Fresh off the press, Procession and Carols: A Christmas Suite for Women’s Chorus and Harp, is a new published work by maestro James Bingham, chair of Washington Adventist University’s Department of Music and director of the Columbia Collegiate Chorale and the elite choir, Pro Musica. The work describes the story of the enunciation and birth of Christ, through the use of Medieval carols, many of which emphasize the perspective of women.
Song of the Nuns of Chester, the first piece, is to be sung a cappella as a Processional by women. It is the only melody that is not original. The second carol, I Sing of a Maiden, gently deals with the mystery of Christ’s conception and is a tribute to Mary, the mother of Jesus. The birth is then announced from the heavenly choir with the Hodie movement. Next, is the harp solo titled Lullaby followed by the joyous A Boy Is Born in Bethlehem. The Virgin’s Cradle Song, Dormi Jesu, depicts Mary at the spinning wheel, trying to sing her baby to sleep. The suite ends with What Cheer? – a celebration of the birth of Baby Jesus.
Bingham, who has been at WAU since 1994, began his musical training in Geelong, Australia. His love of choral music intensified during his undergraduate studies at Avondale College, New South Wales, Australia. After earning his B.A in Education, he moved to the United States where he earned his Masters of Music Theory and Composition from Andrew’s University, and later a Ph.D in Education, also from Andrew’s University.
As with his prior choirs, the Columbia Collegiate Chorale and Pro Musica, have continued to distinguished themselves under his leadership. They have appeared in numerous venues such as Carnegie Hall, New York; the National Gallery of Art, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Washington D.C.