Anna Cooper vs. J.S. Bach

In a 2014 bracket quirk, Celebrity Blogger Heidi Shott is shepherding her “Killer B’s” through the Saintly Sixteen this week. Bach, Bedell, and Brooks are all doing battle over the next few days. Today we begin Heidi Week with J.S. Bach taking on Anna Cooper in a contest between an activist and a musician. One key to this contest will be the critical bassoonist vote. Will they rally behind a fellow musician or take umbrage with one of their own once being called a “nanny-goat bassoonist?”

Yesterday, in a tight race, Harriet Beecher Stowe managed to hold off Alcuin 53% to 47% and will face the winner of Harriet Bedell vs. Thomas Gallaudet in the Elate Eight.

Don’t forget, you can always find links to the match-ups of the previous rounds on the Bracket page. Can’t remember where Anna Cooper grew up? Need a reminder about the number of children J.S. Bach sired? Go look it up and become a better informed Lent Madness voter.

PS. Your shoelaces are untied.

unnamedAnna Cooper

Anna Julia Cooper — the daughter of an enslaved women and a white slave master – was an educator and tireless advocate for the rights, dignity, and opportunities of women and people of color during the early twentieth century. Anna’s cause was not only about empowering women, it was also about ensuring the dignity of the entire human race as a reflection of God’s likeness. Nevertheless, she recognized that black women had a unique perspective on the matter because of their sex and race. As she explained,

The colored woman feels that woman’s cause is one and universal; and that not till the image of God, whether in parian or ebony, is sacred and inviolable; not till race, color, sex, and condition are seen as the accidents, and not the substance of life; not till the universal title of humanity to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is conceded to be inalienable to all; not till then is woman’s lesson taught and woman’s cause won — not the white woman’s, nor the black woman’s, nor the red woman’s, but the cause of every man and of every woman who has writhed silently under a mighty wrong.

She fearlessly chastised Christians for being complacent about injustice and advocated for greater recognition of the immeasurable value of women. In her well-known work, A Voice from the South, she wrote:

The earnest well-trained Christian young woman, as a teacher, as a home-maker, as wife, mother, or silent influence even, is as potent a missionary agency among our people as is the theologian; and I claim that at the present stage of our development in the South she is even more important and necessary.

Never one to back down from a challenge, she had pursued the “gentlemen’s” course of study at Oberlin College over the more genteel program for women. After many years as a teacher, principal, and advocate, at the age of 57, she adopted her nephew’s five children while simultaneously working toward her PhD.  (So, yes, we know you just celebrated your 80th birthday Gloria Steinem, but Anna Cooper could run circles around you. Did you get a PhD at 67? I don’t think so).

In a time when women were expected to be quiet and people of color were threatened with violence, Anna refused to succumb to fear or comfort. Instead, she relied upon education and Christian compassion over violence, a lesson from which the short-tempered, bassoon-fighting Bach could have benefited. (So much for turning the other cheek, eh?)

Anna died in 1964 at the age of 105. In 2009, the Anna Julia Cooper Episcopal School in Richmond, Virginia, opened in her honor and provides a faith-based education to students of limited means.

Maria Kane

unnamedJohann Sebastian Bach

Over the years I’ve known many 18 year-old males and, indeed, felt a great fondness for a number of them, but I can assure you that I don’t recall one — even the musicians among them — ever saying anything like this: “The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.”

Still, despite the odds, such were the words uttered by Johann Sebastian Bach, a young church organist in Arnstadt, Germany, in 1703. Indeed, Bach signed hundreds of his church compositions and some of his secular works with the initials S.D.G., an abbreviation for the Latin term Soli Deo Gloria meaning “Glory to God alone.”

While many of the saints who find their way into the bracket have left behind theological treatises, sermons, devotional poetry, and other writings, Bach left behind little written work to demonstrate his faithfulness. David Mendel argues in The Bach Reader, “For the expression of emotion, however, Bach hardly needed to resort to words. The focus of his emotional life was undoubtedly in religion, and in the service of religion through music…That his church music was designed to deepen the worship of God and to embellish His service need not be emphasized.”

It is not just Bach’s many biographers who see the hand of God in how Bach offered his gifts to the world. Words of praise from other composers, contemporary through the present day, abound. Claude Debussy said famously, “And if we look at the works of J.S. Bach — a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity — on each page we discover things which we thought were born only yesterday, from delightful arabesques to an overflowing of religious feeling greater than anything we have since discovered.”

Faithful Christian and musical genius though he was, Bach seems to have admitted to a few human foibles. His short comic opera on the pleasures of coffee-drinking, Schweigt stille, plaudert nicht (Be still, stop chattering), was performed regularly at a coffee house in Leipzig. We have record of two other of his habits — a penchant for smoking tobacco and writing poetry — in a collection he dedicated to his second wife, Anna Magdalena, in “The Second Little Clavier Book.” One verse reads:

How oft it happens when one’s smoking:
The stopper’s missing from its shelf,
And one goes with one’s finger poking
Into the bowl and burns oneself.
If in the pipe such pain doth dwell,
How hot must be the pains of Hell.

A bit of a wag, Bach once said, “It’s easy to play any musical instrument: all you have to do is touch the right key at the right time and the instrument will play itself.” But he also said, “Music is an agreeable harmony for the honor of God and the permissible delights of the soul.”


Heidi Shot


Anna Cooper vs. J.S. Bach

  • Anna Cooper (54%, 2,717 Votes)
  • J.S. Bach (46%, 2,341 Votes)

Total Voters: 5,056

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179 Comments to "Anna Cooper vs. J.S. Bach"

  1. April 1, 2014 - 8:11 am | Permalink

    Love to listen to Bach but Anna Cooper is a real saint.

    • Roslyn's Gravatar Roslyn
      April 1, 2014 - 9:14 am | Permalink

      agreed – re Anna Cooper being a saint. Tough choice, but going with Anna

    • kate murray's Gravatar kate murray
      April 1, 2014 - 9:31 am | Permalink

      That sums it up for me too.

      • Paul Kelley's Gravatar Paul Kelley
        April 1, 2014 - 1:41 pm | Permalink

        I have to agree with the foregoing three.

    • Hilliard Harper's Gravatar Hilliard Harper
      April 1, 2014 - 1:32 pm | Permalink

      Bach’s saintly imperfections as well as his heavenly music resonate with me.

    • Julie Seidler's Gravatar Julie Seidler
      April 1, 2014 - 5:13 pm | Permalink

      You’re killing me, Ann!

    • James Oppenheimer's Gravatar James Oppenheimer
      April 1, 2014 - 7:53 pm | Permalink

      Hard to recall that not everyone truly appreciates real music. But it is what it is.

    • Richard's Gravatar Richard
      April 1, 2014 - 8:35 pm | Permalink

      I am afraid there will be a dirge if Bach loses.

  2. Ellen Lincourt's Gravatar Ellen Lincourt
    April 1, 2014 - 8:15 am | Permalink

    AAARRRGGHHHHH!!!!! This was supposed to be an easy one. Why, oh why, must the choices be soooooooooooooooooooo hard.

    In the end, I chose Bach for how his music speaks to the Glory of God for the ages. Long after I have left this earth, people will hear his music and turn to the divine.

    • Vicki's Gravatar Vicki
      April 1, 2014 - 2:42 pm | Permalink

      I totally agree w/ Ellen Lincourt. Very difficult choice and I chose Bach for the same reasons. However, I’d love to learn more about Anna Cooper.

  3. sue's Gravatar sue
    April 1, 2014 - 8:15 am | Permalink

    Bach’s music is fabulous but the other things about his life leave me unimpressed esp 2 wives and 20 children. Anna on however blows me away with everything she did! Gotta go with Anna

    • elizabeth's Gravatar elizabeth
      April 1, 2014 - 8:44 am | Permalink

      Just to be clear on this point his first wife died…

    • Laura's Gravatar Laura
      April 1, 2014 - 8:52 am | Permalink

      Wasn’t Bach’s fault his first wife died! (most of his kids were with his second wife so he didn’t wear her out that way)…and the children ( supported by his music BTW–there was good reason for his ridiculous productivity!) were certainly a musical legacy in their own right. Anna IS amazing, but Bach is still evangelizing today, and tomorrow as another commenter has said. And music crosses all linguistic boundaries…now a Bach – Gallaudet pairing would leave me in a quandry.

    • Susan Fiore's Gravatar Susan Fiore
      April 1, 2014 - 9:11 am | Permalink

      And there was no birth control.

  4. April 1, 2014 - 8:23 am | Permalink

    Yay for the Anna Julia Cooper Episcopal middle school in Richmond! Every student there receives a full tuition scholarship. And they have a “school dog,” a sweet black lab named Anna.

    • Barbara Mays-Stock's Gravatar Barbara Mays-Stock
      April 1, 2014 - 10:14 am | Permalink

      I agree! Someone mentioned that. Bach is still evangelizing today by his wonder music. I would add that Anna is doing the same by offering hope to the future through education and Bringing Christian understanding to those who might not have had access otherwise. My vote is for her!

      • Barbara Mays-Stock's Gravatar Barbara Mays-Stock
        April 1, 2014 - 10:15 am | Permalink

        Wonderful. Stupid auto correct! Sorry.

        • Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
          April 1, 2014 - 10:27 am | Permalink

          Oh, I don’t know; “wonder-music” sounds quite German. (Wundermusik?)

  5. Laurie's Gravatar Laurie
    April 1, 2014 - 8:24 am | Permalink

    Anna lived her faith. Bach composed it. Got to go with Anna.

    • Harlie Youngblood's Gravatar Harlie Youngblood
      April 1, 2014 - 11:24 am | Permalink

      God calls each of us to a particular ministry. One is not higher than another.

  6. kew's Gravatar kew
    April 1, 2014 - 8:25 am | Permalink

    Justice and the moral arc of the universe versus the transcendent sublime. Oh, dear. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. What to do?

  7. Rich Lammlin's Gravatar Rich Lammlin
    April 1, 2014 - 8:27 am | Permalink

    To me, I didn’t even have to read the paragraphs, it’s Bach, Bach, Bach!

    • Anne E.B.'s Gravatar Anne E.B.
      April 1, 2014 - 10:03 am | Permalink

      Yes Yes Yes!

    • Jean Abbe's Gravatar Jean Abbe
      April 1, 2014 - 5:09 pm | Permalink

      Johann Sebastian Bach: A great musician, a good Dad, and a Lutheran (Garrison Keillor). From a fellow Lutheran.

  8. Maria's Gravatar Maria
    April 1, 2014 - 8:35 am | Permalink

    The angels sing and play Bach. Had to go with him.

  9. Cindy's Gravatar Cindy
    April 1, 2014 - 8:37 am | Permalink

    Bach left some great music, but feel Anna left more to the world.

    • Paul's Gravatar Paul
      April 1, 2014 - 8:54 am | Permalink

      Anna left more to the world? Perhaps better said that Anna and J.S. Bach left different — but great — things to the world. A shame if today doesn’t end up 50%-50%.

    • James Oppenheimer's Gravatar James Oppenheimer
      April 1, 2014 - 8:03 pm | Permalink

      Bach left some nice music. One could also say that Francis founded a nice monastic order. The reality is that for those who appreciate his works, no explanation is necessary, and for those who do not, no explanation will suffice. Like it or not, we live in a world where most people simply don’t appreciate Bach. They have never been taught appreciation of serious music, and have no idea what they are missing.

  10. Jen E. Ochsner's Gravatar Jen E. Ochsner
    April 1, 2014 - 8:37 am | Permalink

    A fairer race would have been Anna versus Harriet…….Have to go with Bach……….SDG!

    • Gretchen's Gravatar Gretchen
      April 1, 2014 - 4:44 pm | Permalink

      I’m afraid it is our calling as Lent Madhatters to compare apples to oranges.

  11. Christine's Gravatar Christine
    April 1, 2014 - 8:38 am | Permalink

    Tough choice indeed, but the message of being who you are and believing that God will use you beyond any limits imposed by self or society feels like the voice I need to listen to.

  12. April 1, 2014 - 8:39 am | Permalink

    I cannot choose.

  13. Rhee's Gravatar Rhee
    April 1, 2014 - 8:39 am | Permalink

    Artists change the world, too, and can remind us why life is worth living. Bach lived his faith, too. His vocation was music. Bach for the Golden Halo!!!

  14. Cate M.'s Gravatar Cate M.
    April 1, 2014 - 8:40 am | Permalink

    I’ve changed my vote in my head many times, but then played “O Sacred Head Sore Wounded” (Kings College Choir version), so cast an emotional vote for JS Bach. Ah, the glory!
    This year’s LM is making me feel very, very bipolar. I frequently want to vote for both candidates!

    • Etta Eskridge's Gravatar Etta Eskridge
      April 1, 2014 - 10:32 am | Permalink

      I agree, lots of tough matchups! But here it is Anna Cooper all the way. I LOVE Bach but she had way too many obstacles to overcome and persevered in the real world while Bach lived in a cocoon and comfort. In terms of learning life’s lessons from these saints, it is Anna because everyone can emulate her, but only Bach could be Bach.

      • Chris's Gravatar Chris
        April 1, 2014 - 1:31 pm | Permalink

        Who was “more saintly’ is certainly a tough choice; but in the interest of accuracy, Bach also had many obstacles to overcome, and by no means did he live in a cocoon. He was jailed, fired, lost his beloved first wife while he was away, and had a job application (the Brandenburg Concertos) rejected. Then there was Leipzig.

      • Rhee's Gravatar Rhee
        April 1, 2014 - 10:58 pm | Permalink

        Only Anna could be Anna! But we can emulate any of the saints, including Bach, when we are inspired by their lives and work.

  15. Julie's Gravatar Julie
    April 1, 2014 - 8:45 am | Permalink

    A very tough choice today. Just wanted to add that there’s no reason to make digs at Gloria Steinem, who has done amazing things in her life for the betterment of all. Comparisons are often odious. J.S. Bach was great; Anna Cooper was great; and so is Gloria Steinem (I give thanks that you are well and with us and at the beginning of your 81st year. Amen).

    • Beth's Gravatar Beth
      April 1, 2014 - 11:19 am | Permalink

      Yes, this. Neither Anna Cooper nor Gloria Steinem’s work is less, or less worthy of being celebrated, because it was not exactly like the other’s. Putting down one great woman in order to celebrate another does nothing to advance either feminism or the Gospel.

  16. Joy's Gravatar Joy
    April 1, 2014 - 8:46 am | Permalink

    My oh my oh my…Such a choice! Sticking with Anna today. Love JS so much but this second look at Anna has moved me with thoughts of bravery and devotion and determination to be a faithful disciple no matter the odds.

  17. Valerie DeBenedette's Gravatar Valerie DeBenedette
    April 1, 2014 - 8:46 am | Permalink

    When they sent Voyager up into space with the recording of human voices, someone said that we should just send a recording of Bach’s work, but added that it might seem like bragging.
    I’m voting Bach for his devotion and God-given, God-glorifying talent. Sorry, Anna.

  18. Cat's Gravatar Cat
    April 1, 2014 - 8:54 am | Permalink

    Killer B’s … I immediately thought of a band at B.B. King’s in Memphis: Miss Ruby and the Killer Bees … but that’s a whole other story … thanks for the memory! Good times. Now on to Anna and Bach …

  19. April 1, 2014 - 9:01 am | Permalink

    I simply must correct a previous commenter.

    According to contemporary English sources, the angels in Heaven do *not* in fact sing Bach, but rather they play electric guitar like Mark Knopfler.

    The Very Irreverend Douglas Adams testifies in So Long, And Thanks For All the Fish (1984) that “Mark Knopfler has an extraordinary ability to make a Schecter Custom Stratocaster hoot and sing like angels on a Saturday night, exhausted from being good all week and needing a stiff drink.”

    Anna Cooper was born in dire straits, and with five kids and a PhD thesis to write she must often have been exhausted from being good all week, so she’s got my vote today!

    • April 1, 2014 - 9:06 am | Permalink

      Thanks, Rodger! Love this. Maybe we should campaign for Mark Knopfler for next year’s bracket?

      • April 1, 2014 - 9:15 am | Permalink

        Knopfler *and* Adams, but knowing the cruelty of the SEC they’d be paired against each other, forcing us into yet another cruel decision.

        • April 1, 2014 - 10:08 am | Permalink

          True. With the winner to take on Fred Rogers.

          • Mark D.'s Gravatar Mark D.
            April 1, 2014 - 10:20 am | Permalink


          • rellingrw's Gravatar rellingrw
            April 1, 2014 - 2:16 pm | Permalink

            You are naughty to bring up Fred Rogers, who cannot be nominated, as you well know.

      • John Miller's Gravatar John Miller
        April 1, 2014 - 1:21 pm | Permalink

        Hey, if we are adding Saints to the Calendar via the Lent Madness comments, I want a spot for Alan Turing. We need a LGBT saint and none of Lent Madness would be possible without Turring’s work.

    • Phil's Gravatar Phil
      April 1, 2014 - 5:55 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, but even your electric guitar player was dependent on J.S. Bach!

  20. Terry Suruda's Gravatar Terry Suruda
    April 1, 2014 - 9:03 am | Permalink

    Gloria Steinem, Bella Abzug, Shirley Chisholm, Anna Cooper- halos for them all!

    • Julie's Gravatar Julie
      April 1, 2014 - 10:06 am | Permalink


  21. Thomas van Brunt's Gravatar Thomas van Brunt
    April 1, 2014 - 9:06 am | Permalink

    After listening to a few measures of …. Well, nearly anything JSB wrote…he gets not only my vote here but the Golden Halo for this year. Try Glen Gould with the well tempered whatchamacallit.

  22. Diane Amison-Loring's Gravatar Diane Amison-Loring
    April 1, 2014 - 9:07 am | Permalink

    Just a thought. How about listing the contenders in alphabetical order by last name (or only name)? That way people might actually read all of the info instead of feeling like there is a subtle push towards the more recent individual?

  23. Kathleen Sheehy's Gravatar Kathleen Sheehy
    April 1, 2014 - 9:07 am | Permalink

    I couldn’t choose on merit – how could I?! So I went with consciousness-raising. Bach is universally loved and his work continues to transform listeners, but Anna’s work is far from done, so she gets my vote.

  24. Another Peg's Gravatar Another Peg
    April 1, 2014 - 9:07 am | Permalink

    I have to think of today as win-win–two great souls using their different gifts to glorify God and reshape Christianity. I’m going Bach. I tried to find a quote I thought came from him but instead found this quote about him that expresses his Halo-worthiness. Philosopher Alain de Botton said, “Most contemporary music is about love between two people. What makes Bach’s music particularly striking is that it’s about the love of God. This should present a hurdle to someone who, like me, doesn’t believe in God — but it doesn’t.

    “What I appreciate in Bach is his ability to suggest to me what a belief in God feels like. His music seems to me to be about devotion to a perfect ideal — something purer, better, higher…”

    – See more at:

  25. MaurineRuby's Gravatar MaurineRuby
    April 1, 2014 - 9:08 am | Permalink

    I do not know how in the world to break the tie between these two saints. Bach’s enduring music speaks for itself…. I was all set to vote for him, till I read in Anna Cooper’s blurb, “The earnest well-trained Christian young woman, as a teacher, as a home-maker, as wife, mother, or silent influence even, is as potent a missionary agency among our people as is the theologian.. . .” That hit me very hard, as right now, I’m trying to get used to being an empty-nester, and wondering where my 30 years of being a homemaker, wife and mother takes me in this next part of my life. Cooper’s words are very, very comforting and inspiring. And I love what she did for “the least of these.”

  26. Diane Amison-Loring's Gravatar Diane Amison-Loring
    April 1, 2014 - 9:10 am | Permalink

    There is something wrong with the page today. I refreshed the page and it gave me another chance to vote.
    I’m very tempted, but….I hope this isn’t an April Fool’s joke.

  27. April 1, 2014 - 9:12 am | Permalink

    Agreed, really hard choice and Anna is the obvious one. But not everyone has the inner strength to take on what Anna did. Some can only use the talents God gave them and work less spectacularly amidst their other short-comings. That might be me. I went with Bach.

  28. Robert Stiefel's Gravatar Robert Stiefel
    April 1, 2014 - 9:14 am | Permalink

    Behold! A bit of a rant followed by a benign observation:

    One of us faults Bach for having had two wives and twenty children? Do you think that he did not grieve at the death of his first wife? Or at the death of each child that did not survive childhood? It was the first half of the 18th Century, for God’s sake! It was necessary to have a good number of children that at least some would survive to adulthood. And women died often of childbirth. Not the 21st Century or even the 20th. Bach loved his family and worked hard to sustain them. He served two major churches at the same time as music director and ran a choir school and sought out and rehearsed orchestra members. The bio did not mention his great compositions such as the B-Minor Mass or the St. Matthew Passion or the Well Tempered Keyboard or a great number of works for the organ that are well known world-wide or the fact that he composed a cantata for each Sunday of a three year cycle (about a third of which are lost to us). I, too, like to listen to Bach’s music, and when I do it changes my life, again and gain. Now: when are we going to get around to adding Mozart to the calendar of Saints, given that we already have Bach and Handel?

    For whatever it’s worth, for the third time in a row we are preferring an American, recently declared a Saint by the General Convention of The Episcopal Church. I don’t think this reflects a parochialism so much as a sign of what concerns us deeply and rightly at the present time in our society, namely “the dignity of every human being” with regard to full acceptance and equal opportunity regardless of gender, race, ethnicity or sexual orientation. As this game moves towards its final round, perhaps we indirectly learn more and more about ourselves from the voting patterns, patterns which in part were influenced by the Archbishops’ initial choices and pairings of candidates.

    • April 1, 2014 - 9:39 am | Permalink

      I had a bit of a rant too. I would add that Bach’s music did add to the dignity of every human being and brought beauty into a world that is too often anything bu beautiful. I searched Bach & charity – over 4 million hits. I’d say he’s still helping those in need and the church’s ministry through use of his music for fundraisers and more.

      • rellingrw's Gravatar rellingrw
        April 1, 2014 - 2:21 pm | Permalink

        I teach in community college and see the results of our unfair educational system and its legacy everyday. It is so nice that some of you lead this marvellous cocooned existence where you are only concerned that you experience God in an appropriate manner. I think we are also called to do justice and love our neighbors as ourselves. Anna Cooper certainly worked to accomplish both of those things over a long time. I vot for Anna Cooper because I vote for doing justice.

        • April 1, 2014 - 4:25 pm | Permalink

          Intended or not, it looks like you hit the reply to my comment, so I must ask. Cocooned as when I worked in the housing projects protecting others at the risk of my own life or when I served as a missionary in South Dakota living with Native Americans in the poorest counties in our nation? Or, maybe you refer to when I hated God because of the pain I experienced in my seriously dysfunctional family growing up? Likely none of this, because you don’t know me or what I think – never mind others. I can’t speak for them, but seriously, whether directed at me or Robert, or another, I find your comments rather less than charitable. Being for justice is great and a biblical value, but so is mercy toward others. Like it or not, corporate and individual worship is part of our call as Christians (loving God) as well, but I don’t see anyone saying they are only concerned with experiencing God in an appropriate manner. Bach’s music still has evangelical value (in the sense of the preaching of the Christian Gospel) centuries later. That’s what I hear as the corps of Robert’s commentary. It takes all of us with our varied gifts to make the church and help usher in the kingdom of God. you aren’t wrong for voting for Anna Cooper, but no one is wrong for voting for Bach either. It is just a game after all, and they are both saints. And by the way, I serve in a low liturgical congregation in a denomination that traditional holds being “only concerned” with worshiping God in “an appropriate manner” a symptom of adiaphora, matters not regarded as essential to faith.

          • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
            April 1, 2014 - 10:38 pm | Permalink


        • Phil's Gravatar Phil
          April 1, 2014 - 10:26 pm | Permalink

          I have a law degree and an MD and wanted to work for justice in the health care system by advocating for people. I became disabled so I can no longer do that the way I wanted to. I still try to write and comment in that area, that is a slow process though. I also have written on the Dred Scott decision. Just exactly how am I cocooned? Sorry, but Anna is only one of many who have worked for justice. Bach and his music, on the other hand, have uniquely impacted church music and the church. His music has consoled and uplifted and transformed millions over several centuries and will continue to do so for all time. And it does not matter what denomination you, or what kind of church music. To repeat a quote from Martin Luther that I posted elsewhere on this thread: “Beautiful music is the art of the prophets that can calm the agitations of the soul it is one of the most magnificent and delightful presents God has given us.” Indeed, sacred music empowers us to do justice and to show mercy and to walk with God! Rather I think that all too many here, considering the vote, really do not understand Bach’s contribution to all mankind!

          • Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
            April 1, 2014 - 10:39 pm | Permalink

            Amen! Where is the like button when you need it?

    • April 1, 2014 - 9:40 am | Permalink

      PPS My life is changed over and over again too when I listen to his music. Nicely said.

    • Ginny's Gravatar Ginny
      April 1, 2014 - 10:01 am | Permalink

      I certainly agree with your rant. Especially the part where you said that we are preferring American, recently declared saints. I decided to vote for Bach, and as I was doing so, I said that I knew Anna Cooper would “win” because she is the more contemporary of the two which does seem to be the trend.

    • Lois's Gravatar Lois
      April 1, 2014 - 11:41 am | Permalink

      Yes, well said. Almost all the contests are going to the relatively contemporary, American, social activist saints. How on earth can people say that Bach didn’t “live” his faith?! Seems that a “saint” has to fit our own parochial view of what righteousness is.

    • April 1, 2014 - 11:58 am | Permalink


      We didn’t chose the saints for the Bracket. That was the Supreme Executive Committee. We are Just commentators.

    • Rhee's Gravatar Rhee
      April 1, 2014 - 11:07 pm | Permalink

      Learn more and more about ourselves?? What do you think this is, some kind of spiritual discipline with soul-searching and examination of conscience?!

  29. Susan Fiore's Gravatar Susan Fiore
    April 1, 2014 - 9:19 am | Permalink

    If anyone else were in competition with Anna Cooper today, she would get my vote. But Bach — God broke the mold after She created Bach. It is said that “the angels play Bach for God, Mozart for themselves” (by no less an authority than the author of Stars in a Dark World, The Rev. John-Julian Swanson, OJN). The angels definitely do not play electric guitars! (If you have to plug it into an electrical outlet, it’s an appliance, not a musical instrument.)

    • Victor of Sturbridge's Gravatar Victor of Sturbridge
      April 1, 2014 - 10:44 am | Permalink

      Karl Barth also made the “angels play for Bach / for Mozart” remark, but it need not be copying one from the other.

      • Victor of Sturbridge's Gravatar Victor of Sturbridge
        April 1, 2014 - 10:45 am | Permalink

        I meant “Mozart for themselves, Bach for God.”

      • Susan Fiore's Gravatar Susan Fiore
        April 1, 2014 - 10:58 am | Permalink

        Indeed not — great people read other great people, remember what they wrote and frequently quote them.

  30. Emily Correll's Gravatar Emily Correll
    April 1, 2014 - 9:21 am | Permalink

    Talk about tough. A student in our county History Day competition did a really wonderful performance entry on Anna Julia Cooper and will be going on to the state competition. In spite of the coincidence and my admiration for someone who fought for rights and education for all, I still had to go for Bach. His music gives glory to God and still inspires me.

  31. April 1, 2014 - 9:28 am | Permalink

    I think today offers us an opportunity to reflect upon vocation. To discount Bach’s music as less saintly then hands on advocacy when God used it to attract people to church, reach people who were outside it, encourage the sick and dying, and bless our worship seems terribly shortsighted. Indeed, many of our congregations throughout the centuries have raised funds for ministry, and secular charities too (i.e. We can’t be more than God created us to be, and Bach’s gifts were used to the glory of God and still resonate with people. I’m not sure God sees us based on such a human scale of value as some seem to propose in their comments. God is in the ordinary as well as the extraordinary. Everything is used for the good of those who love our Lord. Every vocation whether that of stay at home mom, preacher, teacher, public servants, yes, even banker, salesman, and other jobs connected to earning our daily bread become sacred when we seek to share God’s love. Church musicians and vocalists (even bassoonists) have just as sacred and vital a ministry as the pastor or social outreach chair. Jesus needs to be present throughout our world, even in its economy, businesses and homes. He uses us to be present. We can only seek to fulfill the purpose God has given us, not to create our own or chose where Jesus asks us to follow. Both candidates are saints today. We might have a favorite (someone we relate to or inspires us more), but the great cloud of witnesses are like individual notes – all critical to the beautiful music being written by our Lord. Today, I vote for Bach, but you aren’t wrong to vote for Anna. For fun, you might like to visit my Pinterest board on Bach:

    • Peggy's Gravatar Peggy
      April 1, 2014 - 10:20 am | Permalink

      Thank you.

    • Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
      April 1, 2014 - 10:35 am | Permalink

      Well put. Another “thank you” for the post.

    • April 1, 2014 - 2:04 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Lou Florio, for your beautiful thoughts on vocations. It’s responses like these that make Lent Madness so rewarding.

    • Ginny Rodriguez's Gravatar Ginny Rodriguez
      April 1, 2014 - 3:12 pm | Permalink

      Thank you, Lou !

  32. April 1, 2014 - 9:28 am | Permalink

    After going to to website for the Anna Cooper School, I found this about the school, and felt I must vote for Anna today. Yes, Bach’s work allows us to soar, but Anna reminds us that we must come down to earth and do the hard work of living with one another:

    “Anna Julia Cooper Episcopal School believes that education deepens life. True education instills a sense of mystery and wonder and a love for God and our neighbor. Education is essentially liberating. It helps us discern the right path and to follow it. This is freedom: having the strength of mind to love and serve. God sustains us in this pursuit and the example of Jesus remains our highest standard.”

  33. Kathy Daum's Gravatar Kathy Daum
    April 1, 2014 - 9:30 am | Permalink

    Once we get to this level, it is so hard to choose. Once again, both candidates are wonderful.

  34. Linda Dunn's Gravatar Linda Dunn
    April 1, 2014 - 9:42 am | Permalink

    Anna Cooper has my admiration for her steadfast commitment to learning and her leadership in the struggle for human rights. But, sometimes we all have to look toward the refreshment of the soul. Without the music of JS Bach our humanity would lose a connection to the divine. When one is struggling in the trenches it is music that soothes and uplifts our soul; whether the music of prayer, words, or bassoon, all embodied in the works of Bach.

  35. Mary-Eileen's Gravatar Mary-Eileen
    April 1, 2014 - 9:44 am | Permalink

    Not sure why Maria Kane felt it necessary to make some sharp digs at Gloria Steinem in her article about Anna Cooper. Putting women into competition with one another is just another tactic to silence and intimidate. Is that really something Anna Cooper would have endorsed? Or Gloria Steinem? I think not.

  36. aleathia (dolores)nicholson's Gravatar aleathia (dolores)nicholson
    April 1, 2014 - 9:44 am | Permalink

    Bach will undoubtedly win this one but my vote will count in my heart where I honor my personal s/hero ( I heard that used once and thought…”why not?”) rather than heroine, Anna Julia Cooper who fought for the rights of the mis-served and underserved and never served in the first place. Gee, talk about ya run-on sentences ! All to the glory of God… AJC, not moi.

  37. Bob Corey's Gravatar Bob Corey
    April 1, 2014 - 9:53 am | Permalink

    I expect when we reach the beyond, the saints we find glorified in Heaven will be people of no renown. Matthew 6:1-8. Working for the sake of renown, of course, leaves us bereft of the same. But even unsought renown makes canonical saints less saintly than anonymous saints — my opinion. But we only have canonical saints to discuss, until we meet the others in Glory.

    So I find I have a pop-culture anti-bias against such as Stowe and Bach. I voted for Ms. Cooper, though she has her own pop-culture following, led by my favorite talking head, MHP — though I only discovered that after my vote. I also discovered that Ms. Cooper was a fan of Ms. Stowe, perhaps a material observation for an eventual matchup. I’m simply impressed that Ms. Cooper found her beacon of truth, and held to it against the winds of temporal triumph. That’s what saints do. Ephesians 4:14.

    Bach’s was the wind and the waves, but indeed, of God’s own Spirit, not of schemers. The irresistible force has met the immovable object, and AJC prevails.

  38. JoAnn Lumley's Gravatar JoAnn Lumley
    April 1, 2014 - 9:53 am | Permalink

    While Anna may be assured of a place in heaven, Bach has had a place in my heart for nearly 70 years, ( I was part of a children’s choir). Therefore must vote for Bach.

  39. Carey's Gravatar Carey
    April 1, 2014 - 9:54 am | Permalink

    It just keeps getting increasingly difficult but in the end Anna received my vote. Such a powerful woman

  40. Elaine Hood Culver's Gravatar Elaine Hood Culver
    April 1, 2014 - 9:56 am | Permalink

    Another dead heat. I came within a millimeter of flipping a coin. I finally voted for Anna Cooper because she got her Ph.D. at 67. Age should not be an impediment to any accomplishment or any contribution one might want to make to the greater good.

  41. Mary's Gravatar Mary
    April 1, 2014 - 10:03 am | Permalink

    Interesting that a vast number of the comments favor one saint, but the vote tally indicates a lead by the other. Perhaps people are quiet but convinced by Cooper and just do the work that needs to be done? Still don’t know who but inspired by both.

  42. Marjory Lange's Gravatar Marjory Lange
    April 1, 2014 - 10:07 am | Permalink

    Hard, no, impossible to make a choice when there is so little common ground, no point for comparison.

  43. billfleming's Gravatar billfleming
    April 1, 2014 - 10:12 am | Permalink

    Bach is an incredible choice BUT Anna Cooper has done so much in the field of education and the stands taken on racial issue, she HAS TO BE MY CHOICE.

  44. Nancy's Gravatar Nancy
    April 1, 2014 - 10:14 am | Permalink

    Love Bach’s music, but have to go with Anna. I wonder where we would be now had it not been for her (as well as many others) stick-ability, fortitude, vision, strength, desire, and love.

  45. billfleming's Gravatar billfleming
    April 1, 2014 - 10:16 am | Permalink


  46. billfleming's Gravatar billfleming
    April 1, 2014 - 10:19 am | Permalink


  47. Claudia Horner's Gravatar Claudia Horner
    April 1, 2014 - 10:21 am | Permalink

    We love Bach’s music but it is time to share the love — yay Anna!

  48. Bob Corey's Gravatar Bob Corey
    April 1, 2014 - 10:27 am | Permalink

    Humorless stridency
    Meet tongue in cheek
    Lose your composure
    Bloviate, freak
    Bunny tailed Steinem
    Mistress of MS.
    Just simply is

  49. Kristine's Gravatar Kristine
    April 1, 2014 - 10:42 am | Permalink

    Perhaps I am too shallow for my own good, but Bach’s music makes my soul soar. Anna was undoubtedly saintly & wonderful, but my life is mired in the prosaic (and she comes across that way to me) & Bach lifts me above it.

  50. Verdery's Gravatar Verdery
    April 1, 2014 - 10:43 am | Permalink

    I have immense admiration for Ms. Cooper, her witness, and her work. Since she’s well ahead, I’m going with Bach, whose work I’ve sung and played for most of my life and heard for probably all of it.
    If Anna does go on to win the Golden Halo, Johann will write a cantata–or perhaps even an oratorio–for the occasion.

    • Germaine's Gravatar Germaine
      April 2, 2014 - 3:09 am | Permalink

      Well, dear friend, I agree with you. Both saints are equally deserving of our vote, yet the race remains lopsided at this hour. I, too, am voting for Bach, not because I can sing well (I can’t), but because his music so glorifies God and feeds the soul…and will do so forever.

  51. Gigi's Gravatar Gigi
    April 1, 2014 - 10:47 am | Permalink

    Hard choice, but ended up going with Bach after I remembered “Psalms” from the Bible. Anna was a saint, too, but there are so many good people through the ages who “do,” but not many who compose.

  52. JadeG's Gravatar JadeG
    April 1, 2014 - 10:51 am | Permalink

    Anna Cooper sounds worthy and admirable, but her bio makes an unnecessary slam at Gloria Steinem, a saint in her own right. Traveling the world for a lifetime, working for women’s and human rights, leaving personal life second to her work, Gloria doesn’t deserve disdain because she didn’t stay home to study and gain credentials.
    I read these contests every day and that’s the first time I’ve seen nastiness enter the arena. Poor job, Maria Kane!

  53. Phil's Gravatar Phil
    April 1, 2014 - 10:51 am | Permalink

    The impact of Bach’s music is universal and has spanned centuries and as has been pointed out will continue to do so for many centuries to come, long after all of us are long gone. There is not a church musician alive who has not been influenced by J.S. Bach! And as far as his two wives and 20 children, in those days lots of people had large families, and his first wife died suddenly. What was he supposed to do, remain alone the rest of his life? Come on! Many of his children also contributed in significant ways to the church musically. Having a large family is hardly a sin!

    Without discounting Anna Cooper’s work, that work is hardly unique and certainly does not have the long-lasting and universal impact of Bach. Other women have contributed in the same ways as Anna Cooper. This contest should be about what makes the person unique as a saint. Others have certainly contributed to an equal extent to the cause of freedom and equality for all. Where is Anna set apart? I never heard of Anna before this contest, but as I said, there is not a church musician alive who not only has not heard of Bach, but who has not been profoundly influenced by Bach. There is simply no comparison!

    J.S. Bach: Motet BWV 227 ‘Jesu, meine Freude’

    • Mark Howard's Gravatar Mark Howard
      April 1, 2014 - 11:20 am | Permalink

      I couldn’t agree more. I’m a social worker and stand on the shoulders of countless saints like Anna Cooper every day. But the specific impact of JS Bach’s music – not just music in general – on humanity’s sacred and spiritual existence can not be understated. Bach’s music, unlike music created by any other human being, is spiritual food that nourishes us so that we may go out and do the work of Anna Cooper.

      • Carolyn's Gravatar Carolyn
        April 1, 2014 - 8:02 pm | Permalink

        Have read ALL the comments and this is the one that sealed it for me. I love learning about all the saints this way and often feel guilty not voting for someone who did wonderfully important work that leaves me in awe. But for me, too, Bach’s music is “spiritual food that nourishes us so that we may go out and do the work of Anna Cooper.” And being a life-long Lutheran and choir member has nothing to do with my choice. But the Brandenberg Concertos will always be my favorite music.

  54. Louise's Gravatar Louise
    April 1, 2014 - 10:54 am | Permalink

    Well said, Phil…in all respect to Anna Julia!

  55. Phil's Gravatar Phil
    April 1, 2014 - 10:59 am | Permalink

    Next to the Word of God, the noble art of music is the greatest treasure in the world. — Martin Luther

    Music is the art of the prophets and the gift of God — Martin Luther

    Beautiful music is the art of the prophets that can calm the agitations of the soul it is one of the most magnificent and delightful presents God has given us.
    — Martin Luther

  56. Phil's Gravatar Phil
    April 1, 2014 - 11:05 am | Permalink

    Those who sing pray twice – St. Augustine of Hippo

  57. Heather White's Gravatar Heather White
    April 1, 2014 - 11:30 am | Permalink

    If you are really torn, you can go to and vote for Bach in their composer’s bracket (among others) and vote for Anna here. Or you can vote the Bach ticket all the way!

  58. Thomas van Brunt's Gravatar Thomas van Brunt
    April 1, 2014 - 11:32 am | Permalink

    People seem to be voting for the underdog. I don’t mean that maliciously. Bach is in a much higher league than the holy Ms. Cooper.

    • rellingrw's Gravatar rellingrw
      April 1, 2014 - 2:23 pm | Permalink

      A higher league in what view of the world? If we are talking about doing saintly work and fulfilling those things which we have been called to do, like justice, then I really do not see how Bach is in a higher league in any sense.

      • Phil's Gravatar Phil
        April 1, 2014 - 2:55 pm | Permalink

        Bach has probably converted and uplifted more souls than Anna Cooper ever will, and will continue to do so for ages to come!

        Bach, J.S. – BWV 1 – 1. Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern
        Soli deo gloria!

  59. Beth's Gravatar Beth
    April 1, 2014 - 11:33 am | Permalink

    She’s great, but Bach…! His music still speaks volumes to us.

  60. April 1, 2014 - 11:44 am | Permalink

    Bach is still reaching the masses in many ways –
    jazzy Bach:
    break-dancing Bach:
    spoon with Bach:
    raise a glass to Bach:
    interpret Bach in a modern way:
    Bach is always popular with the masses – vote for him!

    More (if interested) can be found at:

    • Phil's Gravatar Phil
      April 1, 2014 - 2:59 pm | Permalink

      And Bach has influenced music, church music, in so many more subtle ways that it is difficult to enumerate! He is an inspiration to all who have ever sung in the church, played an instrument in the glory of God’s name, or otherwise participated in church music. Even the people in the pews — how many times do any of us sing hymns that come to us from Bach?!

  61. Martha Frances's Gravatar Martha Frances
    April 1, 2014 - 12:04 pm | Permalink

    The hardest decision thus far! Bach is my favorite classical musician & I have much affection for any man who was energetic enough to write as much as he did & still lusty enough to have 22 children! However, Bach is well-known enough already that he can step aside to have people learn more about Anna (not Alice) Cooper who provided so much for those who most needed it. Thanks be for Anna & her commitment to women & to her race.

  62. Kate Guistolise's Gravatar Kate Guistolise
    April 1, 2014 - 12:05 pm | Permalink

    Really, really tough choice today! Thank you all for your thoughtful comments. Although I honor Bach immensely and voted for Ancient Alcuin yesterday, today I must cast my vote for Ms. Contemporary Anna Cooper.

  63. April 1, 2014 - 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Anybody else find it ironic that what we are being asked to do by assigning a greater value to one of these saints, i.e., valuing one more than the other, is what Anna Cooper tried to teach us not to do. These two “saints” are literally incomparable, (the proverbial apples and oranges scenario) and we have the audacity and arrogance to try to delineate between and quantify, so to speak, the value of their spiritual contributions? Ridiculous — as has been this whole process. We justify doing this on the basis of “lightening” Lent, but doing so is irreverent to those “saints” we’ve been learning about and to God and Jesus who, by their grace, don’t keep score on us. Thank God and Jesus for that! Jesus certainly didn’t have a lightened spiritual experience in his 40 days prior to His crucifixion. Making Lent a competition of saints seems to me to be off the mark of what Jesus ultimate sacrifice for us is all about. For what it’s worth, my wife and I split our votes because the results should be 50-50. Plain and simple. No more, no less. No competition. Only respect, acceptance, love, awe and thanks to the saints for their gifts and contributions.

    • Janet Lee's Gravatar Janet Lee
      April 1, 2014 - 1:18 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for posting this, Mr. Alexander — I’ve been feeling the same about Lent Madness lately but couldn’t express it as well as you did.

    • April 1, 2014 - 4:36 pm | Permalink

      Nicely said. I find Lent Madness is a great way for me to meet new saints from the great cloud of witnesses, and learn something new about others. I learn about the church and myself as well due to my preferences, what people share, etc. Such is the case with your last statement: “No competition. Only respect, acceptance, love, awe and thanks to the saints for their gifts and contributions.” Beautiful and something to surely think about. I jokingly root for one over the other, but you are right. There really is no contest.

  64. Millie Ericson's Gravatar Millie Ericson
    April 1, 2014 - 12:08 pm | Permalink

    Finally decided that Anna needs to be better known. Bach is an icon already. Let’s help Anna become more of one!

  65. Suzanne Foucault's Gravatar Suzanne Foucault
    April 1, 2014 - 12:14 pm | Permalink

    They are both saints. -not in higher or lower leagues, but in different leagues. I am drawn to voting for Cooper who appears to have exercised her ministry at much greater personal risk.

  66. April 1, 2014 - 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Had to go with JS Bach. We are studing St Matthew’s Passion in our Adult Class and am fascinated by the depth of Bach’s knowledge of the Bible. He wrote a cantata every week, taught in the school, and played for 2 churches for 27 years. So he had lots of children and two wives — not that unusual in that time!!!

  67. Jo Meachem's Gravatar Jo Meachem
    April 1, 2014 - 12:29 pm | Permalink

    Nooooo!!!!!! Please don’t make me choose between them! ;(

  68. Jayne's Gravatar Jayne
    April 1, 2014 - 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Tireless advocate…nuff said.

  69. Glenis Elliott's Gravatar Glenis Elliott
    April 1, 2014 - 12:53 pm | Permalink

    I love the music and poems by Bach, but Anna gets my vote this time!!!! She brought a great deal of courage and faith with her and helped so my women and continues to do so even now. After all that is said it was still a tough one!!

  70. Rev. Lucy Porter's Gravatar Rev. Lucy Porter
    April 1, 2014 - 12:54 pm | Permalink

    Since I was about 10 years old and first sang “Here Yet Awhile” from the “St. Matthew Passion” my soul has been blessed and fed by the music of Johann Sebastian Bach and the inspiration of his life. He is still a powerful evangelist. I vote for him.

  71. JAMG's Gravatar JAMG
    April 1, 2014 - 12:56 pm | Permalink

    Seems to me voters prefer doers. Go Anna!

    • Dawn's Gravatar Dawn
      April 1, 2014 - 2:11 pm | Permalink

      We all have different ways of doing, according to our gifts. Go J.S. Bach (but indeed, well done, Anna)!

    • Phil's Gravatar Phil
      April 1, 2014 - 10:28 pm | Permalink

      How is Bach not a “doer”?

  72. Margaret Moran's Gravatar Margaret Moran
    April 1, 2014 - 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Oh please put Bach in! We need some glorious relief.

  73. ted's Gravatar ted
    April 1, 2014 - 1:09 pm | Permalink

    The AB’s have declared themselves “Just commentators,” but whoever is responsible for this paring is ein ubel tater. Apologies, JSB my keyboard has no u umlaut! Bach’s Passion of St. John will turn every human heart that is blessed with ears. Thank you, God for the gift of such a universal language and for the human who used the gift to reveal your glory.

  74. Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
    April 1, 2014 - 1:17 pm | Permalink

    I very very very carefully voted for Bach. Yesterday, while checking to see who was ahead, my fat finger accidentally tapped the vote button on my iPhone. My iPhone is my link to the internet. Screen’s a bit small you see. The sec put me wise to this. I promptly got in touch with them. Apologized profusely, groveled, begged, pleaded, kissed butt, none of which I am used to doing but hey, a little humility never hurt anyone.
    So. To the sec, thank you for giving old fat-fingers here another chance!!!
    Gratefully yours,
    Madeleine Baier 🙂

  75. John Lewis's Gravatar John Lewis
    April 1, 2014 - 1:21 pm | Permalink

    JSB had me when out of nowhere (nowhere–isn’t that were the wind that is the Spirit comes from?) the “Misericordia” of his “Magnificat” started playing in my mind. Worth a hundred sermons on the nature of mercy.

  76. John Lewis's Gravatar John Lewis
    April 1, 2014 - 1:39 pm | Permalink

    add this to the collection of contemporary Bachiana:

    takin’ it to the streets

  77. Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
    April 1, 2014 - 1:40 pm | Permalink

    Phil, thank you for posting the lovely Bach piece! The choir I am part of has performed his genius, and while it’s undoubtedly hard work, I can almost feel the man and his faith working through me.

    • Phil's Gravatar Phil
      April 1, 2014 - 10:53 pm | Permalink

      I would post lots more, but I get the feeling that the only ones paying attention are those of us who already know Bach’s music and its tremendous impact. It makes me sad, because I know that Bach has impacted even those who don’t know his music and don’t understand — it is impossible to be a member of any church and not be impacted by his music, because of his influence on even more contemporary musicians!

  78. George Packer's Gravatar George Packer
    April 1, 2014 - 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit!! Only a Saint could have composed the opening Sonatina.

  79. Barbara Johnson's Gravatar Barbara Johnson
    April 1, 2014 - 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Anna may be a worthy individual and I know that there are many women in the church who are truly unknown and yet important. That being said, I might comment that many years from now they will still be unknown but the glorious music of Bach will continue as long as there is life on this planet “this fragile earth, our island home. Perhaps beyond as Voyager continues its journey into space. What can compare with the St Matthew or St.John Passion, the Mass in B minor or the Magnificat. This music will continue to inspire individuals for many centuries to come. Soli Deo Gloria

    • Phil's Gravatar Phil
      April 1, 2014 - 2:23 pm | Permalink

      Well said!

  80. Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
    April 1, 2014 - 1:58 pm | Permalink

    Hi George, in english please? My german is pretty sketchy.

    Danke Schoen(spelling?),

  81. Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
    April 1, 2014 - 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Cooper is certainly a powerful spiritual worker, but for me as a professional church musician, this is a no-brainer. If I had to take the works of only one composer with me on a desert island, it would be “da Man” (as I call him; “da” a weak, de-emphasized syllable, as in “the’). Among the hundreds of composers who have written for the church, few have combined his mastery of technique with so profound a spirituality. I look forward to working with him when I meet him (I hope).

    • Phil's Gravatar Phil
      April 1, 2014 - 2:28 pm | Permalink

      Precisely, even if I didn’t do a solo, I would love to sing in a heavenly chorus with Bach directing one day!

  82. George Packer's Gravatar George Packer
    April 1, 2014 - 2:20 pm | Permalink

    God’s Time is always the best time!

    • Anthony Lee's Gravatar Anthony Lee
      April 1, 2014 - 8:21 pm | Permalink

      Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit

  83. Adrienne Jacobsen's Gravatar Adrienne Jacobsen
    April 1, 2014 - 2:30 pm | Permalink

    going with Anna, although it is a hard decision, as I am a musician

  84. Rich's Gravatar Rich
    April 1, 2014 - 2:47 pm | Permalink

    I had to vote for Bach, as his beloved and guiding music will probably be with the Church universal for the next 1000 years. Anna Cooper certainly belongs in the Saintly 16, but I am concerned that there is an emphasis right now towards those people whose service was during one period (albeit a significant one most certainly) in our relatively recent history. I like to see a spread over the entire life of the Church.

  85. Linda T.'s Gravatar Linda T.
    April 1, 2014 - 2:58 pm | Permalink

    I’m wondering if Lent Madness has become too big for its own good. The comments have become very serious and judgmental this year and I’m not finding this as enjoyable as I have in the past. I’m pretty sure Maria did not mean anything disrespectful by her comment. I thought this is supposed to be fun and joyful, not a litmus test of my spirituality. As I read the comments, I sometimes feel like I’m in the midst of a contemplative vs. social justice smackdown and I’ve been there too many times to want to visit it again. Can we just like the “saint” we like without dissing the one for whom we choose not to vote?

    • Glenis Elliott's Gravatar Glenis Elliott
      April 1, 2014 - 9:15 pm | Permalink

      I soooo agree with you Linda T. What I like most about Lent Madness is getting to learn about the saints. I have a list of books that I want to read after this year and the resources that we are given are great and helpful. Let’s keep this a positive, upbeat and fun Lent Madness, PLEASE!!

  86. Anne T's Gravatar Anne T
    April 1, 2014 - 3:00 pm | Permalink

    It had to be Bach, my musical companion for many decades. But thank you for introducing me to Anna Cooper.

  87. Joan's Gravatar Joan
    April 1, 2014 - 3:00 pm | Permalink

    almost no reason to vote, a woman wins every time.

    • elizabeth's Gravatar elizabeth
      April 1, 2014 - 6:28 pm | Permalink

      much as I hate to agree, I do…after today, not going to bother,,

  88. Emily Agnew's Gravatar Emily Agnew
    April 1, 2014 - 3:41 pm | Permalink

    I became a professional oboist after being inspired by Bach’s Cantata 140…the aria in which the soul sings a duet with Jesus…only realizing later that it was a spiritual experience I was having. Some days I’ve tried to vote more objectively (if there is such a thing!), and Julia is admirable, but I have to to go with J.S.

  89. April 1, 2014 - 3:51 pm | Permalink

    On behalf of all the saintly students at Anna Julia Cooper Episcopal School, I appreciate the encouragement and support of people voting for AJC, a saint that still inspires our community and personal lives.

  90. VT Patty's Gravatar VT Patty
    April 1, 2014 - 4:05 pm | Permalink

    Another day, another tough choice . . . .

  91. Martie Collins's Gravatar Martie Collins
    April 1, 2014 - 4:10 pm | Permalink

    Tacky to dis Gloria. Anna wouldn’t have

  92. Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
    April 1, 2014 - 4:50 pm | Permalink

    To rellingrw:
    Re your comment about Fred Rogers not being nominated: I’m reminded of an old axiom I read somewhere that goes something like this:
    “Man saying it can’t be done should not get in the way of woman doing it”. Seriously!!!!!!!
    Peace out, Madeleine Baier

  93. Ginny Rodriguez's Gravatar Ginny Rodriguez
    April 1, 2014 - 5:09 pm | Permalink

    All the saints in Lent Madness have served God in individualistic ways. Some of those ways were Very Individualistic…and kind of strange to us. The mystics, for instance, admirable, but I don’t understand them very much. Other saintly contests are difficult because I DO understand both saints and, also, their legacy for us. Anna and Johann are the latter . I vote for Bach because of “E Resuricit” in the Mass in B Minor. An astonishing moment! (And, Lent is over!) Yippie!

  94. Holly S.'s Gravatar Holly S.
    April 1, 2014 - 5:11 pm | Permalink

    I’m a teacher married to a sociologist (apparently she’s part of their cannon, too) so it was easy to vote for Cooper, but hard to vote against Bach.

  95. Sudie B's Gravatar Sudie B
    April 1, 2014 - 5:53 pm | Permalink

    “When words fail, music speaks” Bach’s music spoke to me and carried me through those times in my life when words failed. As fine a woman is Anna Cooper was (I voted for her in the last round), I had to vote for Bach, whose transcendent music has spoken to so many over the ages. S. D. G.

  96. Marjorie's Gravatar Marjorie
    April 1, 2014 - 6:21 pm | Permalink

    Next year how about giving us the opportunity to vote “both”? I didn’t want to vote against either one today, so ended up voting for the one who was running behind. There are days when I know which I want to choose, but today was impossible. If we could vote “both” on days like this, one person or the other would still win, but it’d be interesting to see how many other madpersons felt the day’s choice was impossible.

  97. Chari Avolio's Gravatar Chari Avolio
    April 1, 2014 - 6:30 pm | Permalink

    This is the first time I’ve struggled with a choice. As a choir member of 65 plus years I have to go with Bach. However, Anna did some amazing things, which continue to this day, just as Bach’s music. Hard choice.
    Chari Avolio

  98. Madeleine Baier's Gravatar Madeleine Baier
    April 1, 2014 - 6:36 pm | Permalink

    Oh come on. My shoes are tied. You can’t be more original than that?
    Jeez Louise all Friday….

  99. Sally Fox's Gravatar Sally Fox
    April 1, 2014 - 7:33 pm | Permalink

    Bach’s music has impacted the lives and faith of millions of people over the centuries and continues to do so today and into the future. Certainly Anna Cooper’s faith and ministry are also extremely worthwhile and impressive. However, the sheer quantity and quality of Bach’s music and its profound effect on centuries of the faithful sways my vote to him as I hope it does many others!

  100. Kathy Heikkinen's Gravatar Kathy Heikkinen
    April 1, 2014 - 7:39 pm | Permalink

    To be fair, I believe there should be a link to “St Matthew’s Passion”. Bach can speak for himself.

  101. Bob Mayer's Gravatar Bob Mayer
    April 1, 2014 - 7:57 pm | Permalink

    This reply comes late t0day; nonetheless, for me Bach endures, regardless.

  102. Deb Csikos-Vandrasik's Gravatar Deb Csikos-Vandrasik
    April 1, 2014 - 9:37 pm | Permalink

    I must, must, must vote for the composer of one of my favorite hymns of all time, especially since it is a Lenten hymn and this is Lent Madness

    Music speaks to the ages. Bach worshiped God through his music, and that music is still touching people on a very emotional, personal level every day.

  103. kew's Gravatar kew
    April 1, 2014 - 9:42 pm | Permalink

    I just learned that a grad school friend is in hospice, much too young. Given my friend’s life’s work, I suspect that Anna in particular will be welcoming her with open arms, and so I vote for Anna with great sadness tonight.

  104. Bowman's Gravatar Bowman
    April 1, 2014 - 9:45 pm | Permalink

    Easy, unfortunately. A halo for Bach, a musician of profound spirituality with a clearly Christian soul; a Presidential Medal of Freedom and an honorary degree for Cooper, advocate for social equality and learning. See yesterday’s objection to the unsoulful bios for modern American women. Bach.

  105. Elizabeth T. Massey's Gravatar Elizabeth T. Massey
    April 1, 2014 - 10:12 pm | Permalink

    Bach, through the universality of his profound music, reaches far and wide well beyond the bounds of Christianity, touching more people on more continents over the centuries than we can imagine. He composed in many musical forms, using all the instruments of his day including God’s instrument – the organ – and continues to send our hearts and souls heavenward. And look too to some of his descendants’ musical contributions. A true father in more ways than one.

    • Phil's Gravatar Phil
      April 1, 2014 - 10:29 pm | Permalink


  106. Phil's Gravatar Phil
    April 1, 2014 - 10:36 pm | Permalink

    From the St. Matthew Passion, Johann Sebastian Bach BWV 244, another of my favorite Lenten chorales:

    Bach BWV 244-3 Herzliebster Jesu, was hast du verbrochen

    • Phil's Gravatar Phil
      April 1, 2014 - 10:40 pm | Permalink

      For those who may not know, Herzliebster Jesu is the Lenten hymn “Oh Holy Jesus, What Law Hast Thou Broken?” And I could post examples of Bach’s music all day and it would fill up this thread and then some!

      • Phil's Gravatar Phil
        April 1, 2014 - 10:55 pm | Permalink

        The same hymn is also entitled “Ah, Holy Jesus” or “Oh Dearest Jesus” in some hymnals. All the same hymn with different translations!

  107. Miss Jan's Gravatar Miss Jan
    April 1, 2014 - 11:37 pm | Permalink

    As it looks now Johann Sebastian might not be Bach for the Elate Eight!

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