I heard the bells

by Sarah Luna

I’ve remarked a few times here that hearing the Cornell Chimes has often been the highlight of my day. I now make a point of leaving my office right at 6pm and standing for 15 minutes in the cold just to hear the evening concert.

Now that it’s a week into November, I wonder when they will start playing Christmas songs. Don’t get me wrong, I love their collection of hymns and contemporary music. Their rendition of “If I Can’t Love Her” from Beauty and the Beast left me breathless. And hearing “Ode to Joy” triumphantly ringing at 7:55am reminded me that I am commissioned to worship no matter how cold or awful my day may be.

But I can’t wait for Christmas music. I’m hoping that they will play “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”. I found this carol in a piano book and inexpertly picked it out on the keys when I was in high school. It caught my eye because the lyrics were written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow–my favorite American poet. Three years later, I heard that carol sung for the first time when I went to a Rockapella concert with my friend Drew at A&M [ok, the link is for a different song]. I was just as beautiful as I thought it would be.

The Christmas season at A&M my senior year featured Cantus. They performed songs from the Christmas Truce of 1914 interspersed with readings of personal letters of the soldiers. Their performance of “Silent Night” starting with a single soldier singing in German–walking across No Man’s Land–and ending with soldiers harmonizing together in German, French, and English left the entire audience stunned.

This year, I’m not sure what concerts Cornell has for the Christmas season. All I’m hoping is to hear the bells.