On this First Sunday of Advent, letters of hope and promised returns from this day and days of old will be shared through the medium of music.
Cantor and cellist Lucas Jackson joins me in an intimate offering of Advent carols for the 9:00 a.m. service. We reprise our setting of the ancient tune "Veni Emmanuel" at the 11:00 a.m. service as well.
The organ speaks at the 11:00 a.m. service with the closing voluntary on the tune "Morning Song." Most closely associated with the Advent text "The King Shall Come When Morning Dawns," this majestic imagining of the tune resonates with the assured triumphal return of Jesus' reign on earth.
The Chancel Choir brings us yet another "Advent Message." Written by British composer Martin How, this work implores the heavens for Jesus to live in our hearts featuring John the Baptist's cries in the desert presented by Plymouth's Staff Singer Blair Carpenter.
As we near the end of this liturgical year, we remember the promise of love's reign in the ministry of Jesus the Christ and of the new kingdom on this very earth.
At 9:00, bassist Peter Strening and ukulelist Stuart Yoshida join in for songs of light, love, and thanks.
At 11:00, the Plymouth Ringers bring us an arrangement of "For the Beauty of the Earth" by Patricia Cota. The Chancel Choir offers up a setting of the Horatius Bonar text "O Love of God, How Strong and True" in a hymn by noted organ and choral composer Calvin Hampton. At the organ, a rousing setting of the German hymn tune "Lasst uns erfreuen" by my former CCM colleague Brenda Portman to close.
At 9:00 a.m., an eclectic blend of life-affirming songs steeped in folk, jazz, the Taizé tradition, and the music of Coldplay. Bassist Peter Strening and flutist Aaron McGrew join us.
At 11:00 a.m., two organ works from nineteenth century-born British composers. First, the bold and stately "Allegro ben Moderato" from Frank Bridge at the Prelude with Samuel Sebastian Wesley's classic gem "Choral Song" sending us out triumphantly into the world at service's end.
The Chancel Choir offers "Every Generation," an anthem by Carson Cooman based on his hymn tune "Sulak." The text by John Core sings the praises and life-giving support of the Church on earth. Organist Linda McGinn accompanies.
At 9:00, we visit South Africa for songs of community and mission —walking forward together in Christ. Bassist Peter Strening and Plymouth's Staff Singer Blair Carpenter joins us along with a very special guest percussionist.
At 11:00, two settings of contemporary Lutheran hymns by James Biery— a song of baptism and renewal ("O Blessed Spring") and a blistering toccata on the communion hymn "Thine the Amen Thine the Praise.") The Chancel Choir offers a Hal Hopson setting of the South African Freedom Song "Siyahamba," a bit of cross-pollination from the early morning service.