by Jesse Ratcliffe
“Yet with the woes of sin and strife the world has suffered long;
Beneath the heavenly hymn have rolled two thousand years of wrong;
And warring humankind hears not the tidings which they bring;
O hush the noise and cease your strife and hear the angels sing!”
- Edmund H. Sears
This year’s Advent Lessons and Carols will feature all of the music ensembles at Heavenly Rest. To begin the service, all the musical forces will join with the congregation to ring and sing a stunning new setting of O Come, O Come Emmanuel penned by Bernie Scherr. The adult choir will sing anthems that feature the choir in full as well as male and female voices respectively; Canterbury Bells will ring a beautiful prelude and provide accompaniments to the advent hymns, and the Children’s Choir will offer a buoyant anthem based on an ancient carol. Almost all of the works will feature oboe obligatos skillfully played by Susie Rockett. The service will be a memorable start to the Advent season.
This year, Heavenly Rest will offer three Christmas Eve liturgies: A family-friendly Eucharist at 4:00 p.m., Christmas Lessons and Carols in the Courtyard with the Key City Brass at 6:00 p.m., and a Festival Holy Euchrist with choir, handbells, and trumpets at 10:00 p.m. The family-friendly Eucharist will be brimming with the singing of many beloved carols, festive organ music, and a vocal soloist will sing the offertory. Following the pattern of last year’s service, the Key City Brass will accompany favorite carols as we listen to the story of Christ’s Birth in our beautifully lit courtyard accented with outdoor heaters. The evening will conclude with a Festival Holy Eucharist featuring the adult choir, two trumpet players, handbells, and organ. Canterbury Bells and trumpets will begin the service with a lush setting of What Child is This; the adult choir will offer a joyful introit penned by Michael Praetorius which alternates between Latin and German; the first movement of the beloved Gloria by Antonio Vivaldi for the offertory, and a stunning setting of the French Carol Whence Comes this Lovely Fragrance as a communion motet. The carols will be accented by trumpet descants and handbell and organ accompaniments.