There is no more often repeated prayer in all of Christianity than “Lord, have mercy,” from the Greek “Kyrie eleison.” This ancient biblical text is set in chant style for alternating choir sections supported and punctuated by a handbell ostinato. While it works well for choirs in procession, it is also effective when sung by the choir in place as music for a clergy entrance.
”Kyrie in Procession” was composed for my choir, the Pittsburgh Compline Choir. The procession brings the singing choir carrying candles into a darkened chapel. The length of the piece may be adjusted to accommodate the time needed for the choir to place candles on the altar and be seated in the choir pews. Our gifted bell ringer, Wendy Bailey, alone played five bells while also singing in procession in the dark; two or three ringers can easily perform this piece. It can be sung throughout the liturgical year but is especially appropriate during the penitential seasons of Advent and Lent.