Well, the Christmas Eve services went quite well. The early service was a bit of a zoo, with lots of children underfoot. The 40 or so who led us in Go Tell It On The Mountain were fun to watch and listen to. The middle service was quieter, with lots of candles. The choir recycled a couple of pieces from their earlier-in-the-month Choir Sunday. While it fit together quite nicely, I’d like to get a little more ambitious next year. We couldn’t get as fancy as the late service I played, with a half hour of music prior to the start of the service, because our service is too early in the evening (yeah, I know: have it start later–but traditions need to be handled quite gingerly…). The last service, after a half-hour drive, was quite different.
It was a sung Episcopal Eucharist. No smells (incense) but we did have some bells. The small choir presented a half-hour of music (various anthems were exhumed–I’m being unfair; they were charming, and directed with vigor and intelligence, but not up to the level of the service, imho). Guitar and clarinet and a very nice vocal solo of–what else?–O Holy Night completed the recital. A couple more anthems, plus several hymns and chants rounded out the service. Our afternoon had started about 4:30 with a contemporary ensemble practice and ended about 12:30 the next morning with the conclusion of the sung Eucharist (I brought out Bach’s In Dir ist Freude to close things off.) We were ready for bed. My fingers felt as though they had run a marathon, carrying me along in the process…
And next morning (Christmas day) up at 7:00 to head off for a pleasant Sunday/Christmas Day service. Almost half the choir was there to lead hymns. A fun carol sing. “Anything as long as it’s in the Christmas section…” I’m delighted that the rendition of the Hallelujah Chorus from Messiah was in a different part of the hymnal–although part of me (NOT my fingers!!!) was tempted to call it out anyway.
The week has been relatively quiet, and my fingers have enjoyed the break. My main push this week has been to plan music through Easter (mid-April this year). And write at least one last piece of music for the year. I’m planning some comments on it in my next post (you’ve heard of unintended consequences? I often end up with unintended music!).
May the year’s end and the start of the new year be music to your ears.