The four-week season of Advent is almost over! Episcopalians and other liturgical congregations who have been giving seasonal greetings in the future tense for the past four weeks (as in “I hope you have a very Merry Christmas!”) can soon begin to say “Merry Christmas!” in the present tense.
Advent is a time of preparation and personal reflection for many Christians, a time to joyfully anticipate the celebration of the birth of the Christ child as well as to do some spiritual “house cleaning” as we reflect upon Christ’s return. Traditionally, for liturgical churches, Christmas is not officially celebrated until midnight on Christmas Eve. Practicality dictates that Christmas Eve services be held somewhat earlier for the sake of those of us who can’t hold out until midnight.
St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church will hold two Christmas Eve worship celebrations. The first will be at 5 p.m. and geared toward families with young children. This worship service will include a Christmas pageant presented by the children of St. Patrick’s, and their offering of special music with singing and instruments along with a children’s sermon and Holy Eucharist. Traditional Christmas carols will be sung by the children and congregation.
At 7:30 p.m., guest musicians Sarah Dorian, Graham Dorian, George Dorian and Heidi Tanner will offer special Christmas music on their stringed instruments. CellistSarah Dorian, and violinist Graham Dorian are the grown children of local Pagosa residents Jim and Becky Dorian. Bassist George Dorian is their grandson, son of their daughter, Pam, who also plays violin.
Violinist and local resident Heidi Tanner will complete the quartet. Heidi is well known for her many offerings of beautiful music in the string quartet, “Divertimento” and in the newly-formed Pagosa Springs Symphonic Band. She has also been a featured soloist for programs presented by the Elation Center for the Arts as well as many other venues.
Jim and Becky Dorian raised a family of wonderful musicians. Jim is Pagosa’s resident bagpiper and is seen every year leading the St. Patrick’s Day parade, dressed in full regalia. Both felt it was important to raise their children to play an instrument and be educated in the arts. Becky claims that she spent most of her early years as a mother shuffling her kids to music lessons. The results were that all of their children grew up to enjoy playing music and have passed on that joy to their own children. Two other younger Dorian grandchildren will play their violins and mandolins at the 5 p.m. service.
At 8 p.m. the choir of St. Patrick’s, along with the guest musicians, will assist in leading the more formal traditional Christmas Eve celebration.
“We look forward to hearing beautiful music from the choir and enjoying the talents of these wonderful guest musicians,” says Fr. Doug Neel, rector of St. Patrick’s. “Sarah Dorian and my wife, Sally, who is the organist and choir director at St. Patrick’s, have played together on many occasions and have formed a special bond as musicians. When the two of them get together, you can rest assured that some very beautiful sounds will emanate from their instruments.”
The public is invited to attend either the 5 p.m. family service, or the 7:30 p.m. special musical presentation and 8 p.m. choral service on Saturday, Christmas Eve. There will also be a 10 a.m. service on Sunday morning, Christmas Day. All of the services will be led by The Rev. Douglas Neel and will include the celebration of Holy Eucharist and the singing of traditional Christmas carols.
St. Patrick’s is located at 225 S. Pagosa Blvd. For more information visit www.stpatrickspagosa.org or call the church office at 731-5801.