Highlights from Advent Lessons and Carols

Click on the links below to hear music from this service.  Download the service leaflet here.

Antiphons chanted beautifully by the tenors and basses of the choir:

O Sapientia

O Wisdom, proceeding from the mouth of the Most High,
Pervading and permeating all creation, mightily ordering all things:
Come and teach us the way of prudence.

O Adonai

O Adonai and Ruler of the house of Israel, Who appeared to Moses in the burning bush
and gave him the Law on Sinai:
Come with an outstretched arm and redeem us.

O Radix Jesse

O Root of Jesse, who stands for an ensign of the peoples,
Before whom kings are mute and to whom the nations will do homage:
Come quickly to deliver us.

O Clavis David

O Key of David and Scepter of the house of Israel,
You open and no one can close, You close and no one can open:
Come and rescue the prisoners who are in darkness
and in the shadow of death.

O Oriens

O Dayspring, Splendor of Light everlasting:
Come and enlighten those who sit in darkness
and in the shadow of death.

O Rex Genitum

O King of Nations,
The Ruler they long for, the Cornerstone uniting all people:
Come and save us all, whom you formed out of clay.

O Emmanuel

O Emmanuel, our King and our Lord,
The Anointed for the nations and their Savior:
Come and save us, O Lord our God.

Other anthems and carols:

Hymn 56, O come, O come Emmanuel (Veni, Emmanuel)

Schütz: O liebe Herre Gott
Lisa Jennings and Kristine Chaney, sopranos

O lieber Herre Gott, wecke uns auf, das wir bereit sein wenn dein Sohn kömmt, ihn mit Freuden zu empfahen, und dir mit reinem Herzen zu dienen, durch denselbigen deinen lieben Sohn, Jesum Christum.  Amen

O dear Lord God, awaken us that we may be prepared when your Son comes, that we may greet him with joy, and serve you with pure hearts, through your only beloved Son, Jesus Christ.  Amen

– Martin Luther (1483-1546)

Vulpius: Es ist ein Ros entsprungen
Lisa Jennings, soprano; Fran Gilbert, alto

Es ist ein Ros’ entsprungen aus einer Wurzel zart.
Wie uns die Alten sungen, von Jesse kam die Art. 

Lo, how a Rose e’er blooming from tender stem hath sprung!
of Jesse’s lineage coming, as those of old have sung.

Hymn, All earth is hopeful (Toda la tierra)

Dyson: Magnificat

Schop: How lovely shines the Morning Star
Lisa Jennings and Kristine Chaney, sopranos

Hymn, People, look east, the time is near (People Look East)

Jennings: Springs in the Desert

Rorem: Mercy and truth are met together

Hymn 60, Creator of the stars of night (Conditor alme siderum)

Hymn 57, Lo! he comes with clouds descending (Helmsley)

For additional pictures of the service,  please visit the Trinity Shutterfly site here.


Music from the Fourth Sunday of Advent

Advent IV – December 18

A State of Joyful Expectation

Click on the links below to hear music from this service.  Dowlnoad the service leaflet here.

Bach: Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland

Hymn 54, Savior of the nations, come (Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland)

Hymn 265, The angel Gabriel from heaven came (Basque Carol)

Bach: Öffne dich, mein ganzes Herze
from Cantata 61 (Kristine Chaney, soprano)

Öffne dich, mein ganzes Herze, Jesus kömmt und ziehet ein.
Bin ich gleich nur Staub und Erde, Will er mich doch nicht verschmähn,
Seine Lust an mir zu sehn, Dass ich seine Wohnung werde
O wie selig werd ich sein!

Open wide, my whole heart, Jesus comes and enters in.
Although I am only ashes and dust, yet he will not disdain
to see his delight within me and that I might become his dwelling.
Oh, how blessed shall I be!

Handel: ‘Then shall the eyes of the blind’ and ‘He shall feed his flock’
from Messiah (Kristine Chaney, soprano)

Hymn 100, Joy to the world, the Lord is come (Antioch)

Lessons and Carols for Advent This Wednesday

This event is being offered as an Advent family night of fellowship and worship. It is meant to be a quiet moment of reflective preparation amid the fuss and bother of this hectic season. Through our fellowship, our prayer, and our singing I hope that the evening will be a useful tool in making our hearts and minds ready for the celebration of Christmas. Childcare is provided.

Aside from the readings and the singing, a notable feature of this service will be a set of seven banners with symbols for each of the Great O Antiphons. The banners were designed specifically for this service and they were made (traced, cut, sewn, ironed, appliqued, hemmed, and otherwise lovingly wrought) by women in our choir. They will be processed into the church one by one as the service progresses, and after the service we will hang them over the balcony for the remainder of Advent and Christmas.

The symbols on the banners, derived from the Old Testament, are as follows:

O Wisdom – Scroll
O Adonai (“Lord and Ruler”)- Burning Bush
O Root of Jesse – Tree
O Key of David – Key
O Dayspring – Rising Sun
O King of the Nations – Crown
O Emmanuel (“God with us”) – Star and Manger

Music from this Past Sunday

Advent III – December 11

Please click on the links below to hear music from this service.
To download the service leaflet, click here

Hymn 76, On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry (Winchester New)

Willan: Kyrie, from Missa da Sancta Maria Magdalena

This is not a movement from a choral Mass, but a piece of service music sung by the whole congregation.  I post it not because it is so terribly profound, but because it is beautiful–and because the music of Healey Willan happens one of my vices.  The Mass is named, of course, for the church of St. Mary Magdalene in Toronto, where Willan was the Organist and Choirmaster from 1921 until his death in 1968.

Hymn 67, Comfort, comfort ye, my people (Psalm 42)

The tune is also known by the title of the German hymn with which it is most closely associated, Freu dich sehr, o meine Seele.  The text is a poetic paraphrase of Isaiah 40.

Rorem: Mercy and truth are met

Ned Rorem is a Pulizter Prize-winning American composer.  This setting angular but beautiful setting of Psalm 85:10-13 was written in 1983 for the re-dedication of a church in Delaware.

Hymn 65, Prepare the royal highway (Bereden vag for Herran)

Music from the First Two Sundays of Advent

Click on the links below to hear music from these services. 

Advent I – November 27

Download the service leaflet here.

Erin Althoff, violin; Tamar Ben-Pazi, cello

C P E Bach: Andante from Trio Sonata in F

Hymn 66, Come thou long-expected Jesus (Stuttgart)

Bach: Zion hears the watchman singing

Advent II – December 4

Download the service leaflet here.

Peeters: Pastorale

Introit for the Second Sunday of Advent
Tone I

Hymn 59, Hark! a thrilling voice is sounding (Merton)

Psalm 85:7-13
Plainsong, Tone II

Turner: Let me love you, O Christ
text by Eric Milner-White

Hymn 444, Blessed be the God of Israel (Thornbury)

Willcocks, arr. from Palestrina: Matin Responsory
Verdun Kerswell, baritone; Mary Slaby and Lisa Jennings, sopranos

Hymn 401, the God of Abraham praise (Leoni)

Advent Purple

One of the things I love about being a church musician is the rhythm and flow of the church year, the way that the Sundays and seasons tell the story of Jesus’s life and the life of the church.  I delight in the things that we do (or don’t do) at a particular day or season that point to some aspect of our faith.   The colors of the various seasons are helpful signposts for me on this yearly journey: white for light and purity, green for growth, red for fire (or, in some cases, blood), purple for royalty.

I also appreciate how carefully, lovingly, and beautifully our altar and sanctuary are appointed for worship.  All of the paraments that we use at Trinity are beautiful, but I find the purple hangings that we use during Advent and Lent to be particularly stunning.  The cloth on the altar itself covers the table on all for sides (not just the front) and the embroidery on the crown of thorns is extraordinary.  In a chance conversation with a friend who is a long-time member of Trinity, I came to find out the story behind how these hangings came to be here. 

Alexander William (Bill) Kennedy and his wife, Fran, came to Trinity in 1981 when they retired to Myrtle Beach from the New York area.  Fran died in 1996 and Bill passed away in 2001, having sung tenor in the Trinity Choir for 20 years.  Bill was the son of poor Irish immigrants who settled in New York City and had few opportunities for an education.  But what Bill did have was a wonderful singing voice, and his mother was able to arrange for him to audition for the renowned St. Thomas Boy Choir, where he lived and performed for many years and gained a fine education.  When Bill died, he especially wanted to leave his beloved church with some tangible legacy, resulting in the gift of the aformentioned altar hangings.  I have always enjoyed the beauty of these vestments; knowing the story of where they came from only adds to my appreciation of them.

Above: The Trinity Choir in the late 1980’s, during the years that Sebron Hood (back row, far right) was Organist and Choirmaster.  Bill Kennedy is in the back row, second from the left.  Notice that picture was taken in the old church, where the present choir room is.