Wikman Leads Vespers For AGO
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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