Yesterday morning, when you shared the difference between pursuing perfection and pursuing excellence, is a beautiful example of what I tell many of my friends about my time in choir. Not only do we commune as a group, and make music, and become better musicians, but you also show me how to be a better teacher. This perfection/excellence lesson is one I continue to learn, and which I will try to teach my students as well as you teach us.
So grateful for YOU,
DavidDavid Plattvia email
There are truly no words to express the feeling I experienced this morning during the 9am offertory anthem [Dan Forrest, The Music of Living]. So I came back for more at the 11:15 service. The beauty of the music in the glorious voices and your embodied directing was stunning. I don’t want to say goodbye so I will just say farewell and thank you, thank you, thank you for blessing us with your gifts all of these years. I will cherish this always. Go and be well. With so much love and gratitude.Jen Hayesvia Facebook
I started to write a very long letter of how much singing in both choirs has meant to me, but the bottom line is that it has been Great! Such an important part of my life. I am so fortunate to have had this experience with you as our ASC choirmaster.
It’s been a great 20 years of growth for me both as a musician and equally in the spirituality you brought to the music we sing.
I love the people in both choirs and in some ways your leaving feels like it is bringing us all so close together in the loss of your leadership our hearts become entwined. I will miss you so deeply, but I will be looking at jameswalkermusic.com to keep up with your new life.
With so much love, thankfulness and joy!
TeresaTeresa Dvoracekvia email
Thank you, James, for a sublime concert under your masterful leadership and conducting. You are borne on a tidal wave of admiration and gratitude from All the Saints for your years of educating and transporting us through various kinds of music. You are a seal upon our hearts.Nancy Mackyvia email
You’re the best and I miss you and the magnificent music I always enjoyed at ASC. Happy trails and fond wishes.Jim Wattersonvia Facebook
It was indeed a wonderful feeling yesterday getting back in touch with James Walker. Congratulations on your awesome finale at All Saints! Thank you for being my organ instructor in college back thirty some years ago. To this day, I still remember and use those seven rhythm technique you taught me in my practice. Hope you knew that you had etched a permanent imprint in my life with your mellow intensity. Hollin Liu (Ying)Hollin Liuvia Facebook
OK, here is my review. What an amazing concert. How a church choir with only a sprinkling of professional voices (and they are damn fine) can make that sound is a miracle. And they actually watched James …
The Britten Rejoice in the Lamb is a tricky piece, but no problem for the forces of the All Saints Canterbury Choir, ably assisted by Organist Weicheng Zhao. Britten is, in my uninformed view, the Bach of the 20th century (taking the musical language of his time to final sublime heights) and the choir navigated the tricky meters and dynamic change with aplomb. The Bernstein Chichester Psalms is one of my favorite 20th century choral works, again devilishly difficult in meter, dynamics and Hebrew text (at least for non-High Holy Days choirs). But so rewarding; the Coventry Choir sang it with both power and delicacy and the arrangement for organ, harp and percussion worked beautifully.
The second half of the concert were more pieces especially important to James, leading off with Beethoven’s channeling of his hero, Handel, in the Hallelujah from Christ on the Mount of Olives (sung in English). Major vocal chops from the now combined choirs but also under intense control — more of that James Walker mystical orb power stuff. The next piece, Lass dich nur nichts nicht dauren by Brahms was maybe my personal favorite. Sung well in German, it was performed with amazing sensitivity and nearly reduced me to tears. Brahms does that, and James understood perfectly the calm beauty of the piece.
The last three pieces were very different but all amazingly effective. A Kenyan folk song, Wana Baraka, arranged by Southern California’s Shawn Kirchner, was a rousing crowd pleaser sung in the original language and which brought the crowd to its feet. Following a wonderful offbeat tribute by choir member Gloria Pitzer, the concert ended with two pieces sung together, Rene Clausen’s setting of Set Me As a Seal Upon Your Heart and Gwyneth Walker’s setting of Love Unfolding, to a text by Dame Julian of Norwich. The final line: “Love everlasting, without beginning, with out end. Amen!” Indeed.David Burhennvia Facebook
A love letter to you dear James. Yesterday was transcendent. A culmination of all the years of total commitment and love. Thank you for leaving a legacy of the spirit…now it’s time to take flight and share your gifts with the world. We love you and thank you.Joanne DiVitovia Facebook