2013-09-29 Notes from the Bench

The Choral Music of Michael McCabe

A commentary on this week’s music by Dr. James T. Gerber, Music Associate

The choral music of Michael McCabe (b.1941) is regularly sung by our choirs at All Saints’ and is among the music recorded by our choirs. His compositions are artistically written and he has composed music appropriate for choirs of all ages and abilities. Today, for Day School Sunday, our chamber choir will sing his communion anthem, “Come and Feast”; our choristers will sing his hymn concertino, “All Things Bright and Beautiful,” a work that captures the spirit of the hymn with dance-like interludes and colorful harmonies that convey the meaning of the text.

Michael McCabe will be with us at All Saints’ on February 9, 2014, a special guest of the Choral Festival that will be held here. We are inviting choir members from various diocesan churches to join us at All Saints’ for this festival so they may have the opportunity to meet and work with Michael McCabe, and to sing during evensong, which will include his Evening Service, a setting of the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis.

McCabe studied music at Creighton University where he also held appointments as university organist and choir director. He has studied and performed with notable musicians such as Leo Sowerby, David McK. Williams, Thomas Matthews, and Dale Wood. McCabe has had a diverse professional life: has served numerous churches including Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, has performed internationally, and served our county in the military for twenty years. He was elected to the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) in 1972, with credits that include NBC Television, foreign and domestic recordings, and Music Festivals in Stockholm and Stuttgart. McCabe presently resides in the Omaha area, working as chief, nurse anesthetist at the Omaha Surgical Center as well as continuing his musically related work as an organist, composer, and teacher; he serves as chapel organist at Boys Town, teaches keyboard harmony and improvisation at the St. Cecilia Institute in Omaha, is a board member of the Cathedral Arts Project in Omaha, and is an associate editor of Randall Egan Publications. McCabe is an oblate in the Episcopal Benedictine Order of the Companions of St. Luke.

McCabe believes that “church music … should bring people to the face of God.” This is certainly what we strive for as we worship together each week, and we encounter God in many ways: through Word and Sacrament, our presence to one another, and heavenly music.

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