It’s official: Easter is now right around the corner! And no Easter Sunday is complete without the fanfares and hymns we know so well. There are a few excellent selections in the Fred Bock catalog that are perfect for the occasion. They possess all of the majesty and triumphant qualities connected to celebrating Jesus’ resurrection.
The classic fanfare and hymn setting in the Fred Bock Music Company catalog is Easter “An Easter Symphony,” by Milton Rusch. Utilizing the LASST UNS ERFREUEN hymntune, Rusch combines handbells, brass, timpani, organ, choir and congregation into a massive exclamation of praise. This is the Easter fanfare arrangement that sets the bar for all the others that followed it.
“Fanfare and Hymn for Easter Morning” arranged by Paul Sjolund is the best selling Fanfare and Hymn setting. As with Easter Symphony, it can be found in the Fred Bock Music Company catalog. The first thing that is heard is a drumroll on a timpani. It crescendos into a triumphant fanfare of trumpets, organ, and bells. The brass continues this introductory fanfare for almost a minute until the congregation joins to sing the familiar LASST UNS ERFREUEN hymntune. After a triumphant verse 1, the instruments are tacet for verses 2 and 3. Sjolund’s sense is perfect, for when they all return in verse 4 the effect is magnificent. The trumpets are soaring; the choir is singing at their fullest; and the whole ensemble is at its maximum dynamic. This really is a huge piece, and it tastefully creates a majestic start to Easter Sunday.
Another traditional piece for this joyous day is “Festival Easter Hymn on Grafton.” This comes from the Hinshaw Music catalog, and it is arranged for organ, brass, timpani and choir by K. Lee Scott. For those looking for a different but equally majestic start to an Easter service, Scott’s choice of the hymntune GRAFTON is a wonderful choice. The Easter hymn text is a combination of lyrics by Cecil Frances Alexander and Christopher Wordsworth. By marrying the two Easter texts to the traditional French hymntune, Scott creates a fresh and stately opening to any Easter worship service.
Returning the the Fred Bock Music Company catalog for our final Fanfare and Hymn, the text for “Fanfare and Hymn for the Risen Savior” was written by Bryan Jeffery Leech, and the music was composed by Allen Pote. There is a short introduction with brass and organ. Allen Pote’s choice of chords in this introduction are very appealing because they aren’t the easy I, IV, or V triads. The V chord in the second measure, for example, is actually an Ebm9. It is refreshing, but not pushing any boundaries. The choir then sings its own fanfare before leading the congregation in Christ the Lord Is Risen Today (LASST UNS ERFREUEN). One of the aspects of this Fanfare and Hymn that makes it different than the others is the choral fanfare – not only before the congregation sings the hymn but as a tag following the final verse. The effect is a huge musical statement, lifting the spirits and hearts of everyone in the sanctuary.
Any of these pieces would be perfect on an Easter Sunday. They all reflect the holiness of the Lord rising on the third day following his burial, and they all bring out the joy of singing together.