Monday, December 24, 2007

The Messiah

In the days leading up to Christmas I start listening to my 3 CD collection of Handel's Messiah, especially the first disc. And then, I start thinking about my mother.

Doris Bain Thompson is a musician, having excelled as a soprano soloist as well as a choral conductor. She sang Rejoice Greatly O Daughter of Zion from Handel's Messiah for her graduate recital and tells that she was asked to sing the piece twice, an encore performance, because the first time around was so breathtakingly beautiful. I often wish that technology then was what it is today; we have no recording of her singing and I am left to imagine.

Years later, in her many Christmas concerts performed in Aruba, she literally pulled the vocal talent out the choir members with challenging pieces, like the chorus And The Glory of the Lord, also from the Messiah. We have old tapes of many of these concerts and invariably if I listen to them I feel the tears well up as I hear the individual voices (especially Dad's), come through. Many years I can't listen to them and this year is one of them. Emotions are running heavy just now. Mom always found And the Glory of the Lord to be a vigorous piece to conduct, with timing being everything as she brought in the voices of the vocal ranges at just the right second. She always noted that by the end of this piece, the sweat was flowing down the back of her neck. And now, listening carefully to And the Glory of the Lord, I understand why. I sang in at least two of Mom's Christmas choirs and am grateful to have had the opportunity.

On this Christmas Eve, let us remember that "the glory of the Lord shall be reveal-ed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it."

Merry Christmas! Glory to God in the Highest and Peace on Earth. Goodwill to Wo(men).

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