Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Christmas Vespers 2008

We got to partake in my favorite Advent tradition this past Sunday -- the interfellowship Christmas Vespers service. Representatives from all of the evangelical groups on campus help put together a beautiful service of lessons and carols, reflecting on the incarnation of Jesus Christ. The organizing genius behind the service is Jamie Rankin, professor of German at the university, and also musician extraordinaire. He came up with the idea about ten years ago, arranged choral music and solos, and it's grown from there. It's always an evening of beautiful music and reflection on scripture (from creation, to fall, to the promises of a Messiah, to the birth of Christ) -- and it's also a really great opportunity to fellowship with believers from the different campus groups. Not to mention other Christians from the local churches.

David and I always sing in the Vespers choir. It's essentially a pick-up choir, which meets briefly for a couple run-through rehearsals before the service -- but what amazing musical talent these singers all have! (And it doesn't hurt that the acoustics in Rocky Common Room are amazing, and therefore quite forgiving...) It's the one time every year I get to do any choral singing, and it always reminds me of how much I miss it. Not that I really have time these days to do anything serious in music... I'm really just thankful that I can be a part of this choir every year!

I never really get any good pictures of this service, because (a) I'm in the choir, and (b) I wouldn't feel super comfortable clicking away in this setting. So here are a few pre-Vespers pictures:

Shots of the congregation, from the back and from the front, as people were coming in before the service began. You can get a sense of how beautiful the Common Room is -- I always feel that Vespers is exactly the right use of this room.

Some of the men in the choir, milling around before the service. The choir processes in at the beginning, singing an acappella, chant-like arrangement of "O Come, O Come Emmanuel"; the men are lined up on one side, and the women on the other.

Just a few of the instrumentalists. This year, we had two guitarists, two violinists, two violists, two cellists, a flute, a djembe, and Jamie on the piano. You can see the chairs for the choir behind the strings, and the mics where the soloists and the readers stood.

Always a lovely way to refocus in the midst of the busyness of the Christmas season.

And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed
And all flesh shall see it together
For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.