The View has gotten lazy with updates, it seems. Regular travel, visiting family and friends, etc., have gotten in the way of blogging. But today I will try to catch up, skimming over most of the details and sticking with the facts my inquiring reader needs to know. We begin and end with cathedrals today.
Since last posting, I have attended Sunday services at two Anglican (Episcopal) cathedrals. Each took great care with its liturgy, which were as different as the buildings in which they took place. Please keep in mind that I don't intend to rate services, but rather, to share what I found interesting with the reader.
1. Trinity Cathedral, Portland, Oregon.
Architecturally, Trinity Cathedral is a modest building (for a cathedral). The nave is large and comfortable (padded pew cushions!), but not particularly inspiring, visually. There are however, a beautiful set of twelve windows, six on either side of the nave, that depict the Beatitudes. Here is one:
The large west window was also notable:
In the chancel is the very fine organ by Manuel Rosales. Despite the somewhat dry acoustics of the room (pew cushions!), the organ supported both the choir and the congregation with a full, deep, yet sparkling sound.
I attended the last Sunday service before the beginning of Lent, and there was a baptism, so the overall mood was festive. A sung introit, choir anthems, service music, etc., were all sung at a professional level. Certainly, this group was the finest church choir I have heard during my travels. Their choirmaster, Michael Kleinschmidt, has moved to St Mark's Cathedral, Seattle, where I am sure he will continue to do excellent work. The incoming interim choirmaster, Bruce Neswick, is also known in this country for his choral and organ work, so I am sure Trinity's great choir will continue to flourish. There is also an active concert series at the cathedral, so when in Portland…
2. St John's Cathedral, Spokane, Washington
Visually, this building has that “stop the car, there's a cathedral!” aura. It is a well-proportioned neo-Gothic style edifice that makes people like want to delay any and all appointments in order to spend time inside. On a personal note (spoiler: personal info ahead), I was born just down the hill from the cathedral, and have many relatives in the area, so consider the Spokane area a second home (after Seattle).
The interior of the cathedral continues to delight the eye:
The organ is a fairly large Aeolian-Skinner organ installed in 1957. Those parts of the organ that we heard last Sunday (the first Sunday in Lent) were smooth and elegant, reminiscent of an English cathedral instrument from the early 20th-century. John Bodinger is the organist (he and I were students at the Eastman School of Music together decades ago), and used the organ to great effect throughout the service.
As mentioned, this was the first Sunday in Lent, and began with a long procession and chanting of the Great Litany. Two anthems by the choir (Brahms and Farrant) were well sung. I rarely comment on sermons heard, but that given by the Dean yesterday was extremely fine, touching both on the readings, as well as current topics (strife in the Middle East). I had a flight to catch soon after the service, so didn't have much time to enjoy the building after the service. But if you are ever in Spokane, be sure to climb the South Hill to St John's Cathedral.
Preview: in its next post, The View goes casual. Outdoor activies, perhaps even a family photo or two. As my sabbatical winds down, it is time for visits with family and friends before returning to Japan. All this and more in the next post. Y'all come back, now!