When it was suggested I might be interviewed about my 35th anniversary, I chose instead to write an article, knowing I would probably fumble my way in front of a camera - ha! Alicia asked me to write about “highlights or favourite moments in your 35 years.”
My anniversary actually falls on a Sunday this year: 35 years ago, August 1st, 1986 was my first day on the job…easy to remember being EXPO86!
A few months ago, Jake Gramit and I were discussing the Cathedral’s Summer Festival of Sacred Music, hoping it might actually happen this year. I mentioned to him that Sunday August 1st is actually my 35th anniversary - to the day. As organizer of the August festival, I suggested that he might include one of my pieces. He didn’t let me off the hook - and in choosing all music for that Sunday he decided on "Lot’s of Lang!” LOL!
As I was reviewing Jake’s choices, dusting off a couple of older pieces we had not sung for many years, I realized that my 35 years was staring back at me. Floods of memories came over me, even dreaming about the many people I have worked with over the years.
I can honestly say that I have no particular favourite moments. “Ah, come on Mr Lang, you can pick a few surely…” but to mention a few highlights, in no particular order: Four CBC competitions and wins; Tours - in particular Mexico; Paul Halley x 2 - Missa Gaia and three Choir festivals; Sept 11 service; Mozart Requiem, Duruflé Requiem, Fauré Requiem all with orchestra; Ash Wednesday and Advent Lessons & Carols recorded by CBC; two Evensongs recorded by BBC; Living Stones production; Remembrance Day with Chor Leoni and the premiere of Kontakion; four CD’s - Compline, Celebrate, Earth Teach Me, Angels from Heaven; exciting renovations; amazing Cathedral staff; Super Summer Festivals; collaboration with outside musicians and choirs; two choirs in residence -Gospel choir and Vancouver Children’s Choir; I could go on and on.
But the most overwhelming feelings I have are of how much I love this community and how much I love my choir. How I really appreciate the support for diversity of styles of music: “Cathedral' repertoire alongside promoting strong congregational singing - these have always been my dream. It is the balance of excellence without elitism - great repertoire of "The Masters” alongside great Hymns and Songs for congregational participation. I also loved the most recent renovation project called "Ring the Bells, Raise the Roof, Feed the Hungry.” To me this, and the "Open Doors” motto, symbolizes our Cathedral community. It is a community that balances beauty in worship (visual and sound), a community that supports the arts and welcomes others to participate in what can be called a CITY church.
I also appreciate over the years that we have gradually brought into our worship great musical instruments, such as the Kenneth Jones organ, our Steinway grand, the portativ organ and our new bell tower (also musical instruments). I also do not want to forget to thank this community for allowing me to not only compose my own music, but include it in our worship.
Richness, abundance, diversity, love of community have all contributed to my sense of honour and privilege in serving as Organist & Director of Music at Christ Church Cathedral.
It has been the best church job I could have ever asked for or imagined. Thanks be to God!