A season in harmony
While some people spend this time of the year fighting the war on Christmas and arguing about manger scenes, holiday trees and whether to say seasons greetings or Merry Christmas, Father Frank Salmani, pastor of St. William Church in Warwick, has taken a different approach.
For more than 10 years, dating back to his days as pastor of St. Mary Church in Providence, the Advent season in the parish has begun with a concert of Advent and Christmas sacred music. On Saturday, Dec. 1, more than 80 people attended an evening of music performed by the Rhode Island College Chamber Singers, under the direction of Teresa Coffman (professor of music at RIC), and the parish choir and Pro Cantare, under the direction of Reuel Gifford, the parish music director.
“There are so many things distracting us from the real purpose of this time of year,” said Salmani. “That it is important to start the season off reminding ourselves what Advent and Christmas are all about ... that there is more to this time of year than shopping, getting gifts, making money and getting all stressed out.”
This annual tradition began when Salmani was pastor at St. Mary Church in Providence and has continued every year since. The performance at the parish is usually the last performance of the season by the Chamber Singers before exams begin. Father Salmani is told every year by Teresa Coffman that "the young singers really enjoy coming to the parish and that it is often the high point of their performance schedule."
The audience was comprised of people who attended the concert in previous years, as well as those attending for the very first time. All agreed on one thing; it was a wonderful evening and a great way to start preparations for the Christmas season. The hour-long concert included Advent and Christmas music as well as an audience sing-a-long.