Past event


Venue information and reminders

  • In the moments before the concert begins, please silence your cell phones and anything else that might beep or buzz. We encourage you to use your phone to view this program during the concert—but please ensure that it is silenced, and consider turning your screen brightness down as low as is comfortable for you.
  • Restrooms are accessible through the door on the left side of the church near the entrance (right side if facing the entrance). The women’s restroom is located down the stairs and across the room towards the center; the men’s restroom is down the stairs, across the room diagonally at the far right, and then just behind a second, much smaller set of stairs. An accessible restroom, which also serves as an all-gender restroom, is available in the St. Francis Chapel. To access this restroom using a wheelchair, exit the church through the ramp at the entrance, and then proceed back into the church via the door at the lower level of the ramp. (It will be slightly to your right if you are exiting the church via the ramp.) All restrooms are clearly indicated with signage.

Director’s note

Dear friends,

I’m so pleased to welcome you, finally, to our first winter concert since January 2020. We are so excited and grateful to be singing in the Church of the Ascension & St. Agnes’s beautiful space and acoustic for the first time, and so glad to be able to welcome you here.

This concert has been a long time in the making: Back in 2020, in search of a way to continue engaging with choral music and with the community during lockdown, Lux launched our first-ever composition contest. After reviewing 44 submissions from 11 countries, totaling over 3 hours of music, we named Cole Reyes’s “Alleluia (The Rose)” the winner. Cole’s piece is a fresh and evocative setting of the famous Christmas text, “There is no rose of such virtue,” which he says he chose “because of its juxtaposition of English and Latin. We have, standing side-by-side, the old and the new.” 

This contrast of old and new is wholly fitting of the times, as we finally find ourselves gathering in familiar spaces with family and friends, as people changed by our time in isolation throughout the pandemic—surrounded by longstanding holiday traditions, some unchanged, and some new or revised after our experiences of the last few years. This program reflects this experience in taking winter choral traditions and looking at them from new perspectives, much like Cole’s piece.

All of the pieces in our concert tonight follow this thread, whether newly established members of the winter choral canon (“My Lord Has Come,” “Jesus Christ the Apple Tree”) or carols soon to join the canon (“In Bethlehem Above”, Croad’s “Silent Night”). This program also features many fresh settings of classic winter texts, from Mealor’s “Matin Responsory” to Woo’s “O magnum mysterium.” We also find ourselves tonight performing reflections of choral classics: Marsh’s “In Winter’s House” was commissioned as a companion piece for Britten’s Ceremony of Carols, Sandström’s “Es ist ein Ros entsprungen” adds a wholly new and ambient texture to the famous Praetorius hymn, and Consolacion’s “Alleluia” is a response to Randall Thompson’s beloved setting of the same text.

Anthony Esland’s “Winter” and Dave Dexter’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” were submissions to our 2020 composition contest alongside Reyes’s “Alleluia (The Rose),” both of which offer exciting challenges to the choir and refreshing musical journeys to singers and listeners alike. Adrian B. Sims’s “Awaken” depicts (among many other things) the transition from winter to spring, bringing new life, freshness, and a turning of the page, much like the connections of old and new traditions depicted in Reyes’s. We’ll close the concert with an old standby as we transition into the new year, Desmond Earley’s arrangement of “Auld Lang Syne,” a traditional song about renewing old friendships and remembering good times past.

We are so incredibly grateful for the privilege to perform this beautiful music together, surrounded by the supportive community we find ourselves in today. If you enjoy tonight’s concert and you are able to do so, please do consider making a donation today to help ensure Lux’s ability to present concerts and projects like this and more. Our ushers can accept cash or checks for donation after the concert. You can also donate by credit/debit card at the merchandise table after the concert, or online here. Donations are tax-deductible to the full extent permitted by law under IRC sections 501(c)(3) and 170. (Checks should be made out to Lux Choir, Inc.)

Please don’t forget to say hello after the concert! Whether this is your twentieth Lux concert or your first (of hopefully many!), we would love to meet you. We all so much enjoy getting to meet new friends and see old ones, too. I hope you enjoy the concert—we’re so glad you’re here.

—Robby Napoli
Artistic Director

Will Todd (b. 1970)

My Lord Has Come

About the work

This heartfelt setting of words written by the composer begins with a quiet drone over which the sopranos introduce an expressive melody. This melody is passed around the choir throughout the piece, only straying from its calm and contemplative mood on words which accentuate God’s love for the speaker. This change is further brought out in the poetry by a break in the strophic (verse-like) form of the text. 


Shepherds, called by angels,
Called by love and angels;
No place for them but a stable.
My Lord has come.

Sages, searching for stars,
Searching for love in heaven;
No place for them but a stable.
My Lord has come.

His love will hold me,
his love will cherish me,
love will cradle me.

Lead me, lead me to see him,
Sages and shepherds and angels;
No place for me but a stable.
My Lord has come.
Will Todd (b. 1970)

Yshani Perinpanayagam (b. 1983)

In Bethlehem Above

About the work

This new carol, with music and text by multi-genre musician and music director Yshani Perinpanayagam, describes the nativity scene in a simple, four-part texture. Although the text and score imply a verse-chorus form, the verses only vaguely borrow melodic content from one to the next. The first section depicts the famous star which shone above the stall where Jesus was born, piercing the night—just as the basses pierce through the texture high in their range and what feels like a beat early, briefly departing from the piece’s consistent homophony. Perinpanayagam then shifts perspective to the inside of the stall, where the basses quietly narrate the oxen whispering the chorus near the feeding babe: Gloria in excelsis Deo! The final stanza arrives in triumphant sound—fitting to herald the arrival of the king of kings, as the whole world and chorus of angels sing a final, rousing Gloria.


In Bethlehem above, a star pierces the midnight sky to proclaim the child is born!
Gloria in excelsis Deo!

In a stall below, a babe fed by a mother loving and brave. The oxen whisper:
Gloria in excelsis Deo!

Shepherd, take knee with king. Rejoice!
Heaven and earth resound with his glory, the angels singing:
Gloria in excelsis Deo!
Yshani Perinpanayagam (b. 1983)

Paul Mealor (b. 1975)

Matin Responsory

Performance details

Thomas Rust, Adam Whitman, and Emily Shallbetter, soloists

About the work

The text of ‘Matin Responsory’ is best known from David Willcocks’s 1970 arrangement of a sixteenth-century Palestrina chant setting. While Mealor's composition retains the same call-and-response structure as the Willcocks/Palestrina rendition (and even keeps them in the same voice parts), it quickly becomes apparent that he has taken the piece in his own direction, leading the choir through many melodic twists and turns on top of his unmistakably rich harmonic textures. The piece closes with soloists joining the choir for a full and triumphant declaration of the hope which accompanies Christian congregations during Advent.


I look from afar: and lo, I see the power of God coming, and a cloud covering the whole earth.
Go ye out to meet him and say:
Tell us, art thou he that should come to reign over thy people Israel?

High and low, rich and poor, one with another.
Go ye out to meet him and say:
Hear, O thou Shepherd of Israel, thou that leadest Joseph like a sheep.
Tell us, art thou he that should come?
Stir up thy strength, O Lord, and come to reign over thy people Israel.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

Joanna Marsh (b. 1970)

In Winter’s House

Performance details

World premiere of this edition. First performance of any edition given by Tenebrae on December 1, 2019 at Wigmore Hall, London, UK.

About the work

Joanna Marsh’s choral setting of Jane Draycott’s poem “In Winter’s House” was commissioned by Tenebrae as a companion piece to A Ceremony of Carols by Benjamin Britten. The vocal range of the piece sits quite low, calling for an ensemble of altos, tenors, baritones, and basses, which adds to the imagery of a dark, winter scene so beautifully depicted in Draycott’s poem. There is no set, consistent meter, which adds a freedom to the textual expression of the piece. Text painting is used frequently —the sparse, low harmonies on the text “cold as steel,” a stunning high F major triad on the word “gleams,” and the descending, lilting melody on the word “rain” are just a few examples. 

The tone of the poem shifts in the third stanza. While the first two stanzas illustrate the cold, less-welcoming qualities of winter, the third stanza introduces a “child asleep in a dream of light.” Correspondingly, the music here introduces higher and “brighter” harmonies on the words “light” and “flame” (both on a B-flat major chord). The fourth stanza continues with a fiery theme (“of fire that catches and travels for miles”) where the music becomes more animated with an ascending line, as if to illustrate a fire spreading, arriving on a shimmering G major chord on the word “miles.” In this piece, Marsh and Draycott have succeeded in bringing text and music together to create not just a story, but a wintery scene and emotional tapestry upon which the story is told. 


In winter’s house there’s a room
that’s pale and still as mist in a field
while outside in every street every gate’s shut firm,
every face as cold as steel.

In winter’s house there’s a bed
that is spread with frost and feathers, that gleams
in the half-light like rain in a disused yard
or a pearl in a choked-up stream.

In winter’s house there’s a child
asleep in a dream of light that grows out
of the dark, a flame you can hold in your hand
like a flower or a torch on the street.

In winter’s house there’s a tale
that’s told of a great chandelier in a garden,
of fire that catches and travels for miles,
of all gates and windows wide open.

In winter’s house there’s a flame

being dreamt by a child in the night

in the small quiet house at the turn in the lane

where the darkness gives way to light.
Jane Draycott (b. 1954)

Hyo-Won Woo (b. 1974)

O magnum mysterium

About the work

The antiphon “O magnum mysterium” has been set many times, most famously by Tomás Luis de Victoria. The text recounts the paradox of the birth of Jesus in a stable surrounded by animals. This new setting employs contemporary techniques, like contrasting sustained and rhythmic passages, to accentuate the feeling of paradox or mystery. The final section introduces two lyrical solo voices, which soar above the repetitive and steady texture of the choir underneath. There are also powerful moments of homophony, where all of the voices sing together, immediately followed by quieter passages, where the melody flows down through each part in turn. The piece finishes with the voices split into eight parts, slowing and fading on a final “Alleluia.”


O magnum mysterium,
et admirabile sacramentum
ut animalia viderent Dominum natum
jacentem in praesepio!

Beata virgo cujus viscera
meruerunt portare Dominum Christum.



O great mystery,
and wondrous sacrament
that animals shoudl see the newborn Lord,
lying in a manger.

Blessed [is] the virgin whose womb
merited to carry Christ the Lord.


Ola Gjeilo (b. 1978)

Second Eve

About the work

Composer Ola Gjeilo writes:

In some of my pieces, the text is somewhat more the servant of the music than the other way around, and Second Eve is one of those works. The music is mainly inspired by a breathtaking photograph taken by one of my favorite photographers, Jake Rajs, featured in the book These United States (Rizzoli). It is a picture of Alaska’s Mount McKinley, the highest mountain peak in the US, and I was looking at this photo throughout the writing process, making sure that the energy and atmosphere of the music corresponded with the feeling I got from looking at the picture.

The Sancta Maria text seemed to kind of fit into what I was looking for in this piece, expressing something mystical, and kind of regal, which Mount McKinley is in every way.


Sancta Maria, Regina caeli,
dulcis et pia, o mater Dei:
ora pro nobis peccatoribus,
ut cum electis [te] videamus.

Ave Maria, gratia plena,
Dominus tecum:
benedicta tu in mulieribus,
et benedictus fructus ventris tui,
Iesus Christus.



Holy Mary, Queen of heaven,
gentle and holy, mother of God:
pray for us sinners,
that with the chosen we may see you.

Hail Mary, full of grace;
the Lord is with you:
blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb,
Jesus Christ.


Cole Reyes (b. 1998)

Alleluia (The Rose)

Performance details

Live premiere. Zach Taylor, Anya Trudeau, and Austin Nikirk, soloists.

About the work

The original inspiration for the theme of our program tonight, Cole Reyes’s setting of this traditional text takes as its starting point that text's intermingling of Latin and English. Throughout the piece, each change in language is accompanied by a musical shift—a change in key or a different harmonic style. Reyes originally wrote the piece in 2020 for our composition contest (eventually winning the contest and a virtual premiere), and the events of 2020 played a key role in the piece’s theme: for Reyes, the Latin and English in the text symbolize the old and the new interacting together, which was particularly poignant as we all celebrated important holidays and other milestones at home, with—or sometimes without—family. Now, tonight, we end the first half of our program giving the piece its proper live, in-person world premiere.


There is no rose of such virtue
As is the rose which bare Jesu. Alleluia.
For in this rose contained was
Heaven and earth in little space. Res miranda. [= Marvelous thing.]
By that rose we may well see
That he is God in persons three. Pares forma. [= Equal in form.]
The angels sungen the shepherds to:
“Gloria in excelsis Deo!” Gaudeamus. [= Let us rejoice.]
Now leave we all this worldly mirth
And follow we this joyous birth. Transeamus. [= Let us cross over.]

Intermission 15m


Traditional, arr. Jan Sandström (b. 1954)

Es ist ein Ros entsprungen

Performance details

Beth Ann Zinkievich, Anya Trudeau, Adam Whitman, and Thomas Rust, quartet

About the work

Sandström’s breathtaking rendition of this work attributed to Michael Praetorius shines a new light on this well-known Marian hymn (known in English as “Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming”) The introduction builds the choir up from lowest to highest voices, and the melody seems to emerge seamlessly from the soprano voice, as if to depict the “rose” itself emerging from a root. Towards the middle of the piece, a slow, descending, almost-contrapuntal section introduces surprising B-naturals in F major, evoking a sense of wonder and mystery before the text “und hat ein Blümlein bracht” (translated “It came a floweret bright” in the famous translation by Theodore Baker.) Overall, the piece creates a delicate, atmospheric soundscape that highlights the miraculous nature of new life through birth.


Es ist ein Ros entsprungen
aus einer Wurzel zart,
als uns die Alten sungen:
von Jesse kam die Art
und hat ein Blümlein bracht
mitten im kalten Winter
wohl zu der halben Nacht.
Traditional German


A rose has sprouted
from a delicate root,
As the old ones sang to us,
From Jesse was the lineage
That brought forth a little flower,
in the midst of cold winter
in the middle of the night.

Elizabeth Poston (1905-1987)

Jesus Christ the Apple Tree

Performance details

Austin Nikirk, soloist

About the work

Elizabeth Poston’s setting of this famous 18th-century poem reveals beauty in simplicity. The melody, set in straight quarter notes (with the exception of one dotted quarter note) in C major, possesses a gentle purity. After the first verse is sung as a solo, the next two verses are accompanied by easy harmonies (there is not a single accidental in the entire piece). Because the melody is constructed with simple, consonant intervals, it is able to be sung in a canon format, which can be used (optionally) in the final verse (and we have elected to do so in our performance tonight). The canon evokes a feeling of members of a church community coming together in harmony to celebrate faith in Jesus. Overall, through the melody and text, Poston achieves a sweet, didactic quality, not unlike a Quaker hymn or a fable shared with a child. 


The tree of life my soul hath seen,
Laden with fruit and always green:
The trees of nature fruitless be
Compared with Christ the apple tree.

His beauty doth all things excel:
By faith I know, but ne’er can tell
The glory which I now can see
In Jesus Christ the apple tree.

For happiness I long have sought,
And pleasure dearly I have bought:
I missed of all; but now I see
’Tis found in Christ the apple tree.

I’m weary with my former toil,
Here I will sit and rest a while;
Under the shadow I will be,
Of Jesus Christ the apple tree.

This fruit doth make my soul to thrive,
It keeps my dying faith alive;
Which makes my soul in haste to be
With Jesus Christ the apple tree. 
From “Divine Hymns or Spiritual Songs,” compiled by Joshua Smith (New Hampshire, 1784)

Anthony Esland (b. 1972)


Performance details

World premiere. Submitted to our 2020 composition contest.

About the work

This piece sets poetry by William de la Mare in a rich, dense, yet contemplative setting. The choir is often split into eight parts, exploring the upper and lower extremes of their ranges. Intimate moments of close harmony and low dynamics emerge out of sections of build-up, keeping the listener engaged throughout. The piece is largely homophonic, only separating the voices to accentuate the text of the phrase “alone sings now” in the soprano line. The piece’s middle section comes in with a new key (though little transition prepares it) and an increased density in the harmony. It then returns to a more reflective mood, gradually ebbing and fading to the end. The final phrase of the piece, “floats the white moon,” is repeated four times, and developed to its final form in the piece’s original key.


Clouded with snow
The cold winds blow,
And shrill on leafless bough
The robin with its burning breast
Alone sings now.

The rayless sun,
Day's journey done,
Sheds its last ebbing light
On fields in leagues of beauty spread
Unearthly white.

Thick draws the dark,
And spark by spark,
The frost-fires kindle, and soon
Over that sea of frozen foam
Floats the white moon.
Walter de la Mare (1873-1956)

Libby Croad (b. 1981)

Silent Night

About the work

Libby Croad’s new setting of the text of “Silent Night”—one of the most well-known Christmas carols in the world—is both delicate and bold. The first verse introduces a melody in the soprano line, which is supported by harmonies often left unresolved in the lower three parts. The second verse sees the melody first in the bass line, then passed to the altos and back to the sopranos. The other voices accentuate the melody, singing “Alleluia!” The third and final verse brings back the harmonization from the first, and adds new texture right at the end, slowing the harmonic pace and giving the final melodic motive to the altos. This setting is fresh, yet familiar, and sure to be a favorite in years to come. 


Silent night, holy night.
All is calm, all is bright,
Round yon virgin mother and child;
Holy infant so tender and mild,
Sleep in heavenly peace.

Silent night, holy night.
Shepherds quake at the sight,
Glories stream from heaven afar,
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ the Savior is born.

Silent night, holy night.
Son of God, love’s pure light,
Radiant beams from thy holy face,
With the dawn of redeeming grace,
Jesus, Lord, at thy birth.
Joseph Mohr (1792-1848), trans. John Freeman Young (1867-1885)

Dave Dexter (b. 1985)

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Performance details

World premiere. Submitted to our 2020 composition contest.

About the work

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, receiving its world premiere tonight, was a submission to our 2020 composition contest. The setting, by composer Dave Dexter, uses a rich, almost orchestral texture. It shifts back and forth between different modes and keys, creating a sound-world that manages to seem both mysterious and sweet at the same time. The piece rarely settles in one place for very long: each shift in focus in the text is accompanied by a musical shift — a shift in meter, for instance, on “Whose woods these are I think I know,” or the added density and expanded vocal range on the text “My little horse must think it queer.”


The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   
But I have promises to keep,   
And miles to go before I sleep,   
And miles to go before I sleep.

Whose woods these are I think I know.   
His house is in the village though;   
He will not see me stopping here   
To watch his woods fill up with snow.   

My little horse must think it queer   
To stop without a farmhouse near   
Between the woods and frozen lake   
The darkest evening of the year.   

He gives his harness bells a shake   
To ask if there is some mistake.   
The only other sound’s the sweep   
Of easy wind and downy flake.   

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,   
But I have promises to keep,   
And miles to go before I sleep,   
And miles to go before I sleep.
Robert Frost (1874-1963)

Adrian Sims (b. 2000)


About the work

Adrian B. Sims’s Awaken was originally performed by Lux in our 2020 virtual season, Songs From Home. This performance was part of a collaboration with Voices Unheard, a student collective created by Camille Jones at the University of Maryland to celebrate and highlight diversity in the arts. From Sims’s own notes on Awaken: “Based on William Carlos Williams’s poem entitled “On the Road to the Contagious Hospital,” Awaken invokes themes of growth, progress, and prosperity. This work begins in the bleakest of shadows then blossoms into radiant declarations of peace and joy. 2020 [was] an eventful year. Although we've lingered in the shadows, it’s my hope that—similar to how this piece unfolds—we will awaken to greater solutions in order to solve the challenges and injustices within our society.”


Lifeless in appearance, sluggish
dazed spring approaches—

They enter the new world naked,
cold, uncertain of all
save that they enter. All about them
the cold, familiar wind—

Now the grass, tomorrow
the stiff curl of wildcarrot leaf [naked, cold, naked, cold]
One by one objects are defined—
It quickens: clarity, outline of leaf

But now the stark dignity of
entrance—Still, the profound change
has come upon them: rooted, they
grip down and begin to awaken.
William Carlos Williams (1883-1963)

Alejandro Consolacion II (b. 1980)


About the work

Composer Alejandro Consolacion II writes:

I first heard Randall Thompson’s “Alleluia” when I was 12 years old. I was greatly affected by the wonderful final measures of the piece, vowing to write my own setting someday. Ten years later, I started crafting a musical response to Thompson’s composition; it would eventually develop into the piece found within these pages.

In 2002 the Asian Youth Choir premiered my “Alleluia” at Pablo Casals Hall in Tokyo, Japan. Later, on the advice of Dr. Joe Miller, the work was revised (to the current edition); the new version was first performed by the Westminster Choir College in late 2013.


Alleluia. Amen.

Traditional, arr. Desmond Earley (b. 1974)

Auld Lang Syne

Performance details

US premiere. Beth Ann Zinkievich, soloist.

About the work

Robert Burns, in a 1793 letter to publisher George Thomson, claimed he first heard the text of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ sung by an old man, whose choice of melody Burns found “mediocre.” Nevertheless, the words were poignant enough for Burns to recommend it for Thomson’s new book, A Select Collection of Scottish Airs. Thomson ultimately published ‘Auld Lang Syne’ in 1799, three years after Burns’ death. With Burn’s earlier observation in mind, he set the text alongside a different, more festive melody, the same melody that today is sung across the world on New Year’s Eve. Desmond Earley’s arrangement of this tune evokes traditional Scottish folk singing and the warmth of friendship, memory, and reunion that Burns so memorably describes.


Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot, and auld lang syne?
For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne,
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet for auld lang syne.

And surely you’ll buy your pint cup, and surely I’ll buy mine!
And we’ll take a cup of kindness yet, for auld lang syne.
For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne,
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet for auld lang syne.

We two have paddled in the stream, from morning sun ‘till dine;
But seas between us broad have roared since auld lang syne.
For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne,
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet for auld lang syne.

And there’s a hand my trusty friend! And gi’es a hand o’ thine!
We’ll take a right goodwill draught, for auld lang syne!
For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne,
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet for auld lang syne.
Robert Burns (1759-1796)



  • Genevieve McGahey
  • Austin Nikirk
  • Emily Shallbetter
  • Abigail Winston


  • Emily Howell
  • Ariana Parks
  • Kimberly Parr
  • Anya Trudeau
  • Beth Ann Zinkievich


  • Derrick Miller
  • John Mullan
  • Zach Taylor
  • John-Paul Teti
  • Adam Whitman


  • Michael Brisentine
  • Ciaran Cain
  • Christopher Diaz
  • Thomas Rust
  • Han Wagner


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  • John-Paul Teti


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