Last evening, I played an early Christmas program for the local Bruderhof community.  The group is part of a small religious denomination, with roots in the Hutterite expression of the Anabaptist movement.  They have a number of communities in New York State and overseas.

The program began with a wonderful treat:  a hot mug of “Russian tea,” a mix of orange and apple juice, tea, and spices.  Almost like mulled cider.  Just the thing to get into the holiday mood.  Chocolate bars added to the pleasure.

The community sat in folding chairs in concentric circles, and sang a number of Christmas carols, led by the organ.  At a few points I had been asked to interspere organ solo pieces. The result was a meaningful, moving service full of vigorous singing and Christmas spirit.

One joy for me was to be able to share the Buxtehude “Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland.” Especially in its aching, drawn-out coda, it directly foreshadows Bach’s far grander and longer setting of the same tune.

Two settings of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” by Flor Peeters and Paul Manz, gave a modern, but not obnoxious, flavor.

The middle of the event featured a request:  they wanted the Toccata and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 565.  Happy to oblige!

I was sent home with beautiful homemade cookies and other wonderful treats.  What a nice experience.

About Jonathan B. Hall

Keyboard artist, sacred musician, teacher, writer, working in New York City and State. Many interests include music theory and history, literature, astronomy, genealogy, philosophy and theology, gardening, and good food. Cat lover, too.
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