Musical Nostalgia

By Carey Cannon, Minister of Music

The Sanctuary Choir is preparing John Rutter's Gloria for the second Sunday of Advent, December 10th at 10:00am. Following an evening rehearsal, Leigh Anne Bryant, our Family Ministry associate to Mainkids, shared a memory from her childhood in Midlothian, Texas. Each Christmas her family would decorate their Christmas tree while listening to a cassette recording of South Main's 1978 performance of Rutter's Gloria conducted by John Rutter himself. Leigh Ann remarked to the choir how excited she was to know that 39 years later, she'll have the opportunity to sing the very music that had become such a meaningful childhood Christmas tradition.

The music took her there.

Since Hurricane Harvey struck our home, the McCoy family has graciously taken us in. The days following Thanksgiving we were able to participate in their family's decorating traditions. Trying to fix the lights of an angel that has set atop their tree for 25 years, we listened to Handel's Messiah. As we did, John and Nancy lit up as they told us how many times their grandson, William, used to punch the "play" button of the automated Disney characters that, each Advent season, serenade the house with popular carols. Thanks to William's numerous "replays", those sounds will forever be etched in their minds.

The music took them there.

My own childhood was filled with Andy Williams LPs and marching around the downstairs with my brother and sister while listening to The Little Drummer Boy.

The music takes us there.

Music is such a powerful means of transporting us back, grounding us to the present and inspiring us into the future. Robert Shaw was asked how he summoned up such passion and energy to conduct music he had conducted so many times through the years. He replied, "Before I walk out on stage, I remind myself that someone in the audience will hear these great pieces of music for the very first time, and someone will hear this great music for the very last time – so I conduct the music for the both of them."

So whether this Sunday's offering of Rutter's Gloria harkens you back to 1978, or whether it's your first hearing of the work, I pray the music will take you there.

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