The Christmas Memories, Part 7

I was in middle school; the only year I would ever make All-State Chorus. Robert Shaw, the Director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, assembled a youth chorus to sing his now famous Christmas Program. That year, that day, was the day I fell in love with music.

The soloist for Comfort Ye (Messiah) was from my school. We sang Vivaldi, Brahms, Handel, Bach. That day, at the tender age of 14, I sang the most wonderful, soaring piece my soul had ever heard. The words are beautiful, touching, simple. The lowly shepherds ask the Christ child to remember them in the days to come. But the melody, the harmonies – they blend and twist and rise until your heart is about to burst.

Now imagine 400 voices and a full orchestra. The third verse just envelopes you with joy!

The Shepherd’s Farewell to the Holy Family
Hector Berlioz / from L’Enfance Du Christ

Thou must leave Thy lowly dwelling,
The humble crib, the stable bare,
Babe, all mortal babes excelling,
Content our early lot to share,
Loving father, loving mother,
Shelter Thee with tender care!
Loving father, loving mother,
Shelter Thee with tender care,
shelter Thee with tender care!

Blessed Jesus, we implore Thee
With humble love and holy fear,
In the land that lies before Thee,
Forget not us who linger here!
May the shepherd’s lowly calling
Ever to Thy heart be dear!
May the shepherd’s lowly calling
Ever to Thy heart be dear,
ever to Thy heart be dear!

Blest are ye beyond all measure,
Thou happy father, mother mild!
Guard ye well your Heav’nly Treasure,
The Prince of Peace, the Holy Child!
God go with you, God protect you,
Guide you safely through the wild!
God go with you, God protect you,
Guide you safely through the wild,
guide you safely through the wild!

May you have a joyous Christmas!

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6 Comments

  1. December 8, 2008 at 8:02 am

    […] December 8, 2008 at 8:01 am (Christmas, Memories…) Two years ago, I began a series on Christmas memories (See these if you missed them: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5.1, 6 and 7.) […]

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  3. December 16, 2009 at 5:33 pm

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  4. December 22, 2010 at 10:03 am

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  5. January 27, 2011 at 7:28 am

    […] of the Bulldawg Nation, Mozart’s Lacrimosa, Beethoven’s Ode of Joy, Berlioz’s The Shepherd’s Farewell to the Holy Family, so, so many I’ve performed. I embarrass my children a lot. Especially the one with the Music […]

  6. December 21, 2011 at 9:46 pm

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