This week, as part of our Advent devotional, we listen to our Herald Choir perform “Before the Marvel of this Night” by Carl Schalk. After the singing was done, I was able to ask members of the choir how music helps them connect to the season. This is Advent for the Herald Choir.
Pastor Sarah: Why do you think music is an important part of the Advent and Christmas season?
Jill: I love the way the advent hymns help us to prepare, to wait, to get ready for the birth of the baby.
Greg: The traditional songs that we all heard as kids are something we get to repeat now, and singing, it offers that continuity of history, at least in my life
Pastor Sarah: How does being part of a choir feed you during the Advent and Christmas season? (and remember, your director is listening!)
Karen: I like to think of singing as like our souls worshiping God, when we don’t have the words to put together, and music does that beautifully.
Mary Ann: I look at being able to sing, and the gift that we’ve all been given in the choir here of being able to sing, and loving to sing, as a gift from god, and that’s the way we can give our gift back to him.
Chris: When we have rehearsal in choir, we sing over and over these words, and when you hear words just once, you miss a lot. But by singing and then hearing the harmony around you, over and over, it just deepens the appreciation of what these words mean.
Pastor Sarah: In what way does the anthem you’re singing speak about Jesus?
Judy: Schalk has given us what I would consider an Advent lullaby. It has beautiful lyrics, Karen and I were tearing up about this, because it does sing bliss, sing endless peace during the hustle and bustle of this season. It’s just exactly what we need to slow down and think about who it’s about, year after year.
Pastor Sarah: In your music making, what is the one thing about God that you hope people hear this season?
Dick: The high notes. (laughter)
Mary Ann: God is the high note of this season!
Carol: The words say it: God is love. That just gets me choked up when I sing that, it really gets to me.
Adam Lefever Hughes: Can I also add to that, that God is love, here and now. Not only in some time past, but also here in this place. And we share that, we get to share that with everybody we meet.
Mary Ann: I think we can all feel, and hopefully the congregation feels, music helps to share that love. It’s a feeling that you get from the music itself, that is a feeling of love. And that, certainly, is from God.
Adam Lefever Hughes: Is it Augustine that says when you sing you pray twice?
Greg: Don’t know if it was Augustine, but it wasn’t me… (whole choir laughs)