Saturday, December 12, 2009


Clockwise from top left: Dave Sylvester, yours truly, Reuel Gifford, and Joe Gama - the Rhode Island Snark Quartet, or the cast of a remake of the flick "Going in Style".

We had a nice little get-together tonight at St. William's Church in Warwick, RI - a ceremony of Nine Lessons and Carols. Music was provided by the Rhode Island College Chamber Singers, directed by Teresa Coffmann, and Pro Cantare and the St. William's Choir, both directed by the parish music director (and good friend and mentor) Reuel Gifford. Sitting behind yours truly, my wife and my daughter were two other good friends of mine - Dave Sylvester and Joe Gama.

Like anything typical of Reuel, the music program he presented was nothing short of excellent. In fact, he's one of a small handful of organists in this neck of the woods who has successfully rescued a parish's music ministry from hootenannydom (the aforementioned Dave Sylvester is another). Here's the list:

Palestrina: Advent Responsory
HYMN: O come, O come, Emmanuel (vv. 1-4) (Mode I)
Opening Prayer
Lesson I (Gen. 3:9-15)
Setchell: Adam lay ybounden
Victoria: O magnum mysterium
Lesson II (Is. 9:1-6)
Reger: Behold the days come, saith the Lord
Lesson III (Is. 11:1-9)
HYMN: Lo, how a rose e'er blooming ("Es ist ein ros'")
Nelson: O magnum mysterium
Lesson IV (Mk. 1:1-8)
HYMN: On Jordan's bank ("Winchester New")
Lesson V (Jas. 5:1-11)
Brahms: O Savior, open heaven's height
Lesson VI (Lk. 1:26-38)
Kulia: Ave Maria
(Wexford Carol was originally slated, but was replaced with a piece whose title eludes me at the moment.)
Lesson VII (Lk. 2:1-7)
HYMN: O little town of Bethlehem ("St. Louis")
Scheidt: A Child is born in Bethlehem
Lesson VIII (Lk. 2:8-20)
Away in a manger (by a composer whose name eludes me at the moment, but the setting was gorgeous!)
HYMN: Angels we have heard on high ("Gloria")
Lesson IX (Mt. 2:1-12)
Walton: All this time this song is best
17th c. German: While by my sheep (I sang this in high school chorus! Happy memories there!)
Vetter: Choral Prelude on Nun komm der heiden heiland
Responsory, Closing Prayer, and Blessing
HYMN: O come, O come, Emmanuel (vv. 5-7)


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