Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Breathing Together

The end of the year with all its festivities just wouldn't feel right without a special concert or two. The anticipation of Advent, when we wait with hope for Jesus to come, and the joy of Christmas when Christ is born are expressed most beautifully in the songs of the season.

When I was growing up in Austin - many years ago - the University of Texas had an annual free Christmas concert for the community. It was held outside on the mall right in the center of campus. The concert was in the evening and most years it was rather cold so that folks would bundle up in jackets and scarves. My family always attended those wonderful events. Several University choirs and the concert band would be lined up in different spots in front of the U.T. tower. Their performances of holiday music were interspersed with carols where everyone was invited to sing. That concert was one of the highlights of my Christmas, even when I was only 8 or 10 years old - the crowd, the beautiful music, the singing, stamping your feet to keep warm.

At some point the University discontinued those concerts for obvious reasons - it is a state funded school and those concerts were religious in nature. My father was pastor of First English Lutheran church at the time, which is located very near campus. He tried to arranged things so the same event could be held at the church rather than on campus. That effort evolved into a new Christmas tradition - the New Texas Music Works featuring choirs from the University and singing familiar carols at the church. Eventually the New Texas Music Works became an independent and nationally renowned choral group, Conspirare, created and directed by Craig Hella Johnson. Their Christmas concerts, which are sold out each year in Austin, are known as Christmas at the Carillon and they are wonderful. (A phenomenal group, Conspirare has twice been nominated for a Grammy award.)

This year Conspirare will be offering their Christmas at the Carillon concert here in San Antonio as well as in Austin. My husband and I purchased tickets months ago. The concert will be at Laurel Heights United Methodist Church on Friday, December 3rd at 7pm. For more information you can visit Conspirare's website: http://conspirare.org There are other options for Christmas music in San Antonio, including the 106th annual German Christmas Candlelight Celebration featuring the Beethoven men's choir, December 12 at the chapel at Trinity University.

Don't let the holy season pass by without taking some time to indulge yourself in an atmosphere of reflection and renewal. Plan ahead to participate in a special holiday celebration that will lift your spirits and fill you with Christmas peace.

Pastor Kris

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