“Glad Tidings of Great Joy”:  Advent with Handel’s Messiah
Sundays December 3 10 17 – after the 10:15am service in the Fireside Room

Handel’s Messiah is one of the most performed works of sacred music in the English-speaking world. Music, like all the arts, can open dimensions of meaning.  This is particularly true of sacred texts.   In this Advent Series, we will explore Part One of Messiah.  Old Testament prophecies and the Gospel of Luke are used to set the stage for the birth of Christ.  We will discuss the scriptural passages and how Handel’s music opens the Scriptures for us.   We will listen to recordings of Messiah and explore how Handel’s vast experience as a composer of opera instills these texts with living drama.  

We will meet for one hour after the 10:15am service on the first three Sundays of Advent (December 3, 10 and 17).  Please join us for any or all of this Advent journey in music.  You don’t need any formal musical training to enjoy this series.

John Prescott has been offering retreats and adult education for church groups on music and spirituality for twenty years.  He is a trained spiritual director and was a  member of the Franciscan Third Order. He received his M.A. and Ph.D. in musicology from U. C. Berkeley. Prior to this, he received his B.A. magna cum laude in Music and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa from Carleton College (MN). He has been the recipient of a number of academic honors, including the British Marshall Scholarship for two years of study at St. John’s College in Cambridge, England. He also studied at Oxford University’s Worcester College.

Dr. Prescott has written extensively on the music of   Handel.  He wrote his doctoral dissertation on John Stanley, the 18th-century blind organist, conductor, violinist and impresario. Dr. Prescott has taught music courses at U.C. Berkeley and music theory at The Crowden School (Berkeley CA), and was the musicologist for the San Francisco Elderhostel Arts and Humanities Program. He gives pre-concert lectures for a number of Bay Area musical organizations including the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra.  Since 2013 he has been a lecturer at the Osher LifeLong Learning Institutes.