Service Leaflet for Funeral of George H.W. Bush
  • RevAMG
    Posts: 134
    Some of you might be interested to peruse the service leaflet for the funeral of President George H.W. Bush that will take place today, Wednesday, December 5, 2018, at 11:00 AM EST at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, DC.

    The funeral will be broadcast live on the national broadcast television networks and also will be live streamed on YouTube.
  • MarkB
    Posts: 312
    "Friends" by Michael W. Smith seems very much out of place in the music program.
    Thanked by 1Simon
  • They’re Episcopalians, let’s cut them some slack...
    Lovely funeral otherwise.
  • I viewed portions (portions because I couldn't bear to watch all of it) of this with sadness. Sadness because I can remember when the magnificent high altar was the prime focus the moment one entered the west door. It has a powerful representation of Christ the King in high relief on the reredos behind it. It is no longer used. Instead, a 'sanctuary' of wood has been placed just west of the rood screen. I noticed that the what-would-be an altar had been removed for this service. No doubt it and anything it might represent were not welcome. How the Episcopal church has fallen! How sad. How very sad.

    It was wretched that all those extra singers and an orchestra were placed in front or the old high altar, and we even had a grand piano stuck in front of the cathedral choir of men and boys. A thoroughly secular event gussied up with a few (very few!) hints (remnants?) of Anglican liturgics.
    Thanked by 1CeciliaJulia
  • Carol
    Posts: 544
    I looked at the program and am curious about the phrase "attempt a quarter peal" from the hand bell choir. Is it related to the quarter hour?
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,989
    I assume it's derived from change ringing lexicon:
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • Having watched both the state funeral and the "private" funeral at St. Martin's in Houston, I was struck by how much more both religious and patriotic the private, non-state funeral was. They sang the national anthem, America the Beautiful, the Navy Hymn, the Battle Hymn of the Republic (the arrangement usually sung by military choruses), and other patriotic hymns. I notice that the introit was spoken in silence during the processional. (And at the National Cathedral it was sung, but beforehand.)

    Aside from the problems MJO mentions about the rearrangement of the National Cathedral (which as bad as it is, is still nicer than the Basilica, IMO), another major problem with it is solely from a musical perspective. Placing the singers way back there against the high altar meant the sound was swallowed up. They needed three or four times as many singers, or better placement. Impossible to mike in a church like that (one of the anchors on the news channel I was watching actually called it a "large facility"--ugh).

    The two pieces sung by the "Irish tenor" I will pass over in silence.

    I was wondering if any of our members (MJO?) might have been involved at any level in either funeral? Singing, playing? (Even though we're Catholic.)

  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,854
    Carol - I don't think this was hand bells. The Washington Ringing Society regularly perform on the National Cathedral bells, the tenor weighs 32 cwt.
    — the Old Post Office Tower (OPOT) and Washington National Cathedral. The WRS rings at both towers and several members of the group also get together regularly for change ringing on handbells.
    On the 2nd and 4th Sundays of each month, our service ringing at the Cathedral takes the form of a Quarter Peal attempt; ringing visitors who wish to join us should also contact us in advance.
    I think a quarter peal on five bells would take about an hour, but I am no expert. It is rare to attempt a longer peal, ringers and everybody else in earshot get a bit tired!
    OOPS Grandsire Caters would be nine bells, and my arithmetic on five was wrong as well, perhaps I should just admit that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
    Thanked by 1Carol
  • I 'believe' that a full peal would mean playing through every mathematical permutation of the number of bells, so a quarter peal would be one fourth that number. (I stand to be corrected.) England, of course, is the land of change ringing. When having ringing contests it's not unusual for the peals of one peal of bells to go on for days on end. (A peal of bells is a set of diatonically tuned bells, 12, 18, 24, etc. in number.) National Cathedral (actually, the Cathedral of Ss. Peter and Paul) is unusual in that it has both a peal of bells and a carillon.

    The peal of bells, which is distinctively English, and a carillon differ in that the peal of bell's 'scales' are rung in variable mathematic sequences, the bells being rung in sequence by a team of ringers, one ringer to a bell.

    The carillon is distinctively Dutch or European, and its diatonically tuned bells are played by a single carilloneur or carilloneuse on a large keyboard whose notes are played by the fist. The keys are connected to their respective bells by trackers. The carillon plays actual pieces, such as hymns or popular tunes.

    English and continental bells are different in another way, in that the predominant overtone in English bells is a minor third, whereas the predominant overtone in continental bells is a major third.

    Another aspect of bell culture is that a belfry is a steeple which houses the bells, a campanile is a separate tower which houses the bells. One shouldn't want to confuse the two.

    I was sent by my university to the Schulmeric company many years ago to learn how to play their carillon simulacrum which had been donated by an old dowager to be placed in the library tower. It was a lovely week in Princeton, where we stayed at Westminster Choir College; but it was spoiled by the Schulmeric people's boasting that they had put half a dozen bell founders out of business. Never doubt that the simulacrum industry is a conscious threat to real organ builders and bell founders.
    Thanked by 2Carol ghmus7
  • Liam
    Posts: 3,989
    For a list of active rings of bells for change ringing in the USA/Canada:

    Little old Massachusetts has 8 of them, 7 in the greater Boston area (it's sad that the smaller 4-bell ring formerly at St John's Episcopal Church on the north slope of Beacon Hill behind the New State House is no longer active now that that church has been converted to residential use - the location was acoustically fine for bells to be heard at a distance, and nicely bookended the Hill with the Church of the Advent's larger ring in the flats of Beacon Hill near the Hatch Shell on the Esplanade), and that doesn't include towers with single bells, non-pealing sets of bells (like the five bell steel set moved a few years ago from defunct Holy Trinity Church to Holy Cross Cathedral), carillons and Russian-style bells. (Old Town Cambridge aka the Harvard Square area is delightfully noisy with all manner of bells around midday on Easter Sunday.)
  • a_f_hawkins
    Posts: 1,854
    Apparently WRS rang the bells for 58 minutes. (Here nine bells are involved in the changes, and one stays on the end of each sequence to give musical stability)
  • Carol
    Posts: 544
    Thank you for the edification! I knew I could count on you all to clarify this. So much to learn and I don't even know what I don't know.
    Thanked by 1Simon
  • When I heard that the prelude at the National Cathedral included Paul J. Christiansen's arrangement of My Song in the Night, I was very excited. Those Minnesota Lutherans can really compose.
  • When I heard that the prelude at the National Cathedral included Paul J. Christiansen's arrangement of My Song in the Night, I was very excited.

    One of my favorites as well. I sang it for the first time in a high school festival choir and thought to myself, "If I ever become a choir director with a capable choir, I'm doing this. I did, and I have.
  • Does anyone have the Order of Service for the private funeral in Houston at St. Martin's Episcopal Church? I think the postlude might have been the Widor/Ferris Toccatta, but it's been a long time since I heard it so not positive. (Edit: see next post.)
  • Found the order of service. I was right about the Widor (Ferris not credited).
  • A remarkable factotum about the cathedral that some might not be aware of is that it is built just as the mediaeval cathedrals were, stone upon stone without any steel girding or any kind of structural framework. It stands purely by the interaction of each and every building block. Stone masons worked on site for the hundred years it took to build it. Some were drafted from local impoverished areas and taught stone masonry on site. It is the only church in America that was built strictly with mediaeval techniques.

    Stone masonry is today an all-but-lost craft. The more elaborate architectural elements in today's neo-this and that structures are generally cast from crushed stone or synthetic materials. Columns, piers, architraves, and such of today are generally not load bearing but have within them steel frames. What may appear to be stone walls are mere stone veneer hiding a steel structure.
  • There's a fantastic tour you can take at the National Cathedral that takes you into the ceiling, into the stone workshop, and out onto the walkway around the roof where you can really see the beauty of the construction. I highly recommend it.
    Thanked by 2MarkB CHGiffen
  • "Friends" by Michael W. Smith seems very much out of place in the music program.

    For a brief, very absurd moment, I thought this meant that the theme song from the show Friends was played at this funeral.