This Christmas season, the St. Mary Schola is concentrating on medieval, renaissance and baroque music celebrating the Advent. The a cappella singers, under Bruce Fithian, who also sings tenor and doubles on the organ, has put together an intriguing program exploring Mary’s reactions to the events preceding the nativity, ranging from the introspective “Oeffne dich” aria from Bach’s Cantata 61, sung by Molly Harmon, to a powerful “Magnificat” of Claudia Monteverdi (1567-1643).

Many of the works were accompanied by a chamber orchestra consisting of violin, viola, cello, oboe, recorder, and organ in various combinations.

The evening began with a 15th Century Glasgow men’s processional, “Nova, Nova,” based on a pun: ” Nova, nova, ‘Ave’ fit ex Eva.”  (“News, news, “Ave” made from Eve.) The ethereal women’s processional, “Flos Regalis” (Royal Flower) although from the 14th Century, was more delicate and respectful.

Look for a full review later.