JC and I, along with the kids, have been in West Virginia for a week. We usually don’t take this much time at the holidays, but we really wanted to take our kids to the West Virginia Choral Arts Foundation’s Lessons and Carols service. WVCAF is a group of choirs, including (the chorale formerly known as) the Larry Parsons Chorale, the Madrigal Singers of Clarksburg, and Chanticleer Children’s Chorus. JC and I met as kids when we were in Chanticleer together. It meant a lot to me to bring my kids to hear this choir, without which, they might not exist!

Chanticleer also meant a lot to me as a kid, beyond just being the place where I met my husband. I haven’t ever been an especially gifted musician, but I wanted so badly to do well in this choir that I worked at it. Sarah Carr, the director, encouraged me constantly. I found my voice, learned to project, figured out how to hear harmonies, and got to where I can be a passable chorister (although we’re all better off if I avoid solos). I love being able to sing with my congregation without feeling self-conscious. It was also a safe and stable place for me during some unstable years of my life.

I don’t remember if we were doing “Lessons and Carols” as such, back then, but I remember singing “Candlelight Carol” at an event that was similar, during my first season in the Chamber Ensemble.


By John Rutter
How do you capture the wind on the water?
How do you count all the stars in the sky?
How can you measure the love of a mother,
Or how can you write down a baby’s first cry?
Candlelight, angel light, firelight and star-glow
Shine on his cradle till breaking of dawn.
Gloria, gloria in excelsis Deo!
Angels are singing; the Christ child is born.
Shepherds and wise men will kneel and adore him,
Seraphim round him their vigil will keep;
Nations proclaim him their Lord and their Saviour,
But Mary will hold him and sing him to sleep.
Find him at Bethlehem laid in a manger:
Christ our Redeemer asleep in the hay.
Godhead incarnate and hope of salvation:
A child with his mother that first Christmas Day.


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