Like many other annual events, the Perkins Advent Worship service will go virtual this year. Students and faculty in the Master of Sacred Music (M.S.M.) program are working to make the annual service as meaningful as possible and take advantage of the possibilities that the online format offers. And alumni of the program are invited to contribute, too.
The service will weave a variety of voices into a liturgical tapestry that will be streamed on smu.edu/live on December 3, Thursday, at 6 p.m. The service will also be available on Perkins YouTube channel.
“We’re trying to take what is good about online worship and incorporate those elements,” said Marcell Silva Steuernagel, Assistant Professor of Church Music and Director of the Sacred Music Program. “The advantage is that we can invite people from many different places, geographically, and bring in musicians from all over the world. The online, pre-recorded format is uniquely suited to speaking to our trying and unstable times.”
The title of the service is “For The Time Being…”. Michael Hawn, University Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Church Music, will deliver the homily, reflecting on the twin themes of expectation and waiting.
The liturgy will be composed of five readings that speak theologically to Advent (waiting for the Savior) and the pandemic (waiting for a return to an in-person world, for an end to injustice, and for a sense of stability.) Two of the five readings will be non-Scriptural: a poem composed for the occasion by Dr. Hal Recinos, and a passage from W. H. Auden’s For the Time Being.
Each reading will be followed by a collect and then by a short variation on the Advent tune VENI EMMANUEL for organ, composed for the occasion by Silva Steuernagel and performed by Dr. Anderson
With the online format, organizers are able to solicit involvement from participants far and wide, “in a sort of MSM virtual reunion,” Steuernagel said. The Sacred Music program has issued a call to alumni of the MSM program, many of which are preparing Advent and Christmas services for their own congregations, for proposals for musical offerings, including the opening voluntary and four free-standing musical pieces.