No. 2 in D Major by Charles Marie Widor as the Postlude.  The choir sang the majority of the service in Latin.  Psalm 109 and 116 were sung to Gregorian chant and fauxbourdons.  Choral works included Ave Maris Stella by Felice Anerio, Pater Noster by Hendrik Andriessen, Magnificat by Flor Peeters, O Salutaris by Arthur Honegger, Ave Verum Corpus by Josquin des Prez, and Salve Regina by Francis Poulenc.  The choir sounded beautiful as their harmonies soared through the reverberant space.  The organ accompaniment was sensitive and supportive of the singers.

The packed church of organists sang the two hymns "O Gladsome Light, O Grace" and "Therefore We Before Him Bending" with reverent vigor filling the church with sound.  The responses by the congregation were also robust as the celebrant asked for response in the worship service.  The performance of the Church of the Ascension Choir was made possible, in part, by a generous gift from Jean and Austin Spyksma.

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