Beloved Friends-

I am delighted to share that from Friday June 23 through Friday July 15, I am turning this blog spot over to our Director of Music and the Arts, Chelsie Cree to share a little bit about the growing “soundtrack” and music ministry at Trinity. As we head into these summer months and afford the choir and section leaders a well-deserved time of sabbath, I thought this might be a good time to invite Chelsie into this space to share a little bit about this vibrant ministry. Please welcome our much beloved Chelsie Cree…

May you never forget that you are loved,


Hello Friends,

Neo-medievalism, a term made popular by Umberto Eco, refers to the modern fascination with medieval themes, stories, philosophy, and sounds. This fascination can be seen in many places in popular culture- video games, tabletop and role-playing games, TV shows, literature, and music. Composer Andrew Smith found himself among the musicians of this movement without ever setting out to be a part of it. It is a name placed on him, rather than a self-imposed poise of his music. For him, his work simply aims to evoke the pathway to God, and to resurrect the musical experience Gregorian chant does so well, into the 21st century. 

Here I was, again, in a lovely classroom at Nashotah House Theological Seminary. The sun is hiding behind clouds and natural light is pouring in from the expansive windows on each side. In front of us the largest window of all, decorated with a light wooden cross in the center. Andrew Smith stood behind a small podium which held his laptop connected to the surround sound speakers perched in the corners of the room.  

This is a lecture I had long been looking forward to- it was the selling point to spending a week at Nashotah House in the first place. The title read “Neo-medievalism: marrying tradition and trend in the 21st Century.” We listened together to some of his pieces, and he shared with the group some of his inspirations, and some colleagues he is consistently inspired by. I had heard this type of music before. As a lifetime student of music, there were many music history classes where this music was performed and played. But this time, it was different. I had new interests and reasons for taking the time to experience this type of music. Before, I was a student yearning to understand the musical timeline and sonic history of western culture. Now, I am a director of music at a sacred place, charged with choosing music best suited for opening the pathway to our source of divine Love. As the Trinity community knows, this pathway can be cleared in many unique styles of music, and this one was a new direction to be explored. 

What I was most surprised by was his use of specific dissonances, echoed in many of his pieces. Gregorian chant, of which he was also inspired, stayed away from dissonance as a rule. He explained hearing this dissonance in Greig’s Fire Salmer at 1:28, was a turning point in his composition career. To me, it seemed to serve as a muse, and destination, for his work of marrying tradition and trend. It sounded old, ancient, and piercingly new. His Ave Maria, at 1:37, is an excellent example of the impact of this piece in his work. His Flos Regalis expands this momentary dissonance, and churns through a complex harmonic flow throughout this short piece.  

Andrew Smith’s style of marrying tradition and trend in the 21st century and the immaculate work of the recording groups, like New York Polyphony, are scintillating aural experiences. Neo-medievalism works to inspire an appetite for the extensive soundscape that pushes the boundaries of the western sacred music palette.

You are loved,


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