Order our new CD People of the Light now
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About the CD
People of the Light features music which is patterned after the church year.
The Advent Song, Introit, God is with us and This is why tell of waiting in hope, angels singing and the sure knowledge that God will never leave us.
A setting of James Mongomery’s Go to dark Gethsemane leads into The Third Day cantata.
The cantata tells the Easter story from the cross, through low Saturday, to finding the empty tomb, Jesus’ appearance in the locked room and giving the great commission. The work ends with a glorious finale that proclaims, “Christ is Risen, Alleluia!”
Next is Such Love, a choral setting of words from 1 John: 3. This is followed by three instrumental pieces that reflect Jonathan’s love of Celtic music.
Also included are Jonathan’s settings of the traditional Magnificat and Nunc dimittis. The Magnificat features a free-form melody sung by soprano soloist Sharon Yearsley, who soars over an exciting rhythmic, pulsing chant by the choir.
The CD closes with a Blessing based on Psalm 27.
Throughout, Jonathan’s music deftly weaves melodies around sacred words in ways that enhance and give new meaning to the text. Listeners will be drawn into the music and find their spirits uplifted.
Founded in 1976, Festival Singers of Wellington has a tradition of encouraging young performers, of bringing new music to our audiences and of always singing to the glory of God. People of the Light continues this tradition.
Praise for People of the Light
“Undeniably, the music is attractive and memorable. The language is steeped in Biblical allusions and quotation so that it is familiar but not so familiar that it washes blandly over the listener. All sources of words are acknowledged and elsewhere Jonathan shows his expertise in setting his own well-chosen words to music.
Jonathan expresses the hope that the music will speak to any who will hear. This reviewer found this to be true. So, immerse yourselves in these songs and the words and you will be richly rewarded.”
From the review by Jill Meredith which appeared in Touchstone May 2016
Spirited People CD
Released August 2007
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About the CD
Spirited People takes you on a spiritual and musical journey through a selection of new works by New Zealand composers that offer praise to God, set against the challenge to take the model of Jesus’ life of service and sacrifice seriously. This is their first commercial recording.
The cantata The Spirit Within, by popular hymnwriter Colin Gibson, is the major work on the CD. In it he explores God the majestic and awe-inspiring, but also provokes us to respond to poverty and injustice. His music draws on both classical and popular musical forms and influences. The lyrics are poetic and set us firmly in the rural and urban landscapes of Aotearoa. Readings of poems by five other NZ writers linking the music tracks enhance the recording. The CD also includes short settings by Colin Gibson of Joy Cowley’s poem The Virgin Birth and John Donne’s To Enter That Gate.
Jonathan Berkahn, organist and Celtic band enthusiast, writes music that is spiritually uplifting to sing and captures a feeling for intimacy with God. His works are underpinned with a rhythmic joy founded in jigs, reels and other Irish folk styles. Jonathan also draws on church tradition and classical music forms, with settings of text from the Anglican prayerbook or directly from Scripture. A highlight of this CD is Jonathan’s Te Deum for choir accompanied by Celtic folk band. Audiences have enthusiastically applauded its public performances. We also feature Jonathan’s up-tempo New Song.
Two pieces by Rosemary Russell complete the selection. Its How You Live urges us to be faithful, positive and to treasure our relationships with those around us. The lilting song Psalm 63, written in collaboration with choir member Philip Garside, explores the depths of our spiritual longing.
This beautifully packaged CD will make an ideal Christmas gift for friends and family. Buy another copy for your personal listening pleasure.
Festival Singers is a Christian community choir based in Wellington. Over its 30 years’ existence, the choir has both sung traditional music, and promoted new styles of church music.
Many people today are questioning the shape of the Christian church and seeking new ways of expressing faith through music. This imaginative CD combines choral music, art songs and spoken word in a fresh contemporary genre.
1. Virgin Birth – Colin Gibson, Joy Cowley 2:55
2. Psalm 63 – Philip Garside/Rosemary Russell 2:55
3. A New Song – Jonathan Berkahn 2:33
4-8. Te Deum – Jonathan Berkahn 14:00
Cantata: The Spirit Within – Colin Gibson
9. Introit 2:12
10. Praise the All-Sustaining Word 3:37
11. Reading 1:42
12. The Time of Quiet – Words: Joy Cowley 2:55
13. Reading 1:07
14. A Spring Afternoon in New Zealand – Words: Anne Glenny Wilson 3:00
15. Southerly Sunday – Words: Ursula Bethell 2:32
16. November Morning – Words: Lauris Edmond 2:08
17. These Hills 3:03
18. Reading 1:45
19. Where Blows the Spirit? – Words: Shirley Erena Murray 2:52
20. On the Swag – Words: R. A. K. Mason 2:18
21. Reading 1:44
22. Let Justice Roll Down 4:14
23. Reading 1:00
24. The Folly of Love 2:58
25. Reading 0:47
26. I Sing the Grace of God 2:01
27. I Read Your Signature – Words: Charles Brasch 1:24
28. Praise the All-Sustaining Word 3:00
29. It’s How We Live That Matters – Rosemary Russell 3:08
30. To Enter into That Gate – Colin Gibson, John Donne 2:53
Tell My People CD
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To celebrate 25 years Festival Singers released in November 2000 a new CD titled Tell My People
This is a collection of great recordings from the past, which have been digitally re-mastered up to current standards, and three new recordings from October 2000.
1 Jesus Child 3:29
2 Born in the Night 2:46
3 Christ is Born 2:54
4 Star Carol 3:05
5 Hark the Herald Angels Sing 3:09
6 Tell My People I Love Them 3:47
7 Ave Maria 1:58
8 There is a Redeemer 3:43
9 Tama Ngakau Marie 1:39
10 The Kingdom of Heaven 2:26
11 There’s a Time 3:03
12 Dear Lord and Father of Mankind 3:04
13 West Indian Lord’s Prayer
14 He Has Brought Us This Far 1:57
15 Our God Reigns 3:02
16 Within You 3:36
17 The Servant Song 3:13
18 Indigo II 2:53
19 Moving Through the Silence 3:26
20 0 Holy Spirit (Kyrieleis) 2:48
21 If My People 2:19
22 A Cup of Water 3:33
23 To Be God’s People 2:06
24 Nothing Can Separate Us 3:18
25 The Lord Bless You and Keep You 2:40