Tag Archives: Christmas music

Crowning of the Year

Nativity

I hate to admit this, but often around this time of year I forget to be joyful and perpetually hopeful and all of that. I get anxious and crabby and convinced that I’m never going to get everything done in time for Christmas. I am not what you could call “filled with the spirit of the season.” Until I hear the music. It’s the music that does it for me. It makes me cry like a tiny little girl. In a good way.

Anyway, there’s a little-known advent song that takes me out of myself and helps me wrap my head around getting ready for company, called “People Look East”. I never heard it growing up. I learned it at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington-Normal a few years back.

These are the lyrics, though we only ever sang verses 1, 2, and 4.

1. People, look east. The time is near
Of the crowning of the year.
Make your house fair as you are able,
Trim the hearth and set the table.
People, look east and sing today:
Love, the guest, is on the way.

2. Furrows, be glad. Though earth is bare,
One more seed is planted there:
Give up your strength the seed to nourish,
That in course the flower may flourish.
People, look east and sing today:
Love, the rose, is on the way.

3. Birds, though you long have ceased to build,
Guard the nest that must be filled.
Even the hour when wings are frozen
God for fledging time has chosen.
People, look east and sing today:
Love, the bird, is on the way.

4. Stars, keep the watch. When night is dim
One more light the bowl shall brim,
Shining beyond the frosty weather,
Bright as sun and moon together.
People, look east and sing today:
Love, the star, is on the way.

5. Angels, announce with shouts of mirth
Christ who brings new life to earth.
Set every peak and valley humming
With the word, the Lord is coming.
People, look east and sing today:
Love, the Lord, is on the way.

Here’s a link to a performance of the song, in case you wanted to hear it. It uses an old French song that I believe is called “Besançon.” The lyrics were written in 1928 by Eleanor Farjeon.

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Christmas Joy, courtesy of Mariah Carey

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What a wonderful child!

It’s kind of silly to talk about a favorite movie, book, song, or whatever, for me, anyway. They’re subject to revision. That said, one particular Christmas song is really speaking to me this year. You can dance to it. And you should. I recommend standing as you listen, so that when the spirit moves you, you can dance along. Sing, too, if you’re so inclined.

Here it is: Jesus Oh What a Wonderful Child

O Holy Night

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DuPage Unitarian Universalist Church Candlelight Service

One musical highlight is shockingly (!) missing from my previous holiday music posts.

Allow me to explain. Every year for I don’t know how many years, DUUC looks forward to hearing Curt Johnson play O Holy Night. Usually he plays during the special holiday music service which is always the second Sunday in December, but this year, Curt thought he would be out of town. There was disbelief and mourning.

Then the glad tidings came.

Curt is playing for the Candlelight Service on Christmas Eve. I haven’t gone to that service in several years, preferring to attend a vigil mass closer to home. But this year, you’d better believe I’ll be there. Here’s a video of Curt playing last year, in the old sanctuary.

Merry almost Christmas. Tomorrow I share my (current) favorite Christmas music. Hint: dust off your dancing shoes.

Promised Highlights from our Holiday Music Service

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About a week ago, I may have threatened that I’d make the faithful readers of this blog listen to my choir. Or promised that the opportunity to do so would arise. Po-tay-toe, po-tah-toe. Video is up on YouTube for our Holiday Music Service. You can listen here.

The audio and video may not sync, but Curt (our master videographer) wanted to get the video posted sooner rather than later. He pointed out that if you close your eyes, the audio and video sync perfectly!

Most selections are performed by the adult choir of the DuPage Unitarian Universalist Church, unless otherwise credited. DUUC Choir is directed by Vickie Hellyer. Our accompanist is Bonnie Brewster.

For those who are only interested in certain selections, here’s a guide:

Christmas is Coming – Vince Guaraldi, arr. by Karen Campbell
YUUth Ensemble, Karen Campbell, director – starts us out at 0:00.

A Hanukkah Remembrance – Victor C. Johnson
Choir with Karen Campbell, violin – starts at 2:53

Joy Shall Be Yours in the Morning – Kenneth Grahame/Stroope at 5:28

The Shivering Chorus from “King Arthur” – Dryden/Purcell at 7:03

‘Twas in the Moon of Wintertime (Huron Carol) – Martin, arr. Bonnie Brewster, piano and Julie Resh-Jelliff, flute at 9:55

The Lamb – William Blake/John Taverner at 14:02

Jingle Bells – J. Pierpont/arr. by Ray Charles at 17:40

Joy Shall Be Yours (recessional) at 19:52

I hope you enjoy.