Home alone

Here we are in the music office after the midnight service.

Here we are after the midnight service.

Last night, Carl and I had a quiet dinner at home before he went off to sing with the St. Andrew’s Cathedral Choir at the midnight mass. He and I both remarked that it was the first time EVER in thirty-six years of marriage that we found ourselves alone on Christmas Eve for dinner. In the years that we were the musicians at the Lutheran Church of Honolulu, there was always a Family Candlelight Service at 5:00 pm, and a late night extravaganza at 10:30 pm. Many times we prepared a fancy holiday dinner for guests in between the early and late night services.

Last evening, though, we were home alone and watched streaming videos of church services from various churches, the National Cathedral, the National Basilica, and carols from Kings College Cambridge. I’m guessing that altogether we heard six different performances of “Adeste Fideles (O come, all ye faithful) and wouldn’t you know it, every single one used the descant and harmonization by David Willcocks for the last two verses, as they did at St. Andrew’s Cathedral Honolulu last night as well. In the years at LCH we alternated harmonizations by David Willcocks, Phillip Ledger and our own (published by GIA) on Adeste Fideles and Hark the herald angels sing (Mendelssohn).

Christmas Eve duet on "Silent Night"

Christmas Eve duet on “Silent Night”

This year, one of my students played a duet on “Silent Night” with his grandfather for the call to worship for the early service. I’m told that he heeded my instructions well — “double-check that the correct stops are pulled, and hands are on the correct starting notes.” He even changed the stops correctly on the repeat. I’m told he played it “like a prayer and it set exactly the right mood.” What a relief! I always tell my students that they must play their very best on Christmas Eve when people have high expectations. They don’t want to have their Christmas ruined by wrong notes!

I’ve decided that my favorite carol this year is David Hurd’s A stable lamp is lighted (ANDUJAR). I actually heard this carol for the first time in 1997 when it was played in a hymn festival by organist Ladd Thomas for the Region IX American Guild of Organists convention in Honolulu and was captivated by its sweet melody. The St. Andrew’s Cathedral Choir performed it with oboist Benjamin Peters on Sunday’s carol concert as well as for the offertory anthem for the midnight service.

1. A stable lamp is lighted
whose glow shall wake the sky;
the stars shall bend their voices,
and every stone shall cry.
And every stone shall cry,
and straw like gold shall shine;
a barn shall harbour heaven,
a stall become a shrine.

2. This child through David’s city
shall ride in triumph by;
the palm shall strew its branches,
and every stone shall cry.
And every stone shall cry,
though heavy, dull and dumb,
and lie within the roadway
to pave his kingdom come.

3. Yet he shall be forsaken,
and yielded up to die;
the sky shall groan and darken,
and every stone shall cry.
And every stone shall cry
for gifts of love abused;
God’s blood upon the spearhead,
God’s blood again refused.

4. But now, as at the ending,
the low is lifted high;
the stars shall bend their voices,
and every stone shall cry.
And every stone shall cry
in praises of the child
by whose descent among us
the worlds are reconciled.

(Text by Richard Wilbur)

 

 

 

About Katherine Crosier

In addition to playing the organ I am interested in documenting life's special moments through journaling, scrapbooking, photography and slideshow production. My family just groans.
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