Saturday, April 28, 2007

Canned Food

It wasn't until somewhat recently that I discovered the difference between brand-name canned goods and generic canned goods. The majority of brand-name cans have slightly rounded bottoms that fit perfectly into the tops of other cans so the cans can stack easily. Most generic cans have rigid edges on top and bottom, and they stack precariously at best.

This morning when I reached for a can of chunk pineapple and a giant can of pumpkin toppled off another can of pumpkin and they both crashed to the floor and somehow slammed into my right ankle, I found myself thinking that it just might be worth the extra 15 cents a can to get those nice stackable cans.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

FavoriteBoy's Recital

I haven't blogged in a whole week.

The problem with not blogging is that there's a sense of needing to play catch-up, and I often don't know where to begin with that.

So I'll just say that FavoriteBoy had his senior recital, and he was wonderful. I'm biased, but not everyone in the audience who clapped him through four separate bows was as biased as I am, so I think I can safely say his recital was widely considered a success. He played a Bach English Suite, Beethoven's 'Les Adieux' Sonata, and Brahms' Klavierstucke Op. 76. He was wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.

But the sad news is that the recording equipment in the recital hall was apparently not working, and all we have to show for the brilliant recital is a CD with precise minutes and seconds of... silence.

The in-laws have come and gone, and they too enjoyed the recital very much. They said only nice things about the apartment, my painting jobs, and my cooking.

All in all it's been a good week since I last wrote.

And nowadays, FavoriteBoy and I spend evenings relaxing and spending time together... imagine that!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Caramel Bliss

I awoke with a stiff neck and a dreadful headache. The headache was only exacerbated by an early-morning piano student who, after four months of lessons, still can't seem to find middle C. Feeling miserable and slightly cranky, I headed to the store to pick up some groceries. I couldn't help thinking that I would - just incidentally - be passing right by Starbucks, and a tall caramel macchiato could certainly help alleviate my headache. (Everyone knows a principal ingredient in many pain relief medications is caffeine!) I determined that I would pull into the Starbucks lot and just check for parking. There's never parking at Starbucks, so most likely my craving would have to go unattended. But there was one parking space! It was directly in front of the door. It was meant for me! The headache, the perfect parking space, the gift card in my purse, and the caramel macchiato just yards away from my grasp... the stars were aligned. It was meant to be.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

FavoriteBoy's Cookie Recipe

Tonight I made a batch of chocolate chip cookies for FavoriteBoy while he practiced Brahms at the piano. But I didn't just make the Toll House recipe or some other average-joe variety of chocolate chip cookie... tonight I made a special recipe. A recipe my own dear husband made up himself when he was just a kid. His mom sent it to us, tucked into a cookbook of family recipes Nathan compiled as a school project when he was young. Written in a little boy's handwriting, it calls for ingredients like "flower" and it is the cutest recipe I've ever seen. My own cutesy-pootsy, smoochy-poochy, baby-poo-poo wrote this recipe when he was little.

Okay, I'm done.

(Also, the cookies taste really good.)

A Growing Family

There are some things you just shouldn't spring on people as a total surprise. For example, if you've recently gotten married and your in-laws are coming to visit for your husband's senior recital, you might not want to wait until they arrive to let them know that there's been a new addition to the family since they saw you last.

I know that there are good ways and not-so-good ways of breaking important news to people. That's why I'm writing this blog post now. Because FavoriteBoy's parents sometimes read this blog, and after reading this post, the news of our expanding family won't be such a shock when they come visit.

Yes, it's true: after just a few months of happy marriage, we wanted something more. Another little life with whom to share our happy home. And so it was that about a month ago, I visited...

...the pet store.

Please welcome Poseidon, our handsome beta fish.

Hypothetical Addendum

If yesterday you were thinking you spent all morning and afternoon ruining your apartment, maybe your husband will get home from work early. Maybe before you have a chance to say anything, he might happily exclaim, "Wow, everything looks great!" Maybe then your dad might read your blog post and call to find out if he could buy you another can of paint as an early birthday present. Maybe you'll send your dad pictures of the current new paint to get his opinion, and maybe he'll think it looks nice. Maybe it'll start to grow on you, too. Maybe it just wasn't what you were expecting, but maybe it could still be okay.

Hypothetically, the world might start to look a little brighter.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


If you're ever planning to re-paint the kitchen cabinets and the bathroom doorframes and windowframes in your apartment, you should be careful what colors of paint you buy. You might look at the colors on the little paper cards and think that you've found the perfect blue for the kitchen cabinets and the perfect heather grey-blue for the bathroom trim - which you might think matches your bathroom towels perfectly. But then you might be told by a pushy salesperson at Home Depot that you ought to know that you will need primer for this specific paint job. You might be insecure about your home-improvement knowledge and abilities and listen to the salesperson. You might buy a $26 can of primer you might later realize you don't need. You might get home and sand and paint one set of cabinets, only to realize that the blue you chose isn't what it looked like in the store at all. It's all wrong for a kitchen. It might be so dark the only place it belongs is in a funeral parlor. You might think you'll feel better if you paint the bathroom trim, because surely that color will be perfect. But you might find that what looked like a lovely grey-blue in the store looks like a purple-ish blueberry under your bathroom lights. You might wish you could start all over again with better colors, but you might have no money. You might wish your husband had selected the paint instead of you, but your husband might be too busy. You might get really depressed, because maybe your in-laws are coming to visit in a few days and they might realize that their dear eldest son has married a girl with no taste in interior decorating whatsoever, and furthermore, that son and daughter-in-law reside together in a wretched shack.

Hypothetically, I mean.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Site Feed: Sarah Marie Relents

This morning I finally gave in to the urges of the many blog readers requesting that I enable site feed.

My long-standing objection to site feed has been based upon my desire to be able to edit previous blog posts for typos inconspicuously - without having an old post re-appear in feed readers like Google Reader. Unfortunately, by default Blogger sorts items in feed by updated date rather than published date.

I wouldn't have enabled site feed if not for Nate, a friend of Nathan's and mine (and boyfriend of Kate) who saved the day by solving the problem for me. Nate is a computer genius. He spent a portion of the morning fiddling with html options, and in the end he produced a way to override the Blogger defaults and have items sorted only by date published.

For his good deed I praised him thoroughly for conquering Blogger and promised to buy him pizza every night for a week.

Dear readers, you may now use whatever method you prefer to subscribe to my site feed. I hope you will still drop by in person from time to time and comment frequently.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

An English Tea Party

This afternoon I hosted a bridal shower for my dear friend Cara. Since Cara is from Great Britain, I decided on an English Tea Party theme. Here are a few pictures of the results of my efforts:

The invitations I made. I put dark purple cardstock onto a blank cream-colored note card and then put the purple bridal paper over that and vellum on top over all. I used cute purple fasteners to attach all the layers together and wrote on the vellum.

The table with all the goodies.
I made very delicate lemon cookies and put a lemon glaze over them. Yummy!
Scones, which were served with plum jam and lightly whipped cream (in place of clotted cream, which seems very complicated to make!)
Cucumber sandwiches. We had egg salad sandwiches, too.
Strawberries filled with whipped cream.
Such a pretty teacup...

The end.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

FavoriteBoy vs. Fido

FavoriteBoy is allergic to dogs and cats, so naturally before agreeing to marry him I had to weigh the pros and cons of having a husband vs. having a dog.

A dog would shed hair all over my apartment;
A husband would leave clippings from his sideburns all over the bathroom sink.

A dog would need to be fed once or twice a day;
A husband would expect three meals a day with snacks in between and dessert after dinner.

A dog would gratefully eat whatever generic dog food or meat scraps I set before him;
A husband who happened to be a picky eater would not be so easy to please.

A dog would help me get exercise when I took him for a daily walk;
A husband who was a picky eater would have the opposite effect on my figure by wanting pizza at least once a week.

A dog might need to be trained;
You can't teach a husband many new tricks.

A dog would obey me mindlessly;
A husband would most likely not.

A dog would be a good listener;
A husband would be a good conversationalist.

A dog would alert me to dangerous intruders;
A husband could install better locks for me ahead of time.

A dog would be a companion;
A husband would be a friend.

A dog would lick my face;
A husband would kiss me in a less messy and more controlled fashion.

A dog would snore and drool;
I could hope for a husband that would sleep with more civility.

A dog would poop on the floor if not let out frequently enough;
A husband would not.

I think it was this last one that tipped the scales in Nathan's favor. So I got married.

(But then again, a dog wouldn't keep leaving the toilet seat up, either.)

My New Career

So funny, right?

It brings me to a favorite quote of Melodee's I've been wanting to share:

"My second favorite household chore is ironing. My first being hitting my head on the top bunk bed until I faint." - Erma Bombeck

Friday, April 13, 2007

Bad Grammar Makes Me [Sic]

This is the most original, clever, and humorous t-shirt I've seen in a long time.

(Speaking of grammar, please note my use of the Oxford comma in the above sentence. I hold firmly to my belief that it is not optional or obsolete, regardless of what certain writing organizations and associations may have to say about the matter.)

Thursday, April 12, 2007

A Perfect Evening

I arrived home from teaching group lessons in Gloucester around 6 this evening. I was about to begin preparing dinner when FavoriteBoy said, "Let me take you out to dinner." Ever the wet blanket, I asked, "Can we afford it?" We could! Nathan had been given an unexpected check by a choir he sometimes accompanies.

Nathan had chicken fingers and fries, and I had some tasty vegetable potstickers and a Long Island iced tea... mmm!

Arriving home, I felt a bit sleepy, so I wrapped myself in a comforter and napped on the couch from about 8:45 until 10:45 while FavoriteBoy practiced.

When he finished practicing he came over and woke me up... just in time to get ready for bed!

What a perfect evening.

Ritard: Becoming Gradually Slower

When dynamics and musical expression markings begin appearing in my students' music, I know that it's only a matter of time until the words ritardando or ritard are introduced, and I brace myself for giving the explanation. "Ritard? Retard?" each student invariably giggles, as I try to be polite and still draw the correlation: "Well, yes, it is similar to the slang term 'retard.' Both words come from the same root word in Latin, 'retardāre,' which means to delay or hold back or slow down. A 'retarded' person's brain may work more slowly than yours - his development may be held back. And in music, we use the word ritard to mean a slowing or holding back of the tempo." But the student often hasn't heard a word I've said - he or she is still giggling about the similarity to the word 'retard.'

Yesterday was different. Alex is finishing up the song Long, Long Ago, and yesterday we got started on Allegro. I pointed out the markings in the piece that were new to him: dolce (one of my favorites) and then, inevitably, ritard. As I pronounced the word for him and defined it, there were no giggles. With a serious, thoughtful expression, he asked candidly, "So if a person is 'retarded,' does that mean they're slowing down?"

This time I was the one supressing the giggles.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Sarah Marie in Symphony Hall

This afternoon I was watching a choral video on YouTube, and I noticed an 'All-State' video link over on the right side of the screen. I looked more closely, and, hey, wait... that little violinist in the corner is... me! Remember this post and this post? (Okay, you probably don't, but I do.) Well, someone posted a video of that All-State performance on YouTube. A comment by the poster reads: "the violinist made so many people cry," which is a very sweet sentiment.

The piece is The Gartan Mother's Lullaby... isn't it pretty? I remember that this concert took place during the time I was having a lot of pain and numbness in my arm while preparing for my senior recital, and I had to consider postponing my recital and not playing in the All-State concert. While I may not have been at my best, I'm glad I played... who knows if I'll ever get to play in Symphony Hall again!

Ew, I played out of tune! But considering that 1) my arm was numb and in pain at the time and 2) I was essentially sight-reading, hopefully you'll forgive that. But doesn't my slow, gross vibrato on the last note just make you want to break my left arm? (Or is it just me?)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Why Diction Matters

Yes, it's me, your friendly neighborhood YouTube addict for all things music-related.

This one was brought to my attention by FavoriteBoy's dad - it's positively hysterical.

It reminds me of singing Ride On, King Jesus with the Gordon College Choir three years ago. I remember a particular rehearsal in which I had a gruesome realization of just how bad our diction was - the phrase "King Jesus rides a milk white horse" was coming across as "King Jesus rides a milk white whore," as we painfully neglected to end the word "horse" with the proper consonant. And that was just wrong on so many levels that I finally got up the gumption to raise my hand and announce it, which was met with much laughter from the choir... and the director!

For those interested, the tune in the video is Westminster Abbey (the hymn 'Christ is made the sure foundation' is often sung to this tune). The words this choir is actually singing are below:

Blessèd city, heavenly Salem,
Vision dear of peace and love,
Who of living stones upbuilded,
Art the joy of heaven above,
And, with angel cohorts circled,
As a bride to earth dost move!

From celestial realms descending,
Bridal glory round her shed,
To his presence, decked with jewels,
By her Lord shall she be led;
All her streets and all her bulwarks
Of pure gold are fashionèd.

Joshua Bell Ignored!

My cousin Allegra emailed me this link recently. The news has certainly hit the blogosphere - check out Melodee's post here, stop by Anyssa's blog for her thoughts, and read Jeremy Denk for a good laugh. For a response to the situation from a subway busker, go read Saw Lady's perspective.

It is really astonishing to me that someone as renowned as Joshua Bell could go almost entirely unnoticed in this situation. JB is a person who has made himself known not only on the concert stage but also through involvement in film (he recorded the soundtrack for The Red Violin) and cross-over from the classical realm into fiddling with Edgar Meyer - and he was even chosen in 2000 as one of People Magazine's 'Most Beautiful People.' So while it's certainly culturally alarming that he wasn't recognized for his outstanding playing, it's also surprising he wasn't at least noticed for that lovely, symmetrical face that has so often moved in circles outside of the classical world.

I agree with Saw Lady's post; as a former busker myself (for four or five years I played regularly at crowded street fairs in my home town during tourist events) I can tell you that unless you're about five years old and super-cute, it's eye contact and other audience connection that will bring in the bucks. I generally earned more revenue than Josh Bell did according to the article... too bad I can't play as well as he can.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Good Friday

And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?" which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" And some of the bystanders hearing it said, "Behold, he is calling Elijah." And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, "Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down." And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, "Truly this man was the Son of God!"
- Mark 15:33-39

Surely he has borne our griefs
and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned every one to his own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
- Isaiah 53:4-6

O sacred Head, now wounded, with grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded with thorns, Thine only crown;
O sacred Head, what glory, what bliss till now was Thine!
Yet, though despised and gory, I joy to call Thee mine.

What Thou, my Lord, hast suffered, was all for sinners’ gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression, but Thine the deadly pain.
Lo, here I fall, my Savior! ’Tis I deserve Thy place;
Look on me with Thy favor, vouchsafe to me Thy grace.

What language shall I borrow to thank Thee, dearest friend,
For this Thy dying sorrow, Thy pity without end?
O make me Thine forever, and should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never outlive my love to Thee.
- O Haupt voll Blut und Wund­en, words attrib. Bernard of Clairvaux

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Thoughts on Holy Week

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another."

It's Holy Week, and FavoriteBoy has been in charge of planning the services for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter. Essentially, he's been planning everything except the sermon. Service order, hymns, responsorial readings, Scripture readings, special music... it's all his job this year. And since church music is what he loves to do, he doesn't do it halfway. He's been carefully choosing each aspect of each service, and he's also been writing brass parts for all the hymns for our Easter Sunday service. He's been so busy planning these services that I'm not sure he remembers what I look like! He sits in front of his computer humming away as he puts all his compositional ideas into Finale, periodically jumping up and running to the piano to try out an idea. At all the appointed mealtime hours I put food in front of him and then take away his plate when he's finished. But the result of all his hard work is coming to fruition - tonight's Maundy Thursday service was beautiful and meaningful, and I know he's planned wonderful services for Good Friday and Easter as well.

Tonight's service began with this:

O God the Father, Creator of Heaven and earth, have mercy on us.
O God the Son, redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
O God the Holy Ghost, Sanctifier of the faithful, have mercy on us.
O holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
Bless the Lord who forgives all our sins!
His mercy endures forever.

The sermon was on Judas's betrayal of Jesus.

Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, "Surely not I, Rabbi?" Jesus answered, "Yes, it is you."

Our pastor brought up an interesting point I had never before considered concerning why Judas is a pivotal part of the Passion of the Christ, and why the story could not have been completed in some other way. Judas holds the key to one of three aspects of the suffering of Christ. The suffering of Christ on the cross was not only physical and spiritual, but also relational. He was betrayed by Judas, denied by his own disciples, and forsaken by His own Father. The humanity of Christ suffered under this, as there is perhaps nothing so emotionally painful to humans as betrayal. Our pastor told a story of a man who suffered many cruelties under the Nazi regime of Germany for his opposition to Hitler. This man survived time in a concentration camp only to return home and commit suicide. The horrors of Naziism could not destroy his strength and determination of spirit, but when he returned home he discovered what he could not endure: that his own son had been his betrayer, had handed him over to the Nazis.

Having spent a good part of my childhood in non-traditional churches (through no fault of my parents - we did a great deal of church-hopping due to my father's allergies), I now believe that I missed out on a lot through not belonging to a church that celebrated many important days in the church calendar. Most notable among those are the days of Holy Week. For those evangelicals, Non-Denom's, and non-religious who read my blog, Holy Week is the week preceding Easter Sunday. It is the culmination of Lent, a time to remember the institution of the Eucharist or Communion, the New Commandment Jesus gave his disciples at that time, Judas's betrayal, and ultimately the suffering and death of Christ.

It is fitting that we remember these things before we get to celebrate His resurrection on Easter. Unfortunately, many evangelical churches tend to look on 'Holy Week' and other traditions with extreme suspicion as something 'Catholic' - practically a bad word if you are a Baptist! And while perhaps some evangelical churches will hold a Good Friday service, it would certainly be uncommon to find a Maundy Thursday or Holy Saturday service.

I sometimes think that many evangelical churches risk being guilty of seeking or preaching Dietrich Bonhoeffer's "cheap grace" through the conspicuous absense Lent and Holy Week. Here is what Bonhoeffer writes in The Cost of Discipleship:

"Let the Christian rest content with his worldliness and with this renunciation of any higher standard than the world. He is living for the sake of the world rather than for the sake of grace. Let him be comforted and rest assured in his possession of this grace - for grace alone does everything. Instead of following Christ, let the Christian enjoy the consolations of his grace!

That is what we mean by cheap grace, the grace which amounts to the justification of sin without the justification of the repentant sinner who departs from sin and from whom sin departs. Cheap grace is not the kind of forgiveness of sin which frees us from the toils of sin. Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves.

Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.

Costly grace, on the other hand, is the treasure hidden in the field; for the sake of it a man will gladly go and sell all that he has. It is the pearl of great price to buy which the merchant will sell all his goods. It is the kingly rule of Christ, for whose sake a man will pluck out the eye which causes him to stumble, it is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves his nets and follows him.

Costly grace is the gospel which must be sought again and again, the gift which must the asked for, the door at which a man must knock.

Such grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man his life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: “ye were bought at a price, and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us.

Costly grace is the Incarnation of God."

When a church fails to set aside time to remember the events of the days preceding the Resurrection, that church may fail to take seriously the gravity of sin. Lent and the observation of Holy Week call us to do more than celebrate the joy of Palm Sunday and Easter. It calls us to do something much harder: to focus on the betrayal, the suffering, and the humiliation of Christ and the part which each one of us ultimately plays in His crucifixion. Unpleasant? Distasteful? Certainly. But Christ's words to Judas: "Yes, it is you" ought to make each one of us sick to our stomachs with the realization that just as Christ loved Judas despite knowing exactly who he was and what he would do, so too He loved us enough to be pierced for our transgressions.

We cannot participate in a true celebration of the Resurrection and eternal life without the essential backdrop of the death that was Christ's and should have been ours were it not for the "vast, unmeasured, boundless" love of Jesus. Through Holy Week, we try to walk the path that Christ trod, from His triumphant entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday (or Passion Sunday) to the agonizing journey to the cross that followed. We remember His death before we celebrate His Resurrection. A church that omits the events of Holy Week is not unlike a family that attends church only on Christmas and Easter. It's like a literature class that reads Dante's Paradiso without first journeying through the Inferno and Purgatorio. It is only in walking through the darkness of Holy Week and Good Friday, only in remembering the magnitude of sin and the death awaiting each of us that we can truly celebrate the joy of the Ressurection on Sunday morning.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Cosmic Mix-Up

Dear God,

Today is the 4th of April. Not the 4th of January, not the 4th of February, not even the 4th of March. The 4th of April. So I'm pretty sure it really shouldn't be snowing outside right now. You're smart, God - even smarter than Google - so I bet You know this weather just isn't right. I figure this must be some kind of cosmic mix-up, and I trust You to remedy it as soon as possible. Thank you very much.

Sarah Marie

Monday, April 2, 2007

Everlasting Light and the St. Olaf Choir

Yesterday's post on church and church choir reminded me of a beautiful piece we sang last Fall that I wanted to share with you all. It's probably the most wonderful piece we've ever done in our church choir: Our Father by Alexander Gretchaninov (1864-1956). The entire piece is beautiful, but the best part is at the end (the altos have an exquisite suspension on the word 'Lord' after 'Holy, Holy, Holy' which will probably make you cry):

Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord, God of Hosts.
Come to us, O Lord, in splendor bright,
Fill our hearts with everlasting light.

You must hear this beautiful piece. You can buy it on iTunes for $0.99 sung by the St. Olaf Choir.

Speaking of the St. Olaf Choir, back in January FavoriteBoy and I got to see them in concert at the Sanders Theatre at Harvard. We took our friends Ellen and Dave (both choir nerds like we are) and we all loved the concert. What a fantastic choir. They sang Bach’s Der Geist Hilft, the Randall Thompson Alleluia, the Christiansen Praise to the Lord, some Eric Whitacre, the Vaughan-Williams Serenade to Music, and some wonderful spirituals including This Little Light of Mine, and Hark, I Hear the Harps Eternal. They closed with the Christiansen Beautiful Savior. A small chamber orchestra from St. Olaf (which was, not surprisingly, a fantastic group of musicians) was on tour with the choir as well, so works like the Bach were performed with instruments. It was a wonderful program.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Palm Sunday

Happy April! FavoriteBoy and I began this month with a lovely morning at church enjoying the beautiful and inspiring arrangements of Ellacombe ('Hosanna Loud Hosanna') and St. Theodulph ('All Glory Laud and Honor') he wrote for organ, trombone, and horn. It was a wonderful Palm Sunday service.

In the church choir, we sang an arrangement of 'When I Survey the Wondrous Cross' set to the inferior (in my opinion) Lowell Mason tune, but that's okay, because our final 'Amen' was loud and beautiful. The arrangement modulated between every single verse and in the middle of the third verse ('Did e'er such love and sorrow meet'), which I thought was cheesy but the congregation thought was sublime. We probably saved a few souls with the final modulation - which just goes to show that not everyone shares my sophisticated musical tastes.

In any case, I prefer the Rockingham tune for that hymn, which is far prettier.

I should have mentioned this last week, but last Sunday Nathan put together a group of friends to sing in place of the usual church choir. We sang "I got a robe up in-a that kingdom ain'-a that good news" and got lots of 'Amens' from our dignified Congregational congregation, so I'd say it was a big hit.