The following are musical selections that TCC parishioners have identified as beautiful:
The Camerata Singers of Middlesex Middle School in Darien, CT offer a beautiful rendition of a song that has great sentimental value to my wife and me. Angela and her father danced together to Louis Armstrong singing, “What a Wonderful World,” at our wedding celebration on July 26, 2003. Kim Sadler, a TCC member and the Director of the Camerata Singers, shared this recording as “special music” during our Sunday service on July 19, 2020. It fit perfectly with our theme of becoming the type of people who are capable of recognizing the “holy ground” upon which we live.
What Kim didn’t know is that my father-in-law passed away early the previous Friday morning. These days have been difficult for us, but the song struck us powerfully as an unplanned and serendipitous tribute to a man whose place in our hearts and in the hearts of our children will forever live. Later on the 19th, while visiting my mother-in-law, I saw the pictures of that dance in a frame on the wall. I saw the joy in both of their eyes and the love that’s made his loss such a sorrow. Whether celebrating his love or mourning his loss, I am reminded by him that life is sacred. His presence has made the ground that Angela and I share all the more holy. Many thanks to Kim and her choir for the beautiful song and its special reminder. — Tim Hare
This video of the well-known song written by the late Leonard Cohen was shared by my daughter on Facebook in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. I think it simply shows a beautiful moment in this time of separation. The performers are students from Roedean School, an all-girls school in Johannesburg, South Africa — Michelle Feller
Although perhaps best known as the performer of the 1988 Grammy Award-winning novelty song “Don’t Worry – Be Happy,” Bobby McFerrin is actually a highly acclaimed jazz and classical musical vocalist. In this recording with Minnesota’s St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, for whom he served as its “creative chair” from 1994-99, his voice amazingly mimics the soulful sound of the cello – the instrument for which Tchaikovsky originally intended the piece to be performed. When I first heard this some 25 years ago, my initial reaction was that it was the sound of angels singing, and a quarter-century later, its beauty remains indelibly etched in my mind. – Chip Warren
You could make a case that the resurgence in popularity of a cappella music in recent decades, particularly on college campuses, began with Manhattan Transfer. Since the 1970s, the quartet has set the standard for layered and pitch-perfect harmonies, resulting in a wide array of pop and jazz recordings that are remarkable for not just their beauty, but their creativity. Choosing a single piece that best reflects those qualities is difficult, but this World War II-era standard, which essentially became the group’s “signature song,” certainly demonstrates their vocal genius. Manhattan Transfer continues to perform today, albeit with a replacement for one of its original four members, Tim Hauser (pictured on the left), who died in 2014. – Chip Warren
Quartet West was a jazz ensemble formed in the 1980s by the late, great bassist Charlie Haden with the aim of trying to evoke the lush, romantic atmosphere of the 1940s. Over the next 25 years, the group produced more than a half-dozen terrific albums featuring so many beautiful pieces, it’s almost impossible to choose a favorite. If pressed to do so, however, I’d have to go with this one, written by Victor Young as a theme for a 1955 film of the same name that starred Humphrey Bogart and Gene Tierney. It appears on Quartet West’s 1995 recording, “Now Is The Hour.” — Chip Warren
This piece, written by Stanley Myers, is performed by the “other John Williams” — not the famous composer of film scores for “Star Wars,” “E.T.” and other blockbusters, but the renowned classical guitarist. It is perhaps best known as the theme from the 1978 Academy Award-winning movie “The Deer Hunter” about a group of blue-collar friends in western Pennsylvania, three of whom are drafted to serve in the Vietnam War. Ever since seeing that film, I’ve found this to be a hauntingly beautiful recording — so much so that I asked my brother-in law John Lehmann-Haupt, who is himself an accomplished classical guitarist, to perform it at Alice’s and my wedding in 2005. — Chip Warren