The original Christmas music was sung as an act of prayer, voices raised to God in worship, rather than as a performance. The Announcement of Christmas carries listeners through the different phases of the season: the four weeks of Advent, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and finally the Epiphany. With selections that range from majestic ensembles to stunning solo pieces, the nuns of Regina Laudis Abbey provides listeners with an unforgettable experience-a musical masterpiece that at once thrills the ears and opens the hearts to the birth of Christ.
The nuns of the Abbey of Regina Laudis have completed the recording of a new Gregorian chant CD, entitled The Announcement of Christmas. The CD takes the listener through the wondrous arc of time surrounding the birth of Christ: from the anticipatory longing of Advent, through the fulfillment of the Feast of Epiphany, which commemorates the offering of precious gifts to the Christ child by the three Wise Men.
A highlight is the spoken recitation of the English translation of the medieval monastic text of the Announcement of Christmas by our Prioress, Mother Dolores Hart, O.S.B., the former actress who stunned Hollywood when she left a thriving film career to enter monastic life.
Recorded at the Church of Jesu Fili Mariæ at the Abbey of Regina Laudis, The Announcement of Christmas contains 36 chant selections sung by 28 members of our monastic community. The CD is conducted by the Abbess of Regina Laudis, Mother David Serna. The full choir repertoire is punctuated by four solo selections, notably the chanting of the Genealogy of Jesus, taken from St. Matthew’s Gospel, by Mother Abbess David. This arresting sung recitation near midnight during Christmas Eve Matins each year, delivered in the total darkness except for the two candles illuminating the large hand-bound Gospel book, marks the apex of our prayer observance. The CD also offers the dramatic Announcement chanted by one voice in the original Latin. A haunting Lesson from Christmas matins rounds out the solo selections.
The CD includes, for the first time, a 120 page digital booklet, complete with the Latin texts and English translations of each chant selection and 48 full color photographs taken by noted photographer Robert Fenton Houser. The digital booklet also has a special section consisting of personal reflections by individual women of the Regina Laudis community on the five courageous and tenacious women mentioned in the Genealogy of Jesus: Tamar, Rahab, Ruth and Bathsheba, as well as a meditation on Mary, the Mother of God.
The Announcement of Christmas is produced by Travis Pomposello, a well-known New York music producer who is the Creative Director and President of “Bella Vita Creative”. We have been working with Travis for many years. He produced our last two CDs, working closely with chant master Dr. Theodore Marier on both projects. Jim Stauffer, the respected Director and owner of "HOThead Studios" in New York, did the engineering and mixing for this CD and two of our previous CDs.