Four people with taper candles light chalice framed by two rings

Musically Speaking – December 2023

Dec 1, 2023

Happy Holidays! The season, filled with lights and generosity and celebrations has begun. May this season be memorable for each of you in a special way.

As I was looking at hymns in our service to write about in “Music Notes”, I started thinking about #413 “Go Now In Peace”, which we have used to sing the children out for many years. It is written by a Methodist composer, Natalie Sleeth. She based the text for the hymn on Luke 2:29. The lyrics are, “Go now in peace, Go now in peace, May the love of God surround you everywhere, everywhere you may go.” That is not how we sing it.

We have changed the words, without the composer’s permission, to be, “…may the spirit of love surround you…” This was brought up by a previous DRE, we briefly changed the song, and congregants really wanted this song to come back, and now we sing it as we always have. I am troubled that the composer’s wishes are not being heard.  As I see it, we have two choices: sing the song as it was intended to be sung by the composer, or find a new song.

We have embraced some changes this fall: portraits and the Arbella model have been moved; we even have updated the postlude in our services. I love the ritual of singing a special song after the Time for All Ages. I think it is time to question how we will continue this fine tradition.

Music in December will include:
December 12th at 7 pm: Vespers will include music from Jean Gauthier, Guy Urban, and John Buchanan.
December 24th at 10:30 am: Our annual pageant will be led by the children!
December 24th at 4:30 and 6:00 pm: Our annual Christmas eve services will include the First Parish choir singing two lovely anthems.
December 31st at 10:30 am: This will a brief service with rounds to sing together as we usher in the new year.

Charlyn Bethell
Music Director | + posts

Charlyn’s professional training has followed two paths: as a professional oboist and as a music teacher and conductor. As Music Director at First Parish, she joins these two paths of her musical life, conducting the choir, coordinating guest musicians, and performing on oboe.

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