Category Archives: Texts

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 Better Part

A Story of Martha and Mary, One-Act Chancel Opera, Based on Luke 10:38-42

Music composed by James Biery, ASCAP

Libretto written by Marilyn Biery, ASCAP

“The Better Part: A Story of Martha and Mary” is Marilyn and James Biery’s second chancel opera.

“The Better Part” is a musical portrayal of Jesus’ visit to the home of Martha and Mary. It’s a message for everyone: finding the balance between doing good work and taking time to listen to the voice of God. The production brings the story into the present day and includes humor, emotion, and inspiration.

What is needed:

  • Three Solo Singer/Actors (Soprano, Mezzo-soprano, and Tenor), and few additional singer/actors
  • SATB Chorus
  • Chamber orchestra of Oboe, Trumpet, Strings, Piano, and Percussion (reduced accompaniment upon request)
  • No costumes required; minimal props
  • Performance time is 30 minutes; designed to be performed during a church service
  • The congregation participates in singing the final hymn-like chorus

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

 

 

 

From Doubt to Faith

A Chancel Opera in One Act, Based on John 20:24-29

Music composIMG_0607 croppeded by James Biery, ASCAP

Text written by Marilyn Biery, ASCAP, with Henry Alford’s “We Walk By Faith” and narrated text from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible

The story of Thomas the Twin and his turning from doubt to faith, written for and first performed at Grosse Pointe Memorial Church, Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan, April 3, 2016

The singer-actors bring to life the emotional and compelling story of Thomas and the disciples, while the choir sings the words of the risen Christ and expresses the listener’s reaction to Thomas’ story. The piece ends with all of the cast – and the audience – singing a powerful statement of faith.

What is needed:

  • Four or Five Solo Singers (a mix of high and medium voices)
  • Narrator (spoken)
  • SATB Chorus
  • Chamber orchestra of Flute, Horn, Strings, Piano, and Percussion (can be successfully played by an ensemble of only 9 players, or the piano reduction may be used)
  • May be performed with or without costumes and lighting; no sets required
  • Performance time is 25 minutes; designed to be performed during a church service
  • The congregation participates in singing the final hymn-like chorus

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

Comments from the premiere performance:

“Divine!”

“A very moving telling of a familiar story”

“An amazing score and message”

“One of the most moving experiences I’ve ever had”

“A true gem”

 

 

Seek a Place of Breathless Beauty

90-70by Marilyn Biery (MorningStar MSM-90-70, 2011)

Marilyn’s first hymnary, the book contains 25 of her hymn texts; eleven of them are sung to Jim’s original tunes. Published by MorningStar, the book was introduced at the 2011 NPM Louisville convention, during which the Bierys presented a Hymn Festival.

Concert organist Diane Meredith Belcher writes:
I was privileged to preview this most excellent collection of original hymn texts by Marilyn Perkins Biery; about half are set to traditional hymn tunes, and half to original tunes by James Biery. I was personally deeply moved by several of these – and as a set they represent a substantial, dignified, and beautifully crafted addition to the hymn literature. New hymns sometimes scare off churches, and sometimes even church musicians, but these strike the listener at once as original, memorable, likeable, and entirely singable. If you purchase nothing else this summer for your church, you would do well to consider this fine set.

Click here to view the MorningStar webpage for the book.