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By Kisma Jordan, Program Manager of The Cranbrook Project
In the last years of Duke Ellington’s life, he wrote three tremendous works that combined jazz, classical music, choral music, spirituals, gospel, blues, and dance. He called them his “sacred concerts” and performed them in churches and cathedrals worldwide. He said it was the most meaningful music he’d ever written.
“I recognized this as an exceptional opportunity,” Ellington wrote in his 1973 autobiography Music Is My Mistress. “Now, I can say openly what I have been saying to myself on my knees.”
The Sacred Music Concert at Christ Church Cranbrook mirrors Ellington’s intentional expression of spirituality–purposeful praise. And in our glory to God, sacred music offers a universal point of meeting in all its forms. Yet, what makes music holy is not a rigid category nor a fixed pattern of preference. The sole measure is whether the hearts of the musician and listener are in devotion to God, humbly submitted.
In his description of what the ‘sacred concerts’ mean, Duke Ellington echoes this sentiment, reflecting that one of the most complex tasks man faces is honest communication because it requires a level of vulnerability. The open communication that he is attempting through lyric and melody is a candid conversation with the divine. He goes on to remind us, “Every man prays in his own language, and there is no language that God does not understand.”
Sacred music concerts present us, the body of Christ, with the opportunity to offer our best and most vulnerable self to God–together. The corporate dimension of concerts creates an accentuated joy as we magnify God with others, knowing that we are not alone in having our souls satisfied in Him.
Mark your calendar for Friday, April 1 at 7:30 PM for this year’s Sacred Concert at Christ Church Cranbrook featuring music from The Boys Choir of Detroit, the Rackham Choir, the Wayne State choir, Christ Church Cranbrook choir, and many more! The concert is FREE to attend! For more information, contact Kisma Jordan at email@example.com.