And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” Luke 2:13-14

On Palm Sunday, March 25, the Covenant Sanctuary Choir, along with members of the Peninsula Cantare, will present John Rutter’s Gloria. The work will be sung in its original Latin, and the congregation will have a copy of the Latin text with the English translation alongside. The Choir will be accompanied by organ, brass, and timpani.

John Rutter grew up in the tradition of Anglican church music. At Highgate School, he was a chorister already and took part in the first recording of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem, conducted by the composer in 1963.  Rutter was also a choir member at Clare College, Cambridge, where he studied, and he published his first compositions at age 18.

Composed in 1974, Gloria was Rutter’s first commission from the U.S., a commission of Mel Olson, who conducted choirs in Omaha, Nebraska, for his choir, The Voices of Mel Olson. The Gloria uses the “Gloria in excelsis” portion of the Catholic mass, and the text follows verbatim the Book of Common Prayer text of Luke 2, opening with the familiar scripture from Luke 2, then going on to exclaim praises and prayers to the Trinity.

Gloria is one of Rutter’s earliest substantial choral works and has become a favorite of choral organizations around the world, noted for its highly charged rhythms and striking harmonies. You may recall the Sanctuary Choir’s presentation of portions of Rutter’s Requiem two years ago during the Lenten season.

We invite you to be present to share in the worship and praise of Almighty God through this beautiful and moving choral work.

Donald E. Dillard