Less light has been delighting us since Daylight Savings Time ended Nov. 5, but our collective call to be recipients and sharers of God’s radiance does not diminish. Come 3:00 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10 that radiance will be on display at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul’s Christmas Concert that will tab Dan Forrest’s LUX as the inspiration for its light-inspired theme.
“During dark times, whether they are through actual events or just a reduction in sunshine, we look for courage and hope,” Charlene Angelini, Director of Cathedral Parish Music for the Cathedral Basilica, said “Christmas reminds us of so much, especially our roles as defenders of God’s name and advocates for God’s grace.”
Excited to conduct her eighth Christmas concert, she noted that 16 selections will comprise the afternoon, with the Cathedral’s choir and instrumentalists joining to celebrate American composers Abbie Betinis and Eric Whitacre; Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo; and the enduring messages of secular Christmas carols. All the pieces will serve to “refresh our hearts,” according to Angelini, and will work to be unifiers when many factors today wish to make people divisive.
“We have a combined journey that we can never put out of our minds,” Angelini said, noting a particular draw to Betinis’ “Lumen,” whose Latin lyrics “Lumen accipe et imperti. Do ut des” translate as “Receive the light and pass it on. I give that you may give.”
“We’re preparing for the Lord’s birth, so there’s an added push to seek the light,” added Angelini.
A reminder of positivity’s power will also come on Sunday, as Angelini explained that the concert will commence with the Cathedral’s children’s choir via a procession in darkness. This will illustrate that not only should we see the Lord as the Light of the World, but we should also look to be a luminous presence to God’s complete family.
“Just think of all He does for us,” she implored. “How could we not be thankful and want to give back?”
Angelini revealed she has found herself particularly drawn to the pieces “I Will Light Candles This Christmas” by Kim Andre Arnesen, whose lyrics state that said bearers will “ease heavy burdens,” “inspire all my living,” and “burn all year long”; and the “Conditor Alme Siderum,” or “Creator of the Stars of Night,” the Advent hymn tune that will permeate the concert and feature prominently at the concert’s end in Forrest’s esteemed “LUX.”
Given that three songs will lend themselves to audience participation, Angelini believes all ears and hearts will end up finding even more cause to hear and proclaim the enduring presence of God during the Christmas season and beyond.
“The light will always be there,” she said. “It’s always calling us to persevere.”
Tickets are on sale now. Prices range from $15 to $35 per seat. To purchase tickets, a livestream link, or find additional information, please visit https://cathedralphila.org/christmas-concert/.
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