Halloween has come and gone and All Saints Day and All Souls Day are upon us. While I’ll be busy with these meaningful celebrations and services at The Church of St. Peter in Saratoga Springs (click here for details), one cannot ignore the fact that Advent and Christmas are not so far behind. Although most choral conductors and church musicians (like myself) think about what music to put before their choirs and congregations during the summer when the grass is green, days are long and full of sun, this is still an ideal time to suggest a few pieces from my catalogue that you might want to consider. So, here are a few suggestions:
God’s Glory Shall Be Revealed, composed for SATB Choir, Cantor, Assembly and Piano, is best suited as an Advent Hymn, but also works well as a choral Prelude before Christmas services. Provided in the score are two sets of verses and refrains, one for the first two Sundays of Advent, and one for the last two Sundays. The piece works well during Communion, but would also fit during other parts of the liturgy. In addition, it is a piece that would work well in a concert performance setting (I would suggest utilizing the texts for the 3rd and 4th Sundays of Advent if used in this way). Several parishes in the Albany Diocese have programmed this piece during their Advent services, and have told me how successful it has been received. I have been delighted to learn that this piece has become something of a favorite among my fellow parishioners at St. Peter’s. Definitely worth a look!
Hodie Christus Natus Est is composed for SATB Choir and Piano, and is a rhythmic, rousing anthem proclaiming the birth of Christ, coupled with an unaccompanied choral prayer for peace (In terra pax) in the middle section. There is enough repeated material to provide some ease of learning for volunteer choirs, along with an accompaniment into which a pianist can really sink his/her fingers! This would be suitable as a liturgical anthem or for a concert program. Indeed, it has been performed both by my church choir at liturgy and by Festival Celebration Choir (Albany NY) in concert.
The Light Has Come is composed for a cappella SATB choir. Designed to be somewhat challenging, yet accessible for a volunteer choir, this piece expresses the mystery of the Incarnation as God's light coming into the world to dispel the darkness through haunting melodies, surprising harmonies, and an original text. This is also suitable as a liturgical anthem or for a concert setting, and has been performed in both contexts.
The Word of God Became Flesh is a setting of the Communion Antiphon for Christmas, and so is designed specifically to accompany the Communion Procession at Christmas Mass. The refrain sets the Antiphon text to the familiar tune CAROL (a.k.a, It Came Upon the Midnight Clear), with the verses (text from Psalm 98) set to an original melody. This verse-refrain style with a familiar refrain melody makes it very easy for congregations to sing while processing to Communion, and the piece is long enough to accompany the often lengthy Communion processions of the Christmas liturgies. It is composed for SATB Choir, Cantor, Assembly, and Piano/Organ, with optional String Quartet.
Psalm 96: Today Is Born Our Savior is a setting of the Responsorial Psalm for Christmas Mass at Night (Midnight Mass), but can be used at any of the liturgies of Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. It is composed for Cantor, Assembly, and Piano/Organ. String parts are available for this piece.
I am providing a number perusal scores here (just click the title page image of each piece). If you find that you are interested in using any of these pieces in your worship services or concert programming, please feel free to contact me by clicking here. For a more complete listing of my liturgical writing, visit the Sacred Music page of my website or click here.
Meanwhile, may you have a blessed Advent and Christmas celebration.