Sunday, December 5, 2010
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will.
So a choir of angels began a great tradition of sung praise literally at the dawn of the Christian era. These few words, sung to shepherds quietly tending flocks, continue to resound to this very day. Can we find a better way to join in this continuing chorus of praise?
It is with a great deal of pleasure that we are able to offer you this collection of carols and songs that remind us of that magnificent choir of angels, songs that evoke the joy and awe of the shepherds, the tenderness of the new mother’s touch, the shivering of the infant Jesus in the cold Bethlehem night.
Antonio Vivaldi captures the rapture of the angels elegantly, simply and very powerfully in his much loved setting of the Roman Catholic Gloria text. Randall Thompson’s “Glory to God in the highest” races excitedly, almost tripping over itself, in a 20th century invocation of the angel’s song of pronouncement and praise. The traditional Austrian carol “Still, Still, Still”, the traditional French carol “What is this Fragrance?” and Stephen Main’s 2007 award winning carol “The Darkest Midnight in December” all speak to the sensual aspects of that long ago night. The tender way Mary cradles the Savior in her arms, the peaceful stillness of the night, the overwhelming joy of the shepherds even as they struggle to not wake the infant King.
We are particularly pleased to be able to present three works by Breeseport native Dan Forrest. “Carol of Joy” and “Never a Brighter Star” are both poignant looks back to the time of the Nativity. Poet Eileen Berry’s texts provide fertile ground for Dan’s powerful writing leading to a profound experience for both singer and listener. Forrest’s “Hosanna” is simply intended to “reflect the irrepressible joy and celebration” that hails Christ as both Savior and King.
As is our custom in celebrating the Advent season, we encourage you to raise your voices in this unending stream of joy and praise. Please join us in our closing carols, the texts of which are printed in this program.
Most importantly, all of us wish each and every one of you, the most joyous and blessed Christmas this year.
Soli Deo Gloria!