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December 20, 2015, P.M. Worship Service, Lessons and Carols

A Celebration




Lessons & Carols








Kinderhook Reformed Church

est. 1712



Kinderhook, New York


Sunday, December 20th, 2015


Four in the Afternoon



Noël X Grand jeu et Duo, Op. 2                   L.-C. Daquin (1694-1772)


Pastorale, Op. 19                                         César Franck (1822-1890)


Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, Op. 67/41    Max Reger (1873-1916)


Es ist ein Ros entsprungen, Op. 122/8                  J. Brahms (1833-1897)







Once in royal David’s city, stood a lowly cattle shed

Where a Mother laid her baby in a manger for his bed;

Mary was that Mother mild, Jesus Christ her little child.



He came down to earth from heaven who is God and Lord of all,       

And his shelter was a stable, and his cradle was a stall;

With the poor, and mean, and lowly lived on earth our Saviour holy.



And through all his wondrous childhood He would honor and obey,

Love and watch the lowly maiden, in whose gentle arms he lay;

Christian children all must be mild, obedient, good as he.


For he is our childhood’s pattern: Day by day like us he grew;

He was little, weak, and helpless, tears and smiles like us he knew;

And he feeleth for our sadness, and he shareth in our gladness.


And our eyes at last shall see him through his own redeeming love,

For that Child, so dear and gentle, is our Lord in heaven above;

And he leads his children on to the place where he is gone.


Not in that poor, lowly stable with the oxen standing by

We shall see him, but in heaven, set at God’s right hand on high,

When, like stars, his children, crowned, all in white shall wait around.


The congregation is seated.




The choir sings:


Adam lay ybounden                                       Boris Ord (1897-1961)




Rev. Rudolph P. Visser

Pastor, Kinderhook Reformed Church


Sung by all standing:


Of the Father’s love begotten                                 Hymn No. 145


The congregation is seated.




Creation and fall


Genesis 3: 14-24


John B. Carroll

Spirited and Generous Citizen of Columbia County



The choir sings:


O magnum mysterium                   Jacobus Gallus (Handl) (1550-1591)



Comfort for God’s people


Isaiah 40: 1-11


Lydia Kukoff

Former President, The Chatham Synagogue Netivot Torah



The choir sings:


Quem vidistis, pastores                           Richard Dering (c. 1580-1630)


Sung by all standing:


Angels we have heard on high                               Hymn No. 152


The congregation is seated.



The servant of the Lord


Isaiah 42: 1-4


Merrill K. Johnson, DVM

Elder, Kinderhook Reformed Church



The choir sings:


The shepherds’ farewell                             Hector Berlioz (1803-1869)

    from L'enfance du Christ



Praise to the triumph of the Lord


Zephaniah 3: 14-20


Betsy Gramkow

Executive Director, Columbia-Greene Hospital Foundation



The women of the choir sing:


Ave Maria (c. 1860)                               Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921)


Sung by all standing:


What Child is this                                                  Hymn No. 150


The congregation is seated.



The branch from Jesse


Isaiah 11: 1-10


Ron Knott

Supervisor, Town of Stuyvesant



Sung by all standing:


Good Christian friends, rejoice                             Hymn No. 157


The congregation is seated.


Organ:  In dulci jubilo, BWV 729                            J. S. Bach (1685-1750)



The birth of Jesus


Luke 2: 4-15


William Carroll

Student, Albany Academy



The choir sings:


I sing the birth                                          Edward Elgar (1857-1934)


Sung by all standing:


It came upon the midnight clear                            Hymn No. 170


The congregation is seated.



The Magi visit the Messiah


Matthew 2: 1-12


Rev. Tom Malionek

Rector, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Kinderhook



The choir sings:


I seek no gold or majesty                           Jean Sibelius (1865-1957)

   (En etsi valtaa, loistoa)             (descant DHS, in memoriam “Faity” Tuttle)



The word became flesh


John 1: 1-8, 14


Timothy Ooms

Farmer; Member, Town Board of Kinderhook



The choir sings:


Infant holy, infant lowly                 arr. David Willcocks (1919-2015)


Sung by all standing:


O little town of Bethlehem                                    Hymn No. 154


The congregation is seated.



The Incarnation of the word of life


1 John 1: 1-4; John 1: 14, 16-18


Rev. Linda Miles

Pastor, The Reformed Dutch Church of Claverack



Sung by all standing:


O come, all ye faithful                                           Hymn No. 173


The congregation remains standing.

The Pastor:  The Lord be with you.

The Congregation:  And with thy spirit.

The Pastor:  Let us pray.


The Pastor alone says:  O God, who makest us glad with the yearly remembrance of the birth of thy only Son, Jesus Christ: Grant that as we joyfully receive him for our redeemer, so we may with sure confidence behold him, when he shall come to be our judge; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.    


The congregation is seated.


The choir sings:


The Wexford Carol                                arr. David Smith (b. 1947)





THE OFFERING (making this occasion possible)


Candlelight Carol                                            John Rutter (b. 1945)                                                 





The Pastor alone says:  May he who by his Incarnation gathered into one things earthly and heavenly, fill you with the sweetness of inward peace and goodwill; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, be upon you and remain with you always. Amen.





Hark! the herald angels sing                                  Hymn No. 171






Fantasia and Fugue in a minor, BWV 561            J. S. Bach (1685-1750)




Director of Music and Organist for this occasion:  David Smith


Assisting:  Noah Palmer


Soprano:  Sandra Beer, Bonnie Cook, Anita Fiorillo, Ellen Kulisek,

Patricia Marshall, Ruth Moore,  Jan Moseman, Deborah Phelps,

*Katie Roppolo, Deborah Spaulding, Rachel Weisman


Alto:  Carol Anderson, Nancy Baker, Pati Brandon, Susan Bues,

Maria Lally Clark, Cheryl Gilbert, Katherine Delp Gray, Barbara Gross,

Mary Ellen Hern, Justine Rodriguez, *Vicki Smith, Tana Thompson,

Lynda Van Alstyne


Tenor:  Kurt Barensfeld, Andrew Becker, Steve Becker, Ron Moore,

*Brian Morris, Daniel Quinn, *Christopher Remkus, *David Rudnick,

Pete Skinner, Mark Wilson


Bass:  Robert Baksa, Jim Benton, Jeff DeLisle, *Allan Kirk, Gary Leggett, Noah Palmer, David Palmquist, Ted Phelps, Eugene Sit


*Also soloist




David Smith holds degrees in literature and in music from Harvard and Yale. Further studies were in France with Nadia Boulanger, at the Aspen School of Music as a Conducting Fellow, and at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He has been Conductor of the Harvard-Radcliffe Chorus, the Orchestra Sine Nomine, and the New Haven Chorale, and Assistant Conductor of the Harvard Glee Club and Harvard-Radcliffe Collegium Musicum. He has frequently performed as a pianist, harpsichordist and organist, and as a choral and instrumental conductor. David Smith is founder and Artistic Director of Concerts in the Village (CITV), based at Kinderhook Reformed Church. He is a past President of the Columbia County Historical Society and of The Fifty Group of Columbia County.


Noah Palmer (assisting) enjoys a growing career as a conductor and pianist. For the 2015-2016 season, he joins Albany Pro Musica, in addition to assisting David Smith. He has also accompanied the Cantilena Chamber Choir and the Hudson Valley Choral Society, and has worked with many New York City area opera companies. Noah Palmer studied piano with Jose Ramon Mendez at NYU (B.A.), and Pavlina Dokovska at Mannes (M.M.). He has performed as a soloist and chamber musician in the United States, Europe, and China.


Many individuals have made this Celebration of Lessons & Carols possible.  In addition to nine readers and forty-five musicians, all giving generously of their time and talent, and Rev. Rudolph Visser, Pastor of Kinderhook Reformed Church, these individuals include Liz Carroll, Paul Clause, Mike Deegan, Derick LaTorre, Gary Leggett, Angela Rivera Maycole, Ted Phelps, Florence Rivera, Vicki Smith, and Tana Thompson. Appreciation is also extended to Curtis Printing Company, especially John Christiansen. To the above and to others who may be unnamed here, a sincere thank you.

Translations of works sung in languages other than English:


O magnum mysterium et admirabile sacramentum, ut animalia viderent Dominum natum, jacentem in praesepio! Noe, noe . . .


O great mystery and wonderful sacrament, that animals should

see the new-born Lord lying in a manger! Noel, noel . . .


                      (from a responsory for Christmas matins)



Quem vidistis, pastores, dicite, annuntiate nobis, in terris quis apparuit? Natum vidimus et choros angelorum collaudantes Dominum, Alleluia!


Whom did you see, shepherds, say, tell us: who has appeared on earth? The new-born we saw and choirs of angels praising the Lord, Alleluia!


                                          (the third responsory at Matins for Christmas Day)


Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum; benedicta tu in mulieribus,

et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Jesus.
Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus,
nunc et in hora mortis nostrae.  Amen.

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners,
now and at the hour of our death.  Amen.




From the service leaflet (2008) of King’s College, Cambridge:


“The original service [derives] from an Order drawn up by E. W. Benson, later Archbishop of Canterbury, for use in the wooden shed, which then served as his cathedral in Truro, at 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve 1880.  A. C. Benson recalled: ‘My father arranged from ancient sources a little service for Christmas Eve – nine carols and nine tiny lessons, which were read by various officers of the Church, beginning with a chorister, and ending, through the different grades, with the Bishop.’ The idea had come from G.  H. S. Walpole, later Bishop of Edinburgh. Almost immediately other churches adapted the service for their own use. A wider frame began to grow when the service was first broadcast in 1928 and, with the exception of 1930, it has been broadcast annually, even during the Second World War . . . Sometime in the early 1930s the BBC began broadcasting the service on overseas programs. It is estimated that there are millions of listeners . . ., for example, in the West Indies or the Far East and these show how widely the tradition has spread. The broadcasts, too, have become part of Christmas for many far from Cambridge. One correspondent writes that he heard the service in a tent on the foothills of Everest; another, in the desert. Wherever the service is heard and however it is adapted, whether the music is provided by choir or congregation, the pattern and strength of the service . . . derive from the lessons and not the music. ‘The main theme is the development of the loving purposes of God . . .’ seen ‘through the windows and the words of the Bible.’ Local interests appear, as they do here, in the Bidding Prayer; and personal circumstances give point to different parts of the service. Many of those who took part in the first service [i.e., at King’s] must have recalled those killed in the Great War when it came to the famous passage ‘all those who rejoice with us, but on another shore and in a greater light.’ [Most importantly and regardless of specific beliefs or style,] the centre of the service is still found by those who ‘go in heart and mind’ and who consent to follow where the story leads.”




Some of the music heard this afternoon has at various times been included in services of lessons and carols as presented elsewhere. Such is its popularity that visitors to the service at King’s, held on Christmas Eve at three in the afternoon and broadcast to millions throughout the world, must usually queue before nine that morning in order to gain admission! No matter the venue, there is often a British orientation to much of the music customarily selected, the appeal of which extends far beyond the strikingly beautiful Chapel and otherworldly acoustics of King’s.


The tradition of beginning with the great hymn “Once in royal David’s city” with first verse sung solo is specifically associated with King’s, but often adopted elsewhere.  This evening the descants heard in its sixth verse, and in “O come all ye faithful” and “Hark! The herald angels” were composed by one of King’s most famous Directors of Music, Sir David Willcocks.  With the greatest respect, those singing this evening note the passing of this beloved musician on September 17th of this year. The descant heard in “O little town of Bethlehem” is by Sir Thomas Armstrong, who held positions at Exeter Cathedral, Christ Church Oxford, and the Royal Academy of Music. The descant heard in the carol “I seek no gold or majesty” by Jean Sibelius has been written by David Smith to honor the passing in 2015 of a great friend and memorable reader at recent Celebrations of Lessons and Carols in Kinderhook: Esther Leeming (“Faity”) Tuttle.



The setting of the anonymous 15th c. text “Adam lay ybounden” was composed by Willcocks’ immediate predecessor at King’s, Boris Ord. It harkens back to both medieval and Renaissance styles, even to chant. Particularly striking is the concluding treatment of the words “Deo gracias” (“Thanks be to God”), in which the voice parts become increasingly independent of each other.


The 16th c. setting of the Christmas text O magnum mysterium by Jacobus Gallus (Handl) is notable for its striking use of two complete answering choirs, for which the physical characteristics of Kinderhook Reformed Church seem particularly appropriate. In its complementing trios of upper and lower voices, Richard Dering’s Quem vidistis, pastores also has answering effects, punctuated by concerted statements by all six voices.


The highly expressive 19th c. works by Berlioz and Saint-Saëns sung this afternoon could hardly be of greater contrast to the Renaissance motets of Handl and Dering. With both respect for traditional religious sentiment and compositional inventiveness, these works skillfully combine sacred and secular features of the musical language of the Romantic Age. The carol by Sibelius is unusual among this great composer’s work.  The tune is of his own making, but the text is based upon a Swedish poem, first translated into Finnish, then made available in other languages. 


“Candlelight Carol” by the highly successful and prolific British composer John Rutter sets a text of the composer’s own authorship. This work was written for John Romeri and the Church of the Assumption in Pittsburgh. As often for Rutter, the style of this carol is marked by a simplicity and directness masking considerable musical sophistication.



During 2012 the Kinderhook Reformed Church celebrated its 300th anniversary. Predating formal organization, its first structure was built in 1677, and is believed to have been located at the corner of Maiden Lane and Hudson Street. The second structure, modeled on the First Church at Albany, was built in 1717 and the third in 1814 at the site of the present church. Damaged by fire in 1867, the third structure was rebuilt in 1869, essentially as it stands today. The anniversary year of 2012 inspired many events, as well as publication of an important history of the church: Kinderhook Reformed Church: 300 Years of Faith and Community.


For much-needed restoration of the historic structure of Kinderhook Reformed Church, including its iconic tower, the 4th Century Fund  has been established. To further this important effort, contributions from the larger community are encouraged. Inquiries should be made to the church office at 518-758-6401, or directed to one of this afternoon’s ushers, or to Pastor Visser.













Many singing this afternoon are associated with the Broad Street Chorale, which, along with the Broad Street Orchestra, is a component ensemble of Concerts in the Village (CITV). Founded in 2010, CITV is substantially based at Kinderhook Reformed Church, whose generous encouragement and welcoming space CITV wishes to acknowledge once again.


CITV calls attention to upcoming concerts in its 2015-2016 season:


On February 7th at Jack Shainman Gallery: The School, Arthur Honegger’s dramatic King David  (1921) in its original scoring, along with chamber works of Francis Poulenc. Benjamin Luxon will be guest narrator for this concert.


On April 10th at Kinderhook Reformed Church, Music of the 19th Century, including Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll (1869), Brahms’ Schicksalslied (1871), and Mendelssohn’s Psalms 95 (1842) and 42 (1838).