I enjoy working on a beautiful university campus every day, but some days are even more special than others. Such was the case on Tuesday, December 3, 2013, when the Duke Medicine Chorus performed for faculty and staff at the Duke Chapel (Durham, NC) from 11:30 a.m. to 12 noon.
By conductor Allan Friedman’s design, the theme that tied all the songs together was “the coming of Light”—Jesus Christ, who is the Light of the world.
The concert began with a rousing a cappella call to Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning, (which reminded me of the parable of the virgins in Matthew 25), followed by German carols such as Deck Thyself, My Soul, With Gladness; The Eyes of All Wait Upon Thee; and Lo, How a Rose e’er Blooming. The next two songs had their roots in Spain, the first one depicting nature’s exuberance over Christmas time, and the second containing imagery of a wolf and a sheep with a River (God) separating the two. Another lively number was in honor of the 6th day of Hanukkah—it was a Yugoslavian song in Ladino and entitled Eight Little Candles for Me. Another piece was a Zulu tune depicting a mother (Mary?) holding her son (Jesus?) and dreaming of his future. The audience joined voices with the choir on In the Bleak Midwinter and Silent Night. The concert concluded with the well-known Ukrainian carol Christmas is Here.
As the throng dispersed to various corners of the Duke campus, everyone was given a sweet treat—a giant chocolate chip cookie. The cookie was yummy, but the real treat for me was the midday reminder that the coming Light (Jesus) is the source of hope and joy.