In the Bleak Midwinter

Many years ago, I saw the all-male choir Chanticleer when a friend-of-a-friend arranged a concert followed by a small reception in a very wealthy person’s home in Winnipeg, Canada, and I was lucky enough to be on the guest list. It was a magical evening, and the singing was divine. I met and talked with some of the singers at the reception. I couldn’t join others who continued the party with the choir later that evening, but heard burgers were made and savoured…

Chanticleer was established in San Fransisco, California, USA, in 1978. After the concert, I bought an album of theirs and later picked up their holiday season CD, Sing We Christmas, one of the discs that is always sure to be heard in Sweety’s and my home on Christmas Day (along with another you’ll hear something from tomorrow).

Every track on the album is beautiful; I think my favourite is “In the Bleak Midwinter,” which I came to know through the United Church of Canada’s hymn book. I belonged to that church many years ago after being born into a Roman Catholic family.

The piece is based on a poem by English poet Christina Rossetti (1830-1894), which English composer Gustav Holst (1874-1934) put to music in a setting that is well renowned in the Christian Christmas tradition.

At 1:40 in the recording, the choir rises into a robust and ethereal harmony as if calling out to the heavens; this part raises goosebumps on my arms and back of my neck and fills my spirit, no matter how many times I hear it.

Now you know a little about why this is my song of the day for today. Thanks for joining me here, and please enjoy. And check out Chanticleer… their music is incredibly beautiful.

Here’s the audio from the Chanticleer YouTube topic channel:

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