Today (27 November 2021) is the Christ University Choir’s famous advent musical festival, ‘Magnificat’.
I was privileged to be part of the ‘Christ College Choir’ and the first Magnificat in 2006. Mr. Sunil Chandy was our choir master. We enjoyed singing many of his compositions which were characterised by a variety of melodies, cast in the most beautiful, and often times curiosity-inducing chords, which came together as a symphony, as we sang in parts. The visionary musical genius he is, he had the habit of writing parts in his compositions, keeping in mind specific members of the choir.
The central message of the ‘Magnificat’ in 2006' was rendered in a song he had composed called ‘Magnify’ : a choral melody which begins softly and reaches a crescendo with the coming together of the four or five parts, set to a foot-tapping rhythm. The privilege of opening the song through a solo rendition was given by Sir to Christina, who sang it out in a soulful manner. The last solo portion in the song, was a scat. Sunil Sir gave that portion to my brother, Thomas George. Solos in between the song were featured by the glorious voices of Swati, Manila and Tanvi. We had a great time singing it. Fifteen years later, I gather that they still sing that song at the show-piece event that announces the birth of Jesus Christ.
On Sunday, 28 November 2021, churches all over the world meditate on the event that gave rise to the Song of Mary, which came to be called ‘The Magnificat’ — the visitation of Mary to her Cousin Elizabeth to share the good news (Luke 1:29–56). It was about the joy of the good news that two women couldn’t wait to share with each other.
It was a joy that went beyond the fleeting “happiness”.
It was a joy so deep that an unborn child in the womb of Elizabeth leaped for joy.
It was a joy so political that Mary celebrated the salvation of the lowly, because the coming of Christ brought down the kingdom of oppressive and power-driven rulers,
It was a joy so physical that it was contagious, loud and blessed.
It was a joy so awesome that it resulted in praise.
It was a joy so powerful that it was musical and made Mary burst out in song.
During the pandemic, our joys have been drained out of our lives. But there is hope in Christ, and we are called to be beacons of that hope in the places where we have been placed, whether the world around us — rulers, employers, haters, dividers and the selfish — want us to be joyful or not.
I wish you a joyful advent and Christmas. May this deep joy be yours, that comes from Jesus Christ.
If you would like to listen/watch the rendition of the Magnify at the first ‘Magnificat’ performed by the Christ College Choir at the Main Auditorium in 2006, do visit the Youtube Link.
Video Courtesy: Sunil Chandy.