The Northern Adirondack Vocal Ensemble will give two performances of a
Festival of Lessons and Carols. Anthems, carols, and hymns illuminate
the Christmas story along with community readers and congregational
singing in the beloved tradition of King's College, Cambridge:
-Saturday December 21st at 7:30 p.m. at St. Peter's Church in Plattsburgh
-Sunday, December 22nd at 4:00 p.m. at St. Agnes Church in Lake Placid
NAVE, under the musical direction of Andrew M. Benware, is a mixed
chamber choir of professional and amateur singers that perform choral
music from a variety of periods and styles with harmonies of four to
NAVE's membership is truly indicative of its nomenclature “Northern
Adirondacks,” being comprised of membership from points in Clinton,
Essex, and Franklin counties. Distinct from other choral groups in our
region, NAVE is essentially an a cappella chamber choir focusing on
the rich and historical repertoire composed specifically for chamber
choir unaccompanied by instruments.
NAVE's Festival of Lessons and Carols follows the traditional model of
those performed annually on Christmas Eve (since 1928) at King's
College Chapel in Cambridge, England. The customary format is built
around nine short Bible readings from the Old and New Testaments that
trace the story of the fall of humanity and the promise of a Messiah
to the birth of Jesus. Anthems, carols, and hymns are liberally
interspersed throughout to illuminate the narrative musically.
NAVE will again vary the musical palette from previous performances
while maintaining several congregational hymns and beloved anthems.
Early music will retain a featured role with several pieces dating
from the 16th Century including the festive anthems “Gaudete!”
(“Rejoice!”), and “Psallite” (“Sing Your Psalms”), written in a
macaronic style which utlizes Latin text along side the vernacular.
Other notable pieces from the Renaissance include Thomas Tallis’s
“Magnificat,” performed in English, and the 16th-century antiphonal
motet "Hodie Christus Natus Est" ("Today Christ is Born") by Jan
More modern and complex harmonies greet the listener in the luscious
“O Nata Lux” (“O Light Born of Light”) by Morten Lauridsen (1997),
taken from his masterwork “Lux Aeterna.” In a style relatively new to
the ensemble, NAVE will also illuminate, through musical means, the
Biblical story of the wise and foolish virgins in the traditional
African American Spiritual “Keep Your Lamps!” arranged by Andre
The program also includes the traditional English carol “A Virgin Most
Pure," arranged by Charles Wood, and the 19th Century John Goss
composition “See Amid the Winter’s Snow."
Of special note will be the rustic "Shepherd’s Carol" by the Colonial
American composer William Billings that features abrupt meter changes,
and the ensemble’s first foray into the rich oeuvre of Johann
Sebastian Bach with the ultimate chorale from his Cantata 140: “Wachet
Auf” (“Sleepers Wake”). A special addition to this year's program will
be the organ postlude "In dulci jubilo" BWV 729, also by Bach.
Community members will read the texts, which include passages from
Genesis and the Gospels, as well as a contemporary poem,
"Annunciation," by Denise Levertov. The audience is invited to join
with the choir in congregational singing accompanied by University of
Notre Dame organist and Potsdam native Benjamin A. Stone. These
familiar Advent and Christmas hymns include "Once in Royal David’s
City," "Come, O Long Expected Jesus," "O Little Town of Bethlehem,"
"Silent Night," "While Shepherd's Watched Their Flocks by Night," "As
With Gladness Men of Old," and "O Come, All Ye Faithful."
Admission is a suggested donation of $10. For more information please
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