JANUARY 20, 2021
Paul John Stanbery:
Nations Shall Come
(A Cantata for Christmas/Epiphany)
The pdf is for viewing only. Please contact the composer for further use.
There are no program notes. The message is in the text and the music. Let it speak to your heart. –Paul John Stanbery
The text is taken from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem “The Three Kings” and from Isaiah 60:1-5. It was commissioned by and is scheduled to be performed by the Butler Philharmonic Chorus. In the meantime you can hear a MIDI version of the music at the above first link and follow the score on the second link.
A STATEMENT OF FAITH:
EVER FEEL LIKE A LEPER?
Jesus healed a leper who prostrated himself before him.
For biblical Jews, leprosy was especially frightening.
According to Leviticus the leper was expelled from the community, compelled to shout “Unclean, unclean!” to warn others away from him.
The social ostracization was probably more severe than any physical suffering prompted by the disease—especially at a time when one depended so intimately on the support of others in order to survive.
The Grinch was treated like a leper.
And speaking for all cancer patients, that’s often how we feel.
Like the Grinch, we’re forced to live in isolation, and in pain. That pain is both physical and emotional, just as much as a “green, hairy cave dweller”.
This past year, we’ve all experienced leprosy in the form of a pandemic. It kills, and the very therapy necessary in the form of a hug, can cause death.
Back to leprosy.
Without denying for a moment this more “external” reading, I would like to follow the Church Fathers in proposing another sort of interpretation, this one more “interior.”
What in you has become leprous?
What in you is being called back to intimacy with Christ?
Notice the dynamics of the cure in this story.
The leprous man comes to Jesus and prostrates himself and asks to be healed. There is no example of healing in the New Testament that does not involve some sort of synergy between Jesus and the one to be cured.
That in you which needs healing must come and prostrate itself before Christ and ask to be received. And of course he wants to heal. That is why he has come.
As in all injuries of the heart and mind, “cause” Christ to come in.
Open up to him, give Christ a hug (He’s lonely for us too-so much so that He died for us), all in the hope of welcoming us into His arms.
No vaccinations needed here. No “government wide effort”, or Warp Speed dynamics!
A simple hug cures it all.
And make it one if those squishy hugs, full of heat and warmth and aroma.
(Oops. Be right back!)
“Oh, Pat!”……………..Patty Poo!……..get in here!
Papa Grinch needs you.
Conductor and composer Paul John Stanbery served as Music Director of the Hamilton Fairfield Symphony, Ohio Mozart Festival, Great Miami Youth Symphony and has been Associate Conductor of the Lima Symphony in Ohio. Guest appearances have included the Western Piedmont Symphony, Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, The University of Cincinnati and the Shreveport Symphony Orchestra. He is a regular guest with the Miami University Symphony Orchestra. A native of Toledo, Ohio, Mr. Stanbery studied at Bowling Green State University and the University of Cincinnati. His mentors and teachers included conducting studies with Emil Raab, Ivan Trusler, Robert Porco and John Leman. He studied composition with Wallace DePue and H. Owen Reed. He was also the founder and conductor of the Blue Ash-Montgomery Symphony, as well as the Clermont Philharmonic Orchestra. In November of 2005, Mr. Stanbery won the prestigious Post-Corbett Award (Performing Artist Division). Given every other year, the Post-Corbett Award is the equivalent of a Cincinnati-regional Pulitzer Prize, recognizing outstanding achievement in the arts. Mr. Stanbery is the first conductor so honored who was not associated with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. His Second Symphony “Foundations” was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in music for 2012. It received its premiere in October, 2012 by the Hamilton-Fairfield Symphony Orchestra, under the baton of the composer to a wildly enthusiastic audience. Repeat performances are planned by several orchestras.