Just home from the 9 Lessons and Carols service. I sang again this year as a guest (we often have a few extras joining in the choir for special services), and it was really good. My two favourite pieces were both by Jenny McLeod, a New Zealand composer, who wrote Vulcan and Jade, both contemporary explorations of what it means to welcome Jesus into the world. What I liked about both of these pieces was they are both strongly rhythmic, but are also exploring Advent in a New Zealand, Southern Hemisphere context. There was a rich exploration of the themes of light, of brightness and beauty, of the joy that Christ brings, that really seem to resonate with me. Advent for us is the time of light, longest light - the longest day for us is December 22 - summer, brightness, freshness, beauty, the best food of the year with all the summerfruit and berries - it's a time of awakening, and the two McLeod pieces really capture this for me.
I also enjoy singing the much more traditional Quem Vidistis Pastores by Poulenc, and of course the Christmas carols. Hodie went better than expected (it's very high, very fast, and just rocks on at a million miles an hour!), so all in all pretty happy.
It was also really special to share this with small daughter: she has been singing in the childrens' choir this year and was part of the processional and recessional, singing Once in Royal David's City and Hark the Herald Angels Sing - as she's only just learning to read, getting her to sing all of the childrens' choir songs was a bit much but she led the whole choir for the processionals, and sang the carols she knew.