Commissioned by: The Greater Tiverton Community Chorus, Tiverton, RI, directed by Beth Armstrong, in honor of the ensemble’s 40th anniversary.
December 10, 2021
St. John the Baptist Catholic Church
Greater Tiverton Community Chorus, directed by Beth Armstrong
Heather Niemi Savage, piano
Robbie LePage, trumpet
The birth of Jesus Christ is a seeming contradiction in terms. God became man. The King of Heaven was born into poverty and laid in a manger. Ignored in the city, his birth was heralded by angels in the countryside. When asked to write a Christmas piece for the Greater Tiverton Community Chorus, I was drawn to Thomas C. Roney’s poem, “O Holy Night” because it captures this dichotomy, both the intimacy of a private birth and the announcement by angels of a worldwide promise that, through this baby, peace and goodwill are given to all humankind. I aimed to capture the paradox of the meaning in Christ’s birth in this piece: it is new, yet quotes old familiar carols; it is a lullaby, yet an anthem; it is tender, yet exultant. All glory be to God on high, and peace, goodwill to men.