You are cordially invited to this year’s Lessons and Carols service on December 18th! Our theme is “Knowledge, Wisdom, Worship, Awe.” This line is the closing line of the anthem “The Dream Isaiah Saw” by Rudolph Glenn, with a powerful text by Thomas Troeger. This anthem has accompanied me since my first year of graduate school in 2009 and been on my “bucket list” of pieces to do with my future choir since the first time I performed it. This year is finally the year! Here is some background on the musical centerpiece of this year’s service: Rudolph Glenn began composing “The Dream Isaiah Saw” in July 2001 and finished it the end of September. We all know what happened at that time. Glenn, looking at his finished piece and Troeger’s text, marrying the dream of peace and harmony and the stark contrast of a violent present world, realized that it had to be dedicated to those who lost their lives on September 11th. As you listen to the six minute anthem, you are taken on a journey of chaos and pain, painted by the harmonies of the orchestra and choir, but with a hope in Isaiah’s dream. Each refrain ends with “bring the dream Isaiah saw” and one of the images of the dream: “Life redeemed from fang and claw” for the first refrain, “justice purifying law” for the second, and finally, as the dream has become a reality: “Knowledge, Wisdom, Worship, Awe.” At that point of the anthem, all harmony of discord has vanished, and the once dreary minor harmony has transformed into a truly awe-filled major, magnificently composed for both choir and orchestra.
We are coming to the end of a long year of division and wars, sickness and strife. As we enter into the season of Advent and Christmas, may we know what it means to work towards Isaiah’s dream and look forward to the arrival of the King of Peace. I hope “Knowledge, Wisdom, Worship, Awe: A Service of Lessons and Carols” will be an hour of your busy season where you can experience God’s peace through music and readings.