On Saturday, June 13, 7:30p, St. Barnabas Church, Chelsea, MI, will celebrate St. Barnabas Day and cap off its 60th year of worship and service by premiering a new mass dedicated to its patron saint.
All are welcome to participate, and an open rehearsal will be held on the preceding Thursday, June 11, at 7:00p. If you like to sing, and want to help launch a work that's never been heard in its entirety, please come and join us! An ensemble of piano, organ, strings, flute and four vocalists will accompany the Thursday rehearsal and the Saturday celebration.
The setting is by Doug Howell, a professional singer-songwriter who is also a musician at St. Barnabas. The musical style is contemporary and incorporates both gospel and pop flavors. The mass also includes settings of some parts of the liturgy usually not sung, such as the Confession.
Howell says the project was inspired by how difficult much of our traditional service music is to sing. His aim was to make it more accessible, fun and easier to sing. Howell has written other pieces St. Barnabas parishioners have used in worship for several years, and finally the idea of a complete mass setting was suggested.
The St. Barnabas Mass is dedicated to the congregation as well as to its patron saint. Howell appreciates the real, loving ministry the church members exhibit on a daily basis. He recalls what he used to tell his audience when he was on the road performing his own music: “I always told people that someday, if I ever settled down, I’d find a church that I could really get involved in. Where real relationships would keep me honest, and help me practice my faith, not just preach it.” Howell believes he found that very place in St. Barnabas, and has dedicated the mass to his congregation.