Lenten Cantata “Mark These Words”

By Virginia Vollmer, ofs

St Elizabeth Seton parishioners, family, and guests gathered in the church on March 17th to hear the choir and musicians present the Lenten cantata “Mark These Words”. They had been practicing since the beginning of the year. Let’s have a listen…

Steve Raml

Through a narrative presenting the Gospel story, lectors Peggy Andrews and Rob DeFriese introduced each song. Mark’s Gospel was the first written, and the shortest. Steve Raml says, “He is more concerned with Jesus’ ministry, His passion and His death.”

The cantata begins with “Here Begins the Good News” being sung by soloist Kathie Schraeder. The title of the song is the first line of Mark’s Gospel. Next is Jesus’ temptation in the desert and the call of the apostles. We hear the song “What is Your Passion”, and then the story of the healing of the man with the withered hand is told through Vince Ambrosetti’s song “Stretch Out Your Hand”.

Steve Raml and choir present through spoken word and singing the parable of the sower: “If Anyone Has Ears”. Another miracle of Jesus is the feeding of the five thousand with plenty of leftovers. Brian White is featured on the song “Plenty to Share”. I think I hear folks in the audience singing along. The Gospel story of Jesus walking on water is dramatic and the song “Walkin’ Cross the Sea” by Pepper Choplin captures the mood.

We’re midway through the cantata. A trio walks to the rostrum: Mark Carlson, H Walsh and Rich Miller. They harmonize on the delightful tune “So Good to Be Here” that had the audience giggling. Come to think of it, just like Peter, James and John, wouldn’t you have liked to stay on Mount Tabor? The choir along with soloist Ann Marie Carlson then sings of the awesomeness of the Transfiguration with the arrangement “Song of the Transfiguration” by Sylvia Dunstan.

We are reminded that if we aspire to follow Jesus we must be as children. Nancy Kullos is the soloist for the lullaby “Unless You Learn”. We are now at the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. “Sing Hosanna to Our King” is sung loud and clear by the choir and Katie Gonzalez! Hosanna! The proclaiming of the coming of God’s Kingdom cannot be far away. Sandy Gordon and Shirley Hess sing “The Wondrous Day of Our God”. But we know how the story goes: Jesus is crucified. We hear a plaintive cry within the medley “Were You There/Amazing Grace” with Nancy Kullos and the choir.

Mark’s Gospel ends with an empty tomb. The women who found it were sent out to tell the others. And so are we also sent out to tell others. For as the final song “The Empty Tomb” states, “the empty tomb is a mystery. The empty tomb is a victory.”

Go tell the others, for this was a beautiful Lenten cantata. Thank you, Steve Raml, choir members, musicians and lectors. This wonderful presentation can be viewed again on the St Elizabeth Seton Facebook page.


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