Sunday, December 18, 2011

Ready for Christmas!

Today was incredible!

We started the morning with Church of the Messiah's Christmas pageant. The church looked beautiful with all the decorations. Instead of a traditional type of pageant, adults performed monologues to tell the stories of different witnesses to the first Christmas - Herod, the innkeeper, Mary, etc. In between each monologue, we sang the Taize chorus "Wait for the Lord." The monologues really humanized the Christmas story, reminding us of the variety of reactions we can all have to the same event.

Tonight was the Christmas Carol Service at St. John's York Mills. We really worked hard to blend the traditional lessons and carols format with the range of creativity we have at St. John's. The music featured organ, choir, handbells, and our Gathering Worship Band. Pre-service, we played a jazzy version of "What Child is This," featuring saxophone. For a congregational song, we played the Caribbean-inspired hymn, "The Virgin Mary Had a Baby Boy" featuring lots of percussion and even a trombone.

We couldn't have Christmas Carol without singing "Silent Night," but we wanted to give it a little twist. Gerald played a classically-inspired version of the melody, while I told the tale of how Silent Night was composed for guitar. As the story ended, Gerald played a simple arpeggio, and I sang the first verse. On the second verse, the congregation joined in, and we added chimes, band, organ, and choir. Just beautiful!

Gerald had the idea of singing the classic "Little Drummer Boy/Peace on Earth." complete with the opening clip from the original Bing Crosby/David Bowie video. Our choir's bass lead sang Bing, and Gerald was Bowie. It was wonderful to look out and see the smiles during the video.

Gerald leading the band in our pre-service rehearsal.

We also sang Gerald's song "My Heart is the Manger." This is truly one of my favourite Gerald songs ever, and it was awesome to include it in the service. After the service, I was flooded with positive comments about the song. When we do our Christmas album, this song will be first on our list.

We've been singing Christmas music for over a month now. It's been good, but as of today, I am officially, 100% in the Christmas spirit!

Bring on the eggnog!

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