Christmas songs are not for the faint of heart.
“Have a Holly Jolly Christmas” makes some folks puke. “Jingle Bell Rock” can push you over the edge. And don’t get me started on “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”
So it’s good to know that there is still some true holiday music out there.
This Sunday (December 15, 11 a.m.), the Unitarian Church in Westport hosts a special performance. Music director Ed Thompson has written a wonderful piece. Using uilleann pipes (Irish bagpipes), tin whistle, violin, organ, bodhran hand drum and harp — and backed by a chorus and soloists — “Journey of Light” celebrates the winter solstice.
It’s holiday music with a twist: secular, warm and melodic. The text is not biblical — but it is deeply spiritual.
With authentic Irish instruments, and rhythmic jigs and reels, Thompson’s work asks why we sing during the darkest of seasons. The answer: the importance of community, of sharing our own inner light, and the importance of yearly celebrations that date back thousands of years.
Thompson — Juilliard-trained, whose works have been commissioned throughout the US and Europe — has assembled noted musicians for the piece. Jerry O’Sullivan is one of the premier Irish pipe players on the East Coast, while Nicole Schroeder (tin whistle) has worked on Broadway.
The public is invited to enjoy this hopeful, exciting and celebratory work.