Category Archives: Music for Lent

Journey to Jerusalem

A musical drama and liturgy for Maundy Thursday.






Music composed by James Biery, ASCAP

Libretto written by Marilyn Biery, ASCAP

“Journey to Jerusalem” is a complete Maundy Thursday service consisting of three parts. After an instrumental prelude, Part One (The Washing of Feet) begins with the costumed actors entering the church as they sing about the journey to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. Some of them gather at the table and are confused and bewildered when Jesus washes their feet. Jesus sings an aria, “This Is My Commandment.” All sing the hymn “My Song Is Love Unknown.”

Part Two (The Institution of the Lord’s Supper) opens with Judas singing of his inner turmoil in the aria, “He Is My Friend.” Then Jesus and the disciples reenacted  the Last Supper and they invite the congregation to receive communion as they sing “Come to the Table.”

Part Three (The Garden of Gethsemane) takes the congregation along with Jesus, Peter, and the disciples as they keep watch in the garden. Jesus (and the congregation) sing “Father, If this Cup Cannot Pass.” The service ends with the congregation quietly singing the meditative ostinato song “See, the Hour Is at Hand.”

The choir advances the story through narration and leads the congregation in song. Each of the three parts is separated by spoken prayers and a time of silence.

What is needed:

  • Three Solo Singer/Actors –Jesus (high voice), Judas (medium/low voice), and Peter (medium voice) –  and some ensemble singer/actors
  • SATB Chorus
  • Instrumental ensemble of Flute, English Horn, Viola, Harp or Piano, Bass and Organ (reduced accompaniment upon request)
  • Simple costumes; minimal props
  • Duration is 60 minutes

The music makes modest demands on the singers and can be prepared in a few rehearsals. Likewise, the instrumental parts can be performed by either professional or talented amateur players.

Contact us for more information and a free perusal score: james (at) bierymusic (dot) com




The Paschal Lamb

9781451494099bby James Biery (Augsburg Fortress , 2014)

Click here to visit the Augsburg Fortress website.

Easter Settings for Organ: settings of hymntunes Cardinal, Kingdom, Mfurahini, haleluya, My Neighbor, Nelson, Promise, Raabe, and Santo Domingo

This set of pieces was written at the request of Norma Aamodt-Nelson, who wrote shortly before Holy Week 2014 suggesting that “it would be lovely to have a new collection by you in the works.” After picking myself up from the floor when I heard that the deadline would be just a few weeks away, I realized that this would be the perfect way to release pent-up creativity during the week after Easter. Norma suggested most of the tunes, concentrating on newer tunes that have appeared in recent hymnals such as Evangelical Lutheran Worship and the new Presbyterian hymnal, Glory to God.