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A Tribute to Jane Marshall

 

The Church Music Institute joins in thanksgiving with church musicians worldwide for the life of Jane M. Marshall, beloved composer of sacred music, conductor, author, educator, clinician, and friend who died on May 29, 2019. Her catalogue of published works is said to be more than 200, and the CMI Choral Library is pleased to contain 128, all available to church musicians by easily searchable criteria. The Church Music Institute honored Jane at CMI’s very first Choral Music Festival in the Meyerson Symphony Hall in Dallas, 2008. Mrs. Marshall was present and received a standing ovation after the 350-voice choir sang her first, most well known anthem, My Eternal King, composed in 1954. Other notable anthems are Awake My Heart, Fanfare for Easter, and He Comes to Us. She was also a writer of hymns and hymn tunes that appear in major Protestant denominational hymnals.

All of us who knew her, sat in her classroom, workshops, seminars, heard her speak, and sang her music know how privileged we are to benefit from her unique contribution to our lives. Her charismatic personality, generous smile, wit, and intelligence didn’t prepare one to know what a sincere servant leader she was or how deeply her theological roots permeated everything she touched. Marshall advocated worship and music should be organized around the lectionary, and pastors and musicians should plan worship together. Priests (pastors) and Levites (musicians) should be united by the Word to create worship that is not momentary entertainment but “an occasion where devotion to truth, commitment to love, and an awareness of the presence of the Holy One may be found.” (Grace Noted, Jane Marshall, Hope Publishing, 1992, p. 104.)

The Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts encourages all sacred musicians to “offer a song in honor and praise of Jane and her impact on sacred music by including one of Jane’s compositions in worship during the weekend of Sunday, September 29.” (The Fellowship, www.umfellowship.org, “What Gift Can We Bring? Celebrating the Music of Jane Marshall,” Wednesday, 05 June 2019.) The Church Music Institute concurs. Rest well, faithful servant, Jane Marshall.

Robert C. Mann, D. M. A.
Resource Library Director
Church Music Institute

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