Around the middle of Advent every year for a decade, our friend Robert (Bob) McKee would invite us to join him and a group of friends for the Madrigal Dinner at Rice University. The event took place in the Faculty Club/Cohen House on the Rice Campus. Singers from the Shepherd School of Music, under the direction of Tom Jaber, dressed in elaborate Elizabethan costumes and sat at an elevated head table. From that platform, they sang carols and other music of Advent and Christmas. During the meal, magicians, jugglers, and acrobats entertained us. We always had a wonderful time and Bob’s guests became our good friends. Next to the celebration of the Savior’s birth, it was always the highlight of the season.
I was reminded of those Madrigal Dinners, Bob McKee, our friends, and the glorious music today when I heard a recording of the Wexford Carol, the first verse of which was always sung a cappella at the very end of the evening. It became my favorite carol. It gladdens my heart at this time each year.
Listen to this lovely rendition of the Wexford Carol, ponder the lyrics, and steep your soul in the beauty as you prepare for the Natal Feast.
Those occasions brought people together and fostered lasting friendships. Our nation and our world need more such occasions and all the things the Messiah came to bring into the world. Bob has joined the Choir Immortal, as have several of the regular guests. Others remain in touch, though now scattered about the country. Through the years, we've moved around quite a bit and more friends have entered our lives. Gay and I give thanks to God for them and all of you. We pray that you have a blessed Christmas and a New Year filled with love, peace, and goodwill!
The Very Reverend Ron Pogue