Category Archives: Music

Angels Who Bring Tears to Our Eyes

Who knew that a music school recital could bring tears to your eyes?

Not me, for sure. Until December 2 of 2017, that is.

So many beautiful children in their Christmas finery took their turn onstage to sing, play piano, or beat the drums. Some were slightly nervous, some were exceptionally confident, and some just couldn’t wait to be done with the whole deal.

The Plant City Academy of Music teachers, Anne Mawhinney and Sandra Waldron for piano, Angie Woodside for voice, and Jake Simms for drums were so attentive while their little protégés performed.

And the adoring family-and-friends filled audience couldn’t applaud loud enough for every musical child who braved the crowd.

The winter semester’s recital was a perfect beginning to the Christmas season. From their instructor’s suggestions, most students performed popular or spiritual carols. No matter the skill level, the effort was a delight to hear and watch.

Like recitals I’d attended in the past to support our church family’s children, I felt pride for the young performers and their relatives. I admired their courage and developing talent. As an adult trying to learn piano, I was fully aware of the practice required to accomplish a piece. Each student obviously wanted to please their teacher. And indeed, as evidenced by the smiles and nods of approval, they did.

But this recital was different for me in one way.

I cried.

First, came nine-year-old Titus Suits, who played drum accompaniment with focused intensity to “Jingle Bell Rock.” Then, when his siblings Chloe, 10, and Jesse, 8, stepped up to sing “Angels We Have Heard on High,” I knew I was in trouble. It never occurred to me I’d need a box of tissues.

Hauntingly beautiful family harmonies can literally take your breath away. As these two moved into the Gloria, in excelsis Deo” refrain, tears spilled down my cheeks. Truly, I imagined a little angel band in heaven.

This French carol written circa 1862 is not an easy one to sing, and especially not the trilling “Glor-or-or-or-or-or-or-or-or-or-ia in excelsis Deo” between each of the four verses. But on that day, all of Chloe and Jesse’s hours of practice paid off. This dynamic duo nailed it!

And honestly, I will never hear this hymn again without remembering the recital on December 2, and our church’s “Near the Nativity” illustrated sermon on December 24, 2017, when the worshippers in the sanctuary sat in silent awe.

That morning, I’m pretty certain mine weren’t the only water-welled eyes.

+++++++

Angels We Have Heard on High

Angels we have heard on high
Sweetly singing o’er the plains,
And the mountains in reply
Echoing their joyous strains.

Refrain:
Gloria, in excelsis Deo
Gloria, in excelsis Deo

Shepherds, why this jubilee?
Why your joyous strains prolong?
What the gladsome tidings be
Which inspire your heav’nly song?

[Refrain]

Come to Bethlehem and see
Him Whose birth the angels sing;
Come, adore on bended knee,
Christ the Lord, the newborn King.

[Refrain]

See Him in a manger laid,
Whom the choirs of angels praise;
Mary, Joseph, lend your aid,
While our hearts in love we raise.

Refrain:
Gloria, in excelsis Deo
Gloria, in excelsis Deo

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