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Lord's Prayer topic of cantata at Centenary

Every Sunday morning, Centenary United Methodist Church recites the Lord's Prayer.

In unison the congregation prays: "Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil."

But on Feb. 26, the church's choir will present the prayer in a different form  a cantata "Our Father: A Journey Through the Lord's Prayer" by composer Pepper Choplin. Linda Chapman, choir director, said the cantata is different than an average cantata.

"A lot of times, you'll have cantatas in the holy times, Easter and Christmas," Chapman said. "But this particular cantata is about the Lord's Prayer, so it can be done at any time of the year."

Chapman had looked at the cantata for a couple months, but once she began listening to the music, she was shaken.

"It just spoke to me. It just literally spoke to me," Chapman said. "What the composer has done with not only the lyrics but also the accompaniment is just moving."

Each phrase separated into songs

Even though the church recites the prayer every Sunday, Chapman said it's easy to forget its meaning. The cantata separates each phrase of the Lord's Prayer and gives each individual songs. Chapman said "each song can stand on its own as a separate anthem." The cantata also includes short narrations between each song, which will be presented by Robert Gorrell, senior minister.

The cantata will be performed by the church's 30-voice choir and will include live musical accompaniment of eight to 10 instruments ranging from strings and percussion to brass and woodwind. Chapman hopes the performance will bring the Lord's Prayer back into perspective.

"We're at an advantage in the choir that we have been rehearsing this since last fall," Chapman said. "We took a little break during Christmas. But we have the opportunity to grow with each one of these individual songs. And for the congregation, they get one chance to hear this. So it's our goal to get the lyrics and the phrasing and get the motions of the music to the listener's ear."

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