Populus Sion

by a Cantor

As we enter Advent, it seems as though the scriptures are calling us to wake up, look up and prepare! No doubt, the lessons are pointing to the coming of Christ, growing with intensity in each passing week. One only need take the briefest of looks at the Introit for Week 2 of Advent to instantly see the chant reflect this same message!

The opening melody quickly leaps up a fourth and then another step underscoring this “theme of announcement” that the Lord is coming to save His people. However, what I find most moving and exciting is that it keeps right on rising as the text speaks of “hearing the Lord’s glorious voice!” Indeed, the chant sails up in the “stratosphere” for a relatively long time, before coming to rest on the phrase “in the joy of your hearts.”

Sometimes, when looking through these gems in the chant repertoire, I am amazed at the directness and simplicity of the chant and its ability to highlight a central message of the given scripture. But then, I remembered Dom Cardine’s famous statement: “The tones of the chant are drawn directly from the tones of the words.” I don’t believe there is better example than this message which we will hear next Sunday!


People of Sion, behold the Lord shall come to save the nations: and the Lord shall make the glory of His voice to be heard, in the joy of your heart.

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About Cantor

I have been a cantor for over 25 years and an organist for most of my life. Chanting with people at home and across the country is one of my greatest joys. I remember the days of staring at the section of our undergraduate music text thinking to myself "what are all those dots and WHY do I need to know about them?!" Now, 33 years later, I am so grateful that those "dots" have helped teach me many things about God and His love!

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