2015-05-17 Notes from the Bench

“God is Gone Up” by Michael McCabe

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

 

On this final Sunday of the Easter season, we commemorate the Ascension of the Lord, the liturgical feast is traditionally observed on the Thursday after the sixth Sunday of Easter, the fortieth day of the Easter season. The choral anthem for today, “God is Gone Up” is particularly appropriate for the observance of the Ascension. The text begins by quoting Psalm 47:5-6, the appointed Psalm for Ascension Day. There is a reference to the Lord’s Ascension followed by a prayer beseeching Jesus’ gift of the Holy Spirit to us as promised in the Gospel of John.

The choral music of Michael McCabe (b.1941) is regularly sung by our choirs at All Saints’, has recorded by our choirs, and is among our favorite sacred choral works. His compositions are artistically written and he has composed music appropriate for choirs of all ages and abilities.

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.

 

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 McKinley 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.

 

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