Conversation and information about music and liturgy from a confessional Lutheran perspective.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


So what's your choir singing for Christmas? We at Liturgy Solutions would love to hear from you. We hope your preparations have all gone well, and that you and your singers make the hearts of all in your sanctuaries glad.

Here at Bethany, we are looking forward to the following highlights:

5pm - Schola Canotrum (and flute trio)
*Quempas Carol
*Ding-Dong, Merrily, on High
*Verse for Christmas Eve (Hillert, from NPH series)
*Willcox descants on "Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful" and "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing"

7pm - Vocal Quartet (w/ Bethany Brass accompanying congregational song)
*Elise B. Calhoon sings "O Holy Night"
*Stanzas of various hymns sung in Liturgy Solutions' arrangements, including:
-Once in Royal David's City
-O Sing of Christ
-Of the Father's Love Begotten
-O Little Town of Bethlehem
*Dr. Jennifer Barnickel-Fitch sings "Gesu Bambino"

11pm - Proclaim
*What Sweeter Music (Rutter)
*Gradual for Christmas Day (Stephen R. Johnson, Liturgy Solutions)
*In the First Light (Glad studio chart)
*Some Children See Him (Burt)
*Willcox Descants (of course!)
*Elise B. Calhoon sings the Wexford Carol
*Choir sings stanza 1 of Stille Nacht (in German)

Christmas Morning - Elise graciously returns to sing Wexford again. (Thank you, Elise!) Many choir members were willing to sing Christmas AM as well, but I didn't plan voice parts accordingly and, with the divisi on the Rutter, Glad, and Burt, we decided not to have those for Christmas morning.

Which leads to my last question, besides what you are singing, WHEN are you singing? Does your choir do both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day? Do they do two services on Christmas Eve (like Bethany's Proclaim did last year)?

"Joy, O Joy, beyond all gladness,
Christ has done away with sadness!
Hence all sorrow and repining,
For the Sun of Grace is shining!" (LSB 897, refrain)


Elephantschild said...

Pastor asked my Dh to sing Jesus Christ the Apple Tree this evening, and so he is. Our choir's not up to it, sadly, but my Dh worked it out as a solo w/ organ accompaniment.

We have much difficulty with choir members showing up for 9pm service, which limits what we can do. So sad. Perhaps it will improve in years to come.

Phillip said...

"Jesus Christ the Apple Tree" - an excellent choice. I'm sure John did a great job.

Hang in there, the more your choir members learn about how the Lord's ministry can be served through their singing, the more dedicated they will be come. I strongly encourage you to prayerfully persue your endeavors. Seeds you plant will take root.

BTW, did you catch the Lessons & Carols broadcast from Kings College this Christmas Eve? The choir sang "Jesus Christ the Apple Tree" after the First Reading. It was gorgeous.

Elephantschild said...

We missed the original broadcast but hope to catch it from the archives sometime this week - maybe this evening.

IggyAntiochus said...

Christmas Eve:

"In the First Light" (Glad)
"Lo, How a Rose" (LSB)

Christmas Day:

"The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy" (West Indies Carol in This Far By Faith)
"Welcome to our World" (Chris Rice of CCM fame)

This is a wonderful text! Very much John 1 based. Here are the last two stanzas:

Fragile finger sent to heal us,
Tender brow prepared for thorn,
Tiny heart whose blood will save us,
Unto us is born
Unto us is born

So wrap our injured flesh around you;
Breathe our air and walk our sod.
Rob our sin and make us holy,
Perfect Son of God,
Perfect Son of God,
Welcome to our world.

Phillip said...


Fine choices. I've used both the West Indian Carol before (choral arrangement in Texas; handbell arrangement here at Bethany) and also the Chris Rice piece (a couple of times here at Bethany).

Thanks for sharing. Were these done by the same choir, or did you have different groups for the services?

Merry Christmas!

IggyAntiochus said...

Same choir. The school kids do their thing in the evening on the Third Sunday in Advent each year, so my adult choir does Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Phillip said...

And they prepared different music for the two - good job!

What times were the services?

(I ask because we are trying to decide which two our main choir should cover next year out of our four services.)

IggyAntiochus said...

Our services are at 7 PM Christmas Eve and 10 AM Christmas Day.

We do not have a Christmas Midnight service. I get to visit another church at that time!

Phillip said...

Glad you get to just go worship (at the later time) on Christmas Eve.

As much as I enjoy leading the Lord's Song, it is such a blessing to just sit in the pew sometimes and soak it all in.