By Paul Tucker, Co-Director of Music
We will soon be embarking on the busiest time of the year. And for me, Advent and Christmas are the most exciting times in the church year. Holiday decorations everywhere and at home, holiday parties with family and friends, out-of-town guests, inspiring sermons, shopping for the special gift, cooking and eating delightful food: these things are wonderful and, quite often, they trigger memories from our past, especially childhood.
In fact, holiday memories may be our strongest and most lasting ones. Probably the first thing that comes to most people’s minds when they think of Christmas is “Away in a Manger” or “Silent Night” or some other very familiar strain. According to Percy Bysshe Shelley “music…vibrates in the memory” even after the sounds have ceased. It triggers strong emotions, and thus, strong memories.
For the musician, however, it is a bittersweet time because there is much work to do to prepare for special concerts and services. My work at KU is doubled in the holiday season, as is my work here at church. All of our musicians— bell ringers, singers, instrumentalists—work harder and more intensely in this season, and in fact, have already been working on holiday music for several months. Our work builds to a fever pitch, driving toward Christmas Day. We are united in a single vision—to bring beautiful, well-performed music to our congregation, helping to crystalize those wonderful memories we all will take away from our services along with the messages of love, peace, and redemption. Each musician knows that hard work will pay off in many ways: our audience will be blessed, but we will also be blessed because we have worked together for a common goal, helped each other be better musicians, and come to a profound understanding of the meaning of love.
So, thank you to all of the hard-working musicians and others in the church, from ministers to maintenance crews. Our hard work unites us in a common goal of peace and understanding. Plus, we’ve got more wonderful memories to cherish.