The music of the Christmas season occupies a special place in our collective musical palette—beautiful expressions of our faith and a deep nostalgia. Come join us this Christmas Eve for a blessed worship experience as we celebrate the
gift of the Nativity.
At the Prelude, the Plymouth Ringers offer two Catalan carols: "Ríu, Ríu, Chíu" and "Fum, Fum, Fum." Two German chorale settings ("From Heaven Above to Earth I Come" and "In dulci jubilo") by Johann Sebastian Bach will be heard from the organ. Frank Martin's contemporary "Three Christmas Carols" will be offered by vocalist Blair Carpenter, flutist Aaron McGrew, and myself on piano.
The Chancel Choir sings a paraphrase of the medieval poem "Yes, Indeed!" in a delightfully quirky setting by Daniel Pinkham. An intimate rendering of "In Bethlehem Town" by Robert Lau follows the evening's Christmas Meditation.
A warm and playful organ setting of the French carol "Bring a Torch, Jeanette Isabella" by Keith Chapman closes our Christmas Eve celebration.
And join us for the 11:00 a.m. service on the Sunday after Christmas for a casual service of carols selected by...you! Vocalist Lucas Jackson joins us for a few holiday classics from Vince Guaraldi and John Lennon as well. Let's "gather around the piano" with some yuletide cheer!
At 9:00, the hopeful message of freedom and perseverance is heard in Paul McCartney's "Blackbird" as we gather. Advent carols bring this season to a close with bassist Peter Strening, staff singer Blair Carpenter, and guitarist Alan Skowron joining.
At 11:00, Marian expressions are heard through a setting of "Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming" by Johannes Brahms, the Marian antiphon "How Fair and How Pleasant Art Thou" by Marcel Dupré, and a setting of the "Magnificat" by David Ashley White offered by the Chancel Choir.
And please join us at 6:00 p.m. for the annual Longest Night Service with beautiful musical offerings of this fleeting Advent season by harpist Alaina Bongers, flutist Rebecca Quillen, and a vocal quartet including Blair Carpenter, Janet Hanlon, Lucas Jackson, and Aaron McGrew.
Songs of expectation, longing, and joy this Third Sunday of Advent
At 9:00 a.m., eclectic sounds from the folk, country, and jazz idioms and a moment from the organ round out the morning's musical offerings. Bassist Peter Strening, Resident Ukulelist Stuart Yoshida, and cantor Lucas Jackson join us.
At 11:00 a.m., the Plymouth Ringers offer the classic Advent carol "Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus" to the early American tune "Jefferson" from Southern Harmony (1835). A riveting and contemporary toccata on the hymn tune "Helmsley," associated with the Advent text "Lo, He Comes with Clouds Descending," closes the service with a joyful musical exclamation point.
The Chancel Choir sings the gentle "A Carol for Advent" by well-known hymn writer and composer Carl Schalk. The message of patient waiting in this fleeting season is beautifully expressed with a text by Rae E. Whitney. Violinist Harmony Tucker plays the accompanying descant.
A service of eclectic musical offerings at 9:00 with a jazzy take on the Gregorian Chant melody "Rorate caeli" (also referred to as the Advent Prose), a renaissance romp on "Psalm 42" from the Genevan psalter, and a dash of the Baroque from a Handel violin sonata. Violinist Harmony Tucker, bassist Peter Strening and cantor Blair Carpenter join us.
From the organ at 11:00, select variations from the chorale partita "Freu dich sehr, o meine Seele" (Rejoice Greatly, O My Soul) by German Baroque composer Georg Böhm will be offered. The tune (also called "Psalm 42" in Reformed traditions) is commonly associated with the Advent hymn "Comfort, Comfort Ye My People." Böhm was influential in the development of the chorale partita of which this work is a fine example.
Also at 11:00, the Chancel Choir offers the Advent carol "People Look East" in a delightful setting by notable American composer Craig Phillips.