Advent stresses me out.
You’re laughing and thinking, yeah, me too: shopping, cleaning the house, decorating, and all of the other pre-celebration hassle. Advent stresses me out musically, but not because of the holiday concerts and extra services (on the contrary, special services are quite a delight.) The reason is this: the vast majority of “holiday repertoire” is actually “Christmas repertoire.” The choral canon is over-eager to skip the waiting and get right to the manger, the festivities, and the presents. It makes searching out enough quality music for the four Sundays of Advent a bit frustrating.
Advent has many layers. For me, waiting for the arrival of December 25th is a combination of patience, reflection, questioning, doubt, and more. It is a small number of composers that seem to know how to tackle the uncertainty and the pensiveness of the Advent season. Yet there is joy in the wait.
After months of searching, my Advent list of repertoire is nearly complete for this year, and I am looking forward to a broad set of offerings. The composers’ voices are German, English or American; medieval through contemporary; male and female; and even Christian and Jewish. I hope it will be an Advent representative of our diversity at Memorial.