September 27th


The composer of today's prelude, Cecile Chaminade, was born in Paris in 1857. Her compositions were tremendously popular with the public, but not always well received by critics. Songs made up the largest portion of her work, although she also composed for piano, flute, orchestra, opera and ballet. Her music was written primarily to be performed in the home by amateur musicians, many of whom formed “Chaminade clubs” in both England and the US. Clubs remain today in Tarrytown, NY and Norton, MA. Ms. Chaminade was awarded the French Légion d'Honneur, a first for a female composer, in 1913. She died in 1944. 


Melody Bober wrote the setting of "His Eye Is on the Sparrow," today's Worship Through Music. A composer, pianist and music educator who lives in Minnesota, Ms. Bober composes for piano solo and duet, with most of her compositions written for young music students.


Natalie Sleeth (1930-1992) is a much beloved American composer of music used widely in churches and schools. This week, we'll use two songs by Natalie Sleeth: #19 “God of Great and God of Small” written in 1973 and #250 "In the Bulb There is a Flower (Hymn of Promise)”. Sleeth wrote both the tunes and the texts for today's hymns.

Sleeth was born in Evanston, Illinois. She earned a BA in music theory at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. She married the Rev. Dr. Ronald E. Sleeth, a professor of Homiletics. "Hymn of Promise" was composed in early 1985, and dedicated simply to Dr. Sleeth, "To Ron," who was diagnosed with cancer and died weeks after its premiere. Knowing her husband was dying when it was written, the text is especially poignant.

In the bulb there is a flower;

in the seed, an apple tree;

in cocoons, a hidden promise:

butterflies will soon be free!

In the cold and snow of winter

there’s a spring that waits to be,

unrevealed until its season,

something God alone can see.

There’s a song in every silence,

seeking word and melody;

there’s a dawn in every darkness,

bringing hope to you and me.

From the past will come the future;

what it holds, a mystery,

unrevealed until its season,

something God alone can see.

In our end is our beginning;

in our time, infinity;

in our doubt there is believing;

in our life, eternity.

In our death, a resurrection;

at the last, a victory,

unrevealed until its season,

something God alone can see.


Today's postlude was composed by Marie Josephine Claire Prestat (1862-1933). She received her formal musical education at the Paris Conservatory, where she studied with French composer César Franck. She was the first woman to win four prizes at the Conservatory, recognizing achievements in harmony, accompaniment, counterpoint and fugue, and organ. For nearly 20 years, Ms. Prestat was Professor of Piano and Organ at the Schola Cantorum in Paris; its alumni include Cole Porter. She wrote for both organ and harmonium, also known as a reed organ.