Sunday, 12.16.18 St. John’s annual Children’s Pageant features beloved carols and hymns that help tell the story surrounding the birth of Jesus. Most of these songs can be found in the Episcopal Hymnal. In some cases the carols derive from ancient sources. One example is “Gabriel’s Message” translated as “The Angel Gabriel” by the Anglican Priest Sabine Baring-Gould in the 19th century. The music of this carol can be traced back to the medieval song “Angelus ad Virginem”, which we will hear in its original Latin during the 8PM service on Christmas Eve. Another interesting song in the pageant is Daniel Kantor’s 1984 composition, “Night of Silence”. Kantor designed it as a narrative “overlay” on the harmonies of “Silent Night”. It begins as a solo, then becomes a duet as the congregation joins in with the beloved Austrian carol during the third verse.
In 1961 the Aeolian-Skinner Company of Boston installed the two-manual, 34-stop forerunner of our present sanctuary organ. In 2001 J. Nelson and Company enriched the instrument by the addition of 61 digitally-sampled voices and a 3-manual console from the Allen Company in Pennsylvania, allowing the performance of repertoire ranging in style from baroque to contemporary. The dedicatory concert of the present organ was given by the late Dr. Philip Hahn, then Music Director at St. John’s. Images of the instrument may be viewed here.