Christmas Services



  • What are your performance plans for Christmas Services TB Members?



  • I remember a call out to TM members a year and a half ago for how to succeed in getting the nod to play an Easter Service for a Lutheran Church in a nearby city after I got the third degree series of questions by church members as to my prior experience in playing Lutheran services. I must admit, that service would have been my first. Got a lot of suggestions of songs, and performance styles within the Lutheran tradition, of which Barliman's suggestions were most rewarding.

    I got the gig, and just as Barilman prophesized, once getting in, they will keep you in their graces thereafter. He was so right, as since that first Easter gig, they hired me to perform last year's Christmas Service, then this year's Easter Service and yes again, this Christmas Service.

    The new organist sent me an email in the traditional staunch Lutheran doctrine suggesting services overview: "...let me know if you have descant trumpet parts for Christmas songs and what keys. Let's be sure we have the same musical language, so please be clear whether you are speaking about your trumpet key (assuming you have a B flat trumpet, your part will be written a step higher) or actual pitch, which I'd be playing from the keyboards. ...It would be nice to do a couple numbers featuring trumpet - no singing - in the prelude, like O holy night or Gesu Bambino."

    So here is what I did, I went way out on a limb that Barilman warned me against and cautioned "stay with tradition". So boy did I stray. I suggested playing Thad Jone's "A Child is Born" and sent the chart and a YouTube recording to the organist (and cc'd it to the Pastor - An original German Lutheran Pastor).

    Here was the organist's response to my recommendation: "Most of my church experience is with the Roman Catholics. "A Child is Born" is lovely, but would definitely raise eyebrows in the Catholic church. I will let Pastor Holst decide about that."

    Then it came, straight from Pastor Heidi Holst: "Dear Musicians, I just had the opportunity to listen to the A Child- piece. It is beautiful but it is a quite jazzy arraignment...." So I may have just cracked the traditional Lutheran glass ceiling, and just perhaps this will come off in the honor of Saint Thad Jones!



  • Here is the youtube video I sent. It is quit beautiful:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=-M2ADUgffFE&feature=emb_title



  • I'm playing Christmas carols with a small group at a local arts center this Saturday night, and then playing eight performances of a Living Christmas Tree at a large local church the weekend before Christmas, not to mention all the rehearsals for it.



  • @Dr-GO said in Christmas Services:

    I remember a call out to TM members a year and a half ago for how to succeed in getting the nod to play an Eastern Service for a Lutheran Church in a nearby city.

    Just wondering. The Lutheran Church is not in the Eastern Orthodox tradition, rather in the western Roman Catholic heritage. Therefore, it would be highly unlikely for a Lutheran church to give an Eastern Service.

    Although that would be, at least for me, moving and interesting. I love the Eastern liturgy. But is this what you meant? An Eastern Orthodox service in a western Lutheran church?



  • @Kehaulani I assumed he meant "Easter".



  • Oh, hah, hah.

    Well, at any rate, I would still love to hear the Eastern liturgy. Heard it in Greece and in Russia. Very emotional.



  • @Dr-GO
    This year will be mostly quartet - carols after the service, hymns during, and a rather ambitious piece beforehand that may be a bit much for this amateur group. Also some descant parts for me and solo stuff Christmas morning. It will be my 46th Christmas eve playing, all of them in Lutheran churches except for 1984 at what turned out to be the last Christmas Eve for a reconstruction-era "German Reformed" parish - I guess too many members defected to those new-fangled Lutherans...

    I have played Christmas Eves left handed due to severe burns 6 hours before (caught a falling soldering iron and didn't let go till I put it back on the bench), so sick I could hardly keep from fainting, with a lip the size of a golf ball (don't ask), and in blinding pain barely able to ambulate on crutches (one time being in the balcony was not so great). So long as I can get through this year without a repeat of the devastating December 23rd 2018 back injury that left one leg rotated 90 degrees and with peripheral paralysis for a few weeks (I suppose any of the pain I wasn't feeling was a good thing, but still...), it will be a good year - even if the Pastor's teenage son, our French horn, routinely forgets what key he's in again (Christmas 2017...)!



  • No church services, but the band will be playing back to back concerts twice a week for the next three weeks at local nursing homes. This, along with playing on a float at a Christmas parade are annual events for this band. Busy. Busy.



  • No services for me either. Community band will have our holiday concert on 12/10. Fourteen numbers are on the program. Hope our audience is up for it!


  • Global Moderator

    Haven't done any Christmas concerts in probably 3 years. Last one I remember was playing Piccolo for "Hallelujah Chorus." I miss playing regularly, that's for sure.



  • @OldSchoolEuph said in Christmas Services:

    @Dr-GO
    It will be my 46th Christmas eve playing, all of them in Lutheran churches except for 1984 at what turned out to be the last Christmas Eve for a reconstruction-era "German Reformed" parish - I guess too many members defected to those new-fangled Lutherans...

    Just for general knowledge, the Lutherans did not succeed the Reformed. They evolved with different leaders in different geographica regionsl, for the most part, at the same time.



  • @Kehaulani - yes, it was meant tongue-in-cheek as the (more-or-less Calvinist) Reformed Church is a couple decades younger, but also in that among Lutheran churches, the fairly young ELCA (I played for the Midwestern celebration of the merger in the early 80s if memory serves), with its progressive modernist practices and looser theology, has consumed most of the American branches of the Lutheran Church leaving only Missouri and Wisconsin Synod churches adhering to the older traditions while seeing their memberships dwindle as young people defect to the less theologically strict "new" Lutheran church.


  • Credentialed Professional

    I did a chamber music program for the patients in a hospital here in Munich (some Gershwin, Brahms with piano, and Milhaud, Ewazen with my trio violin, trumpet, piano). Sunday will be a Messiah Open Sing in a church... and that's it for this year ☺



  • @Bertie said in Christmas Services:

    I did a chamber music program for the patients in a hospital here in Munich (some Gershwin, Brahms with piano, and Milhaud, Ewazen with my trio violin, trumpet, piano). Sunday will be a Messiah Open Sing in a church... and that's it for this year ☺

    Munich. Nice!

    If you ever get a chance to head SouthWest to a little town perched on a bluff above the Ammer River called Rottenbuch, what was referred to in English for us as the Church of the Nativity (Klosterkirche Mariä Geburt) at the end of a former monastery that now seems to serve as something of a municipal center, has the most amazing acoustics to play in thanks to all the rococo plaster work beneath the vaults. Getting up to the organ loft is a bit of a challenge though if you like to have your legs straight - they carved the stairs out of the stone base for the steeple/town-clock-tower at a time when people must have been very small (our tuba player had a rough time of it!) The service was in Latin when last I was there - incredible playing experience.


  • Global Moderator

    @Dr-GO Thank you for the flowers!


  • Global Moderator

    @Kehaulani said in Christmas Services:

    Oh, hah, hah.

    Well, at any rate, I would still love to hear the Eastern liturgy. Heard it in Greece and in Russia. Very emotional.

    However, the use of instrumental music in Eastern Orthodox liturgy is very, VERY unusual... almost unheard-of.


  • Global Moderator

    @Bertie said in Christmas Services:

    I did a chamber music program for the patients in a hospital here in Munich (some Gershwin, Brahms with piano, and Milhaud, Ewazen with my trio violin, trumpet, piano). Sunday will be a Messiah Open Sing in a church... and that's it for this year ☺

    You're in Munich??


  • Credentialed Professional

    @OldSchoolEuph Nice! I will put Rottenbuch in the bucket list!


  • Credentialed Professional


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