Lo, there is light! (for a cappella SATB choir) was commissioned in August 1996 for performance by The Harvard University Choir. It received its first performance during the 87th Annual Harvard Carol Services at The Memorial Church, Harvard University, on December 15 and 16, 1996, under the direction of Murray Forbes Somerville.
The work draws upon two texts; Brightest and best of the sons of the morning by the English poet Bishop Reginald Heber (1783 – 1826), and an extract of two verses from Sunrise on the Coast by the Australian poet A.B. “Banjo” Paterson (1864 – 1941).
Bishop Heber’s text reflects upon the birth of “our infant Redeemer” and conveys the excitement and wonderment that surrounds this great occasion. The setting is spirited and lively, drawing upon a rhythmic drone which, when passed between parts of the choir, forms the accompaniment to a bright, pentatonic melodic line.
A.B. “Banjo” Paterson’s text is set as two interludes that appear during the setting of Bishop Heber’s text. The two interludes depict, through the eyes of a seasoned wandering balladist, the breaking of dawn over the sea. Paterson’s words inspired a calm and tranquil texture of humming, with tenor voices singing of the coming of an evanescent and tender light in all its hues of ruby-red, purple, scarlet and gold.
“Lo, there is light!” on the world stage
Since its premiere at The Memorial Church, Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA, Lo, there is light! has been performed, broadcast and recorded by choirs around the globe. Some of the known performances include:
• Acappellago, directed by Mr Dennis Smith @ “Christmas Around The World”, The Museum of Science and Industry, 57th Street & Lakeshore Drive, Chicago, Illinois, USA.
• Christ Church Choir of Men and Girls, (Frederic DeHaven, director) @ Washington National Cathedral: The Cathedral Church of Saint Peter & Saint Paul in the City & Diocese of Washington D.C., USA.
• The Choir of Men, Boys and Girls, (Frederic DeHaven, choirmaster) @ Christ Church, Grosse Point Farms, Michigan, USA.
• ABC Television’s “Hymns of Glory” – Carols from St Peter’s Cathedral, Adelaide, SA, Australia.
• Monash University Choral Society, conducted by Amelia Alder @ Saints Peter and Paul’s Church, South Melbourne, VIC, Australia.
• Brisbane Chamber Choir, directed by Graeme Morton @ St John’s Cathedral, Brisbane, Australia.
• St George’s Choir, Nashville, Tennessee, USA @ Piccolo Spoleto Festival of Churches, Cathedral of St Luke and St Paul, Charleston, S.C., USA.
• Briar Cliff University Choirs, directed by Sean Vogt @ “Christmas at the Cathedral of the Epiphany”, Sioux City, Iowa, USA.
• The Resonants‘ CD launch: “Lo, there is light!” @ Great Hall, University House, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.
• The Choir of London, directed by Jeremy Summerly @ tour of Palestine Territories and Israel, including concerts in Jerusalem, Ramallah and Bethlehem, and services in the Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem (Christmas Eve) and St George’s Cathedral, Jerusalem (Christmas Day).
• The Choir of London, directed by Jeremy Summerly @ Christ Church, Spitalfields, London, UK.
• St George’s Choir and Choristers and the Nashville Boychoir at Blair @ St George’s Episcopal Church, Nashville, TN, USA.
• The Harvard University Choir, conducted by Murray Forbes Somerville @ USA Cable Television Broadcast (The Arts Channel).
• Christe Lux Mundi @ St. Timothy’s Church (Episcopal), Raleigh, USA.
• The Steiner Chorale, directed by Sean Vogt @ Emanuel First Lutheran Church, 1001 N. Capitol Ave., Lansing, Michigan, USA.
• Brisbane Chamber Choir, conducted by Graeme Morton @ ‘In Memoriam. A Remembrance Day Concert’ St John’s Anglican Cathedral, Brisbane, Australia.
• St Olaf Cantorei, directed by Graeme Morton @ St Pauls Catholic Cathedral, St Paul, Minnessota, USA.
• Plus many more!