Countdown to “The Messiah”: Week 5 of 7

Posted by on Dec 3, 2017 in Choirs (Music), EventReminder, Worship & Prayer | 0 comments

“Glory to God”…

On December 17 2017 our choir will be joined by other local choirs to present Part 1 of Handel’s The Messiah. This will be our annual Christmas Cantata (which will be held at the traditional time of 4:15 PM… in our sanctuary). The Tapestry String Quartet along with our own Sue Crispin will play the accompaniment. Jack Rowland will pull everything together by directing the music.

The “Christmas Part” of Handel’s famous oratorio is organized around a series of six Choruses (which are sung by the full choir). A set of solos introduce each chorus. In most cases, there are two solos; one is called a Recitative and the second is called an Air.

The Christmas section of the oratorio actually consists of six choruses, and the Hallelujah Chorus ends the Easter section. But- who could resist- we will end our cantata with the Hallelujah Chorus.

In the weeks leading up to our December 17 Cantata, we will provide weekly “Countdown to The Messiah” articles highlighting one of the seven Choruses that comprise the cantata.

This installment highlights the 5th chorus, “Glory to God.”


Here’s a list of the 7 Choruses that are in “The Messiah.” Links to previously posted choruses are provided…

  1. And the Glory of the Lord
  2. And He Shall Purify
  3. O Thou that Tellest Good Tidings
  4. For Unto Us a Child is Born
  5. Glory to God
  6. His Yoke is Easy and His Burthen is Light
  7. Hallelujah Chorus



Chorus 5 of 7: “Glory to God”


The angels have appeared to the shepherds, and they have announced that Isaiah’s prophecy has been fulfilled: “Unto us a child is Born!!!” That’s great news!  So how should you respond?  Give thanks to God.  Proclaim His glory!!!

The music leading into the “Glory to God” chorus recounts the appearance of the angels as described in Luke 2:8-13.  In addition to the usual two solos, a short instrumental (“Pastoral  Symphony”) opens this section.  Then,  a series of three Recitatives leads into the chorus.  There is no “Air” this time (but the solos will take your breath away…. sorry...)   A soprano sings the four solos:

  1. Recitative #1 ( 3 measures!):
                            “There were shepherds abiding in the field,
                               keeping watch over their flocks by night
  2. Recitative #2:   “And Lo the Angel of the Lord Came Upon Them”
  3. Recitative #3:  “And the Angel Said Unto Them”
  4. Recitative #4:  “And Suddenly There Was with the Angel”

These lyrics are based on familiar verses from Luke 2:8-13:

8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.

11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,

Immediately after the final solo,the choir responds with verse 14:

“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace, good will toward men.”


The Message

Most of the words of these choruses are very familiar; they come right out of the Bible. But we’re used to the King James words, and sometimes the familiarity with the words blocks us from fully appreciating their meaning. And so, the below summary of our Weekly Chorus uses Eugene Petersons’s paraphrase, The Message. The following document summaries the solos leading into the chorus and then it gives some context to the meaning…



The Music

Here’s a video of this week’s chorus…


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For more about this year’s production of The Messiah, see the below post…

Choirs to Present Handel’s Messiah! (12/17/17)


For more info about our choirs, click this button: Choir







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