As a child I spent countless hours banging away at a piano. I’m honestly not sure I can even call it playing or even practicing. I just banged the keys -- off-rhythm and more often than not, hitting the wrong keys. My stubborn Irish grandma told me that if I just acted like I played the whole song right and didn’t stop that nobody would ever know the difference. I believed her. One time my mom took my sister and I to a specialty teacher that made me sit there for an hour and hit the drum in rhythm. My sister picked it up within the first minute or two and I left after an hour still unsure of what I was doing wrong. Eventually I realized the piano wasn’t for me. Neither was any type of instrument. Or singing for that matter.
A couple months after I gave up on my dream of becoming the best pianist in the world, a priest told me that if you can sing you should use the gift God gave you and if you can’t sing you should sing twice as loud as a gentle reminder to God that singing was not your gift. Since then I’ve been sending a constant gentle reminder to God, especially around Christmas time. I will freely admit that I am one of those people who loves when Christmas music comes on in mid-October. Advent and the Christmas season are my favorite time of the year in the Church because of how exciting and joyous the music is at Mass.
Advent is a season of waiting in the Church – we are waiting, excited and filled with hope as we look forward to the birth of our Savior, the baby Jesus. The music associated with the Advent season is perhaps some of the most hopeful music within the Church. It is music that inspires giving and encourages us to faithfully prepare ourselves to celebrate one of the most anticipated seasons of the year.
This year, Notre Dame will once again present its annual Advent Lessons and Carols service. This event features all of the Basilica choirs, including the Notre Dame Liturgical Choir, the Women’s Liturgical Choir, Folk Choir, Handbell Choir and the Basilica Schola. Advent Lessons and Carols includes music and readings that are all presented in candlelight in the Basilica. An interdenominational service centered on the singing of traditional Advent and Christmas carols. The event is based off the Anglican Church’s Christmas Eve service. This year, Advent Lessons and Carols will take place in the Basilica of the Scared Heart on Sunday, December 8th at 7:15pm.
This event is a great way to continue to prepare ourselves for the Christmas season. It is a chance to hear some of the amazing talent that we take for granted all too often at Notre Dame. If you were gifted with the talent of vocals, it is a chance to join in with some beautiful music and if you were not, it is a great opportunity to send yet another reminder to God.