Monthly Archives: December 2015

Christmas Carols & Their Stories Sunday, December 27-11am


Did you know…

at one point in history you could be accused of witchcraft for singing Christmas carols?


Do you know

how the custom of caroling got started?


Do you know…

why Felix Mendelssohn and Isaac Watts turn over in their graves every time we sing “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”??


Do you know…

what well-known classical composer is often credited for composing “Joy to the World,” but…


Do you know…

what event inspired Father Joseph Mohr to write the words to “Silent Night?


Do you know…

how long it took to write the music for “O Little Town of Bethlehem?”


Come, worship, sing the carols, and learn more about them!


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Strings, Brass, Handbells, Chimes, Flute, Percussion!

musical instrumentsChristmas Cantata

this Sunday!


Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with clanging cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals!  (Psalm 150)


In addition to our adult and children’s choir, and pianist Rachel Sarrano, many instrumentalists will join us in telling through music the story of the prophecy, birth, incarnation, and glory of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  I hope you will join us Sunday at the 11 am worship.



Come, O Come, Immanuel

This selection of Advent and Christmas hymns takes us through hope (“O Come, O Come, Immanuel), joy of promises fulfilled (“On This Day Earth Shall Ring”) and incarnate love (“Love Divine”).



He is Born

This traditional French carol is a lively invitation to play the instruments in celebration of the birth of Christ. Strings and bright percussion will accompany the choir.



Jesus, Jesus, Rest Your Head

In the lush, warm harmonies of this arrangement of an Appalachian folk tune, the magical sound of chimes seem to take us to that stable where Mary and Joseph sing a lullaby to their baby.



In the Bleak Midwinter

In this beloved Christmas hymn, poet Christina Rossetti creates a dreary and desolate image of the sinful world into which the infant Jesus was born, but follows with images of the stable and the incarnate Christ. Carolynn Baer adds a lovely flute accompaniment.



March of the Kings

Our trumpeter, James Sayen, has arranged this 13th century French melody for 2 trombones, euphonium, and trumpet. Our own Dustin, Lucas, and Trevor Smith will join James for the postlude.


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The Music of Advent

Advent 3The Music of Advent

 “Come, Thou Long-Expected Jesus”


… ‘what is desired by all nations will come, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the Lord Almighty.”  

Haggai 2:7


Words: Charles Wesley, Hymns for the Nativity of Our Lord (1745)

Music: STUTTGART, attributed to Christian Witt (1715)

For many Christians, this hymn is synonymous with Advent.  Musically, the tune fits very well with the text, and makes it easy to sing so we can focus on the words.  Hymns are first of all texts: poetry on a religious topic for singing in worship.  A hymn tune is a singable setting of a hymn suitable for devotional use in worship.

Messiah’s redemptive and liberating rule is seen here in all its stages: from prophecy through the Incarnation, to sovereignty and final triumph.  It also has individual, communal, and universal dimensions. Notice that each stanza has a theme which is put into poetic form.


Try meditating on one stanza each day, and see if you can put that theme into a few words that express your experience of the coming Messiah.


  1. Come Thou long-expected Jesus, born to set thy people free.

      From our fears and sins release us. Let us find our rest in thee.


  1. Israel’s strength and consolation, hope of all the earth thou art;

      Dear desire of every nation, joy of every longing heart.


  1. Born thy people to deliver, born a child and yet a King,

      born to reign in us forever, now thy gracious kingdom bring.


  1. By thine own eternal spirit, rule in all our hearts alone.

      By thine all-sufficient merit, raise us to thy glorious throne.




next Sunday, December 20 during 11am worship


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Advent 2: Our Music This Sunday

“Prepare the Way, O Zion”prepare the way


“A voice cries out: ‘In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.’” (Isaiah 40:3)


This Advent Hymn, in regular use for almost 200 years in the Church of Sweden, provides for English-speaking congregations a text with deep biblical roots set to a tune of rhythmic vitality.

WORDS: The text is built on Isaiah 40:3-5 and, interestingly, the narrative of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem in Matthew 21.  Hymn writer Frans Mikael Franzen was also influenced by Alexander Pope’s poem, Messiah, a sacred Eclogue, with which it shares a lively present-tense form.  The hymn was imported into the US through the Lutheran Church in 1958.

MUSIC: The tune, BEREDEN VÄG FÖR HERRAN, first appeared in a Stockholm tunebook in 1697.  It was originally used with a text for meals, but since 1812 has been connected with Franzen’s hymn.


Winter WondersCPC Musicians Join NoVA Lights Chorale for Two Concerts

Several Christ Presbyterian handbell ringers and percussionists will join NoVA Lights Chorale, directed by Barbara Stefan, for two performances of their upcoming concert, “Winter Wonders.”

 The handbell choir will ring “Ding Dong Merrily on High,” and will accompany the choir for “Land of Crystal Dreams.”

The program includes Christmas and Hanukkah songs, as well as traditional and popular music. Here is a sampling.

S’Vivon (the Dreidel)
Carol of the Russian Children
Ale Pun (Spanish folk song & percussion)
Doo-Wop Christmas with You
Jingle Bell Rock
The Bells (poem by Edgar Allan Poe)
Christmas Moon

Also featured is “Echoes in the Wind” played on Navaho flute.

Come and enjoy!


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