Once again the time of merry-making and good cheer is upon us, but let’s not forget the real reason for the season. Of course, I’m referring to the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ.
There are numerous beloved carols to welcome Christ’s birth as the Messiah, who has come to dwell among us and give us hope. On Christmas Eve at Old First, the choir will be singing a few anthems throughout the service which celebrate our Savior’s birth. I will also be including some music at the organ.
One such anthem is the “Wexford Carol”, a traditional Irish tune, with lyrics that date back to the 12th century. Most likely you’ll recognize the melody once you hear it, with its energetic rhythm and joyful nature. While there are several arrangements of this carol, the choir will be singing one by Peter Neidmann and will be accompanied on organ. All voices introduce the exuberant tune in unison, followed by voices joining in parts about halfway through. Some more contemporary harmonic choices are included here. Be sure to listen for the “fanfare”-like organ part near the end, as if trumpets are announcing the call of Christ’s birth.
The text to this carol is a bit lengthy, so I’ll include just one verse that captures the meaning of Christmas well:
“With thankful heart and joyful mind the shepherds went the Babe to find, and as God’s angel had foretold, they did our Savior Christ behold. Within a manger He was laid, and by His side the Virgin maid, attending on the Lord of life, who came on earth to end all strife.”
I wish you all the wonder and love of Christmas, and blessings in the New Year!