In the Venerable Bede’s Lives of the Abbots, a story is told of the Abbey of Monkwearmouth after a plague had claimed the lives of all the choir monks in the year 686. The abbot at first reduced the monastic offices to a minimum, omitting most of the antiphons, psalms, canticles, and hymns. But after a week of enduring this departure from their normal daily worship, the abbot and one young boy – thought to be St. Bede, who had been taught by the abbot – managed to continue singing all the chants appointed for each of the services. The praises of God were not compromised by the small number of singers remaining after their great loss.
The music in this collection has been created for such parishes, where the number of singers is small but where praise of God also cannot be compromised. Many of the pieces in the collection may be sung by various combinations of two or more voices and can be transposed to accommodate the available singers. All of these pieces are offered at appropriate times in the liturgical year by the choir singers of St. Gregory the Great Orthodox Church (Western Rite, Antiochian), Washington DC.
I hope that this music may be useful to other small groups of singers. Please click on the links below for PDF files. Permission is granted to reproduce the pieces as needed.
Rebecca S. Alford
The complete St. Bede Choir Book, printed and spiral bound, is available through Lulu.com here.
Behold, the Tabernacle [SAB]
Christ Became Obedient Unto Death [S(S)AB]
Give Thanks Unto the Lord [Canon for 2-4 voices]
Hail Mary (Ave Maria) [SA or TB]
Help us, O God of our Salvation [SA or TB]
Hodie Christus natus est [SAB]
I am the Living Bread [SAB]
I Was Glad [SAB]
I Will Receive [SB]
Like as the Hart [SA]
My Soul, Wait Thou Still on God [canon for 2-4 voices]
O Vos Omnes [SB]
Antiphons with Psalm tone verses:
Arise, Shine [SA]
Let There Abide [SA]
O Be Joyful in the Lord [SAB]
O Taste and See [SB]
Thou Gavest Bread [SA]
We Adore Thee, O Christ [S with ison]
Gladsome Light (Phos hilaron) [SATB or accompanied melody]
What Child is This [SATB or accompanied melody]