June 8, 2011
Vox Humana Mass was envisioned as an occasional liturgy by Wes Burdine that would try to incorporate more members of the church community in creating the music for the liturgies. It is an a capella composition with roots in blues (a la Nina Simone), Eastern Orthodox liturgical singing, and traditional ballads.
September 1, 2010
The Reunion Day Mass came from a long-standing desire to pay homage to musicians such as Sam Cooke and Otis Redding. It was an attempt to change up the alt-country moods of some of our liturgies and inject some new melodies into our theological bloodstream at Mercy Seat. Thematically, it takes up the promise of deliverance, especially in the Song of Praise, “All My Friends are Comin’ Back to Jesus” and the cross-lament of the Sanctus, “I Cry, ‘Holy!’. It also includes the song “Reunion Day” that encloses the service parenthetically, promising, “It won’t be long ’til that fine reunion day.” The band is composed of liturgy regulars, Scott Munson and Jayanthi Kyle (of Black Audience), plus Mike Berger (of Cincinnati punk outfits toolshed and The Bushrocks) and Kim Larson.
Take a listen to some live recordings from the debut of the Reunion Day Mass.
March 10, 2010
Wes and Mercy Seat go way back. A native Pennsylvanian, Wes was writing liturgies for Mercy Seat even when he had to travel out on weekends to play them at church. Thankfully now he lives in Northeast Minneapolis and works as Mercy Seat’s Liturgical Coordinator. In 2004, he released the album “This is How I Discovered Gold,” which was a lo-fi jaunt through alt-country and rock ‘n’ roll that David de Young of howwastheshow.com called full of “well-crafted, thought-provoking songs.” He followed this up by forming a band (Wes Burdine & the Librarians) and releasing the pop music fueled “Jose Canseco EP.” Rob van Alstyne of The Pulse called it, “It’s the sunny pop music day that follows This Is How I Discovered Gold’s long and tormented night.”
Now, Wes is a PhD student at the University of Minnesota and continues to write liturgies for Mercy Seat as well as playing with the Twin Cities rock outfit, The Small Cities. He also released the best children’s album of all time, recorded for his niece Katie for Christmas of 2009, called Unicorn Rock! (follow the link to download it for free).
For more of his music, you can go to his website.
I wrote the Brandywine Mass in the Summer of 2009 as a liturgy for lost friends, family, and lovers. The name comes from the river running through Eastern Pennsylvania where I lived for some time and where one can find the Brandywine Art Museum, where one can find some of my favorite art by my favorite artist, Andrew Wyeth. The liturgy opens with an Introit that invokes our lost loves and asks, “Will we see our sisters there? Our brothers there? Our lovers there?” The rest of the liturgy follows this mood and sets the stage for a service asking for mercy and imagining a resurrection with choirs singing, “Hallelujah.” This liturgy is performed with Linnea Mohn of Rogue Valley and The Alpha Centauri.
You can listen to some live recordings of the Brandywine Mass below.
March 4, 2010
Debuted during Lent of 2007, Mass for the End of the World is pop music for the resurrection. It was written to transition from the mediation on morbidity of the Lenten season to the celebration of Christ’s resurrection. It opens with the Biblical paraphrase in the Antiphon: “Oh Lord reveal my end so I may measure out my days and pull my string taut so I see how fragile it may be” and closes with the 60s inspired: “Gimme the End of the World.” In writing the liturgy, I wanted to celebrate the idea of apocalypse and the end of the world as a daily invocation of the resurrection and rebirth. The liturgy is typically performed by Jimmy Osterholt, David Osborn, and Leif Bjornson of The Small Cities, Linnea Mohn of Rogue Valley and The Alpha Centauri, and Charissa Osborn, formerly of Wes Burdine & the Librarians.