This past Sunday was the night of our church Christmas concert. With some snow and ice we’ve had over the past few days there weren’t a whole lot of people in the pews, but we had a very full choir–nearly 30 people, plus a few other musicians who performed with other non-choir pieces. Altogether there were about 15 songs, mostly choral music, some handbell choir pieces, a few solo/duets with instruments, etc.
Most, if not all, of you who read this blog were not able to be there, so I wanted to share with you one of the pieces we sang that I particularly enjoyed. From this page, you should be able to listen to a recording of it (though it is not our choir).
We sing a fair amount of music arranged or written by Craig Courtney–at least one or two a year–and most of it is stuff I very much enjoy. I did not realize until Thanksgiving that this particular piece was an old French carol (even though it says so at the top of the first page). Adrienne’s mother has this carol (in a very different arrangement) on one of her Christmas albums.
It is also perhaps known as Whence Comes This Rush of Wings Afar, and here are the words:
Whence comes this rush of wings afar,
Following straight the Noel star?
Birds from the woods in wondrous flight,
Bethlehem seek this Holy Night.
“Tell us, ye birds, why come ye here,
Into this stable, poor and drear?”
“Hast’ning we seek the newborn King,
And all our sweetest music bring.”
Hark how the Greenfinch bears his part,
Philomel, too, with tender heart,
Chants from her leafy dark retreat,
Re, mi, fa, sol, in accents sweet.
Angels and shepherds, birds o’ the sky,
Come where the Son of God doth lie;
Christ on earth with man doth dwell,
join in the shout “Noel, Noel.”
When I was growing up, I did a lot of baking and a lot of singing. These two interests of mine are not all that related, except that I’ve done a little more of both of them lately.
After baking some brownies with butterscotch chips at the Mu Kappa retreat, I was inspired to bake some more. I was too tired that Sunday after returning, but this past Saturday I baked a batch of chocolate chip cookies from scratch. It didn’t take me as long as I expected, and there’s definitely a greater sense of accomplishment baking cookies from scratch rather than baking from a mix or store-bought dough. Also, freshly mixed cookie dough is amazing. Then on Sunday I baked some cupcakes to take on Tuesday to Five O’Clock Shadows practice for Tim’s birthday.
… which leads to part 2. We recorded 5 songs last Tuesday. This was the first time we recorded anything since I joined this summer, and the first time for the group in over 3 years. I’m not sure what our immediate plan is for the recordings, but they’ll need some editing to put the best parts together before I’ll see any of it. Ron was immensely helpful in setting up the recording session. He’s got some top of the line software and the church sanctuary is a great place to record. We had a couple mics to record us as a whole and one mic just for the bass (which was me for 3 songs). Listening to the recordings, the extra mic really helped the bass part resonate and actually makes me sound good.
The five songs we recorded were:
- And So It Goes, Billy Joel
- Java Jive,
- In My Room, Beach Boys
- Little Deuce Coupe, Beach Boys
- Surfer Girl, Beach Boys
And now we’re starting to work on Christmas songs.
In the last month or so, I joined a quartet that had lost one of its members to Kentucky that had one of its members move away to Kentucky. A couple guys from the church at church, and two of their college buddies are the most recent members, though I understand the people involved have varied a little over time. We practice once a week, and play video games when our voices “get tired.” I’ll be singing some baritone, and some bass, which is good. It extends my range, but it sure is hard jumping from E above middle C for a couple songs, to nearly two octaves lower on an F the next!
I didn’t know we had a website, but we do. There’s even some music from a couple albums they recorded. They sound pretty good, so I hope I can keep up!
EDIT: Edited for clarity after receiving helpful criticism from the peanut gallery. While we’re at it, I should confirm that I was referring not to Kentucky, New South Wales, but to the Commonwealth of Kentucky, 15th state to join the United States of America.