Music Notes for Trinity 22

roberts-william-bradleyWe are delighted and honored to welcome The Rev’d Dr. William (Bill) Bradley Roberts to St. Thomas’ this morning to direct the Parish Choir and guests in the singing of his anthem, I saw a stranger yester-e’en.

Dr. Roberts is currently Professor of Church Music at Virginia Theological Seminary and Director of Chapel Music. He received the Bachelor of Arts degree from Houston Baptist University with double majors in Voice and Music Education. He received the degrees Master of Church Music and Doctor of Musical Arts from Southern Seminary (Louisville, Ky.) with an emphasis in Conducting and Voice. His doctoral dissertation is entitled Darius Milhaud, His Life and Choral Works with Biblical Texts: A Conductor’s Study.

Roberts was ordained to the priesthood in May 2016. Prior to his coming to Virginia Seminary, he was an Episcopal church musician for thirty-three years, the most recent position being St. John’s, Lafayette Square, Washington, D.C. Before coming to St. John’s, he held similar posts in Tucson, Arizona; Newport Beach, California; Louisville, Kentucky; and Houston, Texas. He has taught on the music faculties of Indiana University Southeast, Southern Seminary, Mars Hills College and Louisville Presbyterian Seminary.

Roberts is a composer with works published by Augsburg-Fortress, G.I.A., Hope, Paraclete, St. James Music Press, and Selah. His hymns and other music for worship appear in several volumes including the hymnals of the Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod and various collections of Church Publishing Inc.

He has composed on commissions from a number of schools, churches and individuals. Dr. Roberts has had articles published in the Journal of the Association of Anglican Musicians(AAM), the Journal of the Association of Diocesan Liturgy and Music Commissions, (ADLMC) and The Living Church. A book, Music and Vital Congregations: A Practical Guide for Clergy, is available from Church Publishing Inc., New York.

Gothic Records has released a recording of Roberts’ compositions, the first in a series, called “New American Choral Music,” in this case featuring the Choir of St. John’s Episcopal Church, Lafayette Square, Washington, D.C. It is available from the websites of Gothic Records, Amazon, or as a download from iTunes.

Roberts was chair of the Episcopal Church’s Standing Commission on Church Music and a founding board member and chair of the Leadership Program for Musicians. Currently he is a member of the boards of the Anglican Musicians’ Mentoring Project, and Melodious Accord, a non-profit organization that promotes the work of composer Alice Parker. He was on the New Music Commissions Committee for the 2010 national convention of the American Guild of Organists. Active as a leader at conferences and workshops, Roberts has made presentations in the dioceses of Washington,  Dallas, East Carolina, Los Angeles, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Nebraska, Southern Virginia, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia and Western New York.



William Bradley Roberts (b. 1947) I saw a stranger yester-e’en

I saw a stranger yester-e’en.
I put food in the eating place,
Drink in the drinking place,
Music in the list’ning place.

And with the sacred name of the Triune God
He blessed us and our house,
Our cattle, our dear ones.
He blessed our dear ones.

As the lark says in her song:
Often goes the Christ in the stranger’s guise.

The words are from an ancient Gaelic rune. Runes are the letters in a set of related alphabets known as runic alphabets. These were the alphabets used to write the various German languages prior to the adoption of the Latin alphabet and for specialized purposes thereafter. The earliest runic inscriptions date from 150AD. The Characters were generally placed by the Latin alphabet as the cultures that had used runes underwent Christianization, by c. 700 AD in central Europe and 1100 AD in northern Europe.


Giles Brightwell (b. 1970) Tantum ergo

Giles-BrightwellThe Communion motet is a setting of St. Thomas Aquinas’s hymn, Tantum ergo.

It was written originally on a Saturday evening in August 2007 for the choir of St. Mary’s Church, Woodbridge, Suffolk. Influences include Charles-Marie Widor (1844-1937) and Sir George Henschel (1850-1934). This anthem has recently been published by Encore Publications in the UK.



435      Dear Lord and Father of mankind         REPTON

567      Lead us, heavenly Father, Lead us        DULCE CARMEN

120      Around the throne of God                      ABENDS

463      O thou who camest from above              HEREFORD