Serendipity - An
Incredible Story from
Vol.12 - June 8, 2011
by Bradley Nelson
A few weeks ago, I received a music order by email from David Pegg,
music director at St. Anne's Episcopal Church in North
Carolina. In a flurry of emails, he asked if I knew their
new priest, Lawrence Womack, who had requested my anthem for his
formal installation as rector of St. Anne's. Whaaat...? It
was music I had composed 30 years ago for the Christ Church Cathedral
Choir of Men and Boys in Indianapolis. I never had it
published except by myself, so I was flabbergasted that he would even
know it existed!
I surfed the church's website and discovered that Lawrence Womack was
born in Indianapolis. I wrote back to David, "I'd
be very interested to know how he knows this piece and has requested
it for his installation!" I added that I had
lived in Indianapolis and taught at Butler University from 1976 to
1984. I copied my response to Reverend Womack.
That night, I began to wonder if Lawrence might have been one of the
boys singing in that choir....? So many years ago....?
The next morning I received this response from their new Pastor:
I believe you have been in touch with a David Pegg, who is the
choirmaster here at St. Annes.
In response to your question regarding how I know the piece, I was
a chorister at Christ Church Cathedral when the piece was
commissioned and sang on the recording that you have posted on your website.
The entire work [Songs
Of Adoration] had a profound effect on me (even at the young age
of between 8 and 10). I was (and still am) deeply moved, particularly
by, Jesus, The Very Thought Of Thee.
I asked that it be sung at my ordination as well (at St. Lukes
Church, in Baltimore). Dr. Burgomaster [the choir director who
commissioned the cycle] was in attendance and commented that I
must have forgotten how hard we worked on it to get the harmonies and
I have always remembered it, have often sung it to myself and been
encouraged not only by its power, but by the quiet way in which the
music so appropriately speaks with and through the essence of the
words. It brings me to tears, even now.
I could write much more, but I will simply say, THANK YOU. I am so
happy to be able to tell you this, to share with you the amazing gift
you have given to me. Please know that you are in my thoughts and
prayers and I hope that this note finds you well. I pray that you are
experiencing all the joys of a life filled with beauty and blessing.
Take good care,
Rev'd Lawrence M. Womack
St. Anne's Episcopal Church
2690 Fairlawn Drive
Winston-Salem, NC 27106
Congratulations upon your formal installation this
Sunday, June 12, 2011 as the new rector of St. Anne's.
I wish you God's great blessings in your new ministry!
David Pegg, Director of Music
Anne's Episcopal Church