St. Anselm choir to celebrate Advent
GOFFSTOWN - With the last bites of Thanksgiving dinner already turning into a distant memory, preparations for Christmas are at full speed ahead.
While the next month can be full of fun and holiday cheer, it can bring with it a certain amount of stress, and St. Anselm College is offering a program to gently guide people into the holiday season as December draws near.
December Song, to be held in the Abbey Church on Dec. 1, at 7:30 p.m., is an evening of reading, reflection and song, performed by the St. Anselm College choir.
Held on the day before the first Sunday of Advent, the evening sets out to bring a sense of spirituality to the hustle and bustle of a busy holiday season, said Father Bede Camera, OSB, the choir's director.
"We're trying to move people through Advent to Christmas," Camera said.
The program begins in darkness with a candlelight, contemplative song, then progresses through the Advent and Christmas seasons.
According to Camera, the program selections, hymns and readings reflect the differences in the seasons, and since Advent makes up most of the month, a good portion of the concert is devoted to the themes it offers in the liturgy and in song.
Advent, the Latin word for "coming," is a four-week period in December when Catholics prepare for the celebration of the birth of Christ.
Camera said the concert seeks to set the tone for the spirituality of the season by bringing a sense of peace in anticipation of the holiday.
"What people need during this season is a greater measure of inner peace and healing," he said.
Camera said some of his favorite themes of Advent are waiting, hope, Mary, the mother of God, quiet joy and the message of an angel, and several Advent themes will be evident during the performances.
While the program begins with more peaceful, deliberate music, said Camera, "it does end with a Christmas celebration," that includes such Christmas carols as "Angels We Have Heard on High," "Away in a Manger," and "O Holy Night."
"You can hear the Christmas jingles in the stores and in the media," said Camera. "Here, I pray, you will hear music that touches you in the deepest places of your being."
Camera recommends early arrival to get a good seat, as there is a full house each year.
"People write to me and say it helps them to spiritually prepare, and that it brings them great peace," he said.