Today was the last Sunday in the church year, Christ the King Sunday, which means that we will be starting up another church year next Sunday. Today was a truly mixed bag — the organ music I played was by John Stanley (1712-1786) and Thomas Arne (1710-1788). The choir sang spirituals “My Lord what a morning,” by Paul Crabtree (b. 1960) and “Let us break bread together” arranged by William Hall. There were two hymns played on the piano, “Soon and very soon,” and a hymn commissioned for Bread for the World by contemporary composer Marty Haugen. I deferred to Miguel Felipe for the piano accompaniment, since I feel really uncomfortable playing the piano. That’s because I can’t use my feet for the bass line!
At last Monday’s Worship and Music meeting, we went around the room to express our views on music for Advent, and how it does or does not feed us. You see, at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu, we do not sing Christmas carols until Christmas Eve. Advent is a time of preparation — and it’s a penitential season to boot. That’s what I was taught in my liturgy classes in college. Some of my very favorite pieces of music are for Advent: the three settings of Nun komm der Heiden Heiland from Bach’s Great Eighteen Chorales and Herr Christ, der einge Gottes-Sohn from the Orgelbüchlein are my top favorites.
Yet, I went shopping at Ala Moana yesterday (and not for Christmas gifts!) and was horrified to hear the strains of “Jingle Bells” over the loudspeakers! On the weekend BEFORE Thanksgiving! So what we do at LCH during Advent is truly countercultural. I guess we really buck the trend to save Christmas music for the Twelve Days of Christmas — and that’s twelve days of Christmas, not just one!
Here’s a list of the choral music chosen for the Advent Procession next Sunday night, November 27th at 7:30 pm:
From lands that see the sun arise (Peter Hallock)
Duo seraphim (Samuel Scheidt)
This is the record of John (Orlando Gibbons)
Infinite light (carol)
A spotless rose (Herbert Howells)
Jerusalem gaude (Jacob Handl)
Bogoroditse devo (Serge Rachmaninov)
Cuncti simus (medieval carol, arr. Carl Crosier)
Magnificat from Second Service (Kenneth Leighton)
Veni Emmanuel (setting Katherine Crosier)