Exploring “Advent Allegro”

 by Anna Ferraro

Allegro. It’s a zesty Italian word – but not for a fancy type of pasta sauce. Created for the musical context, it denotes performances that are fast-paced and cheerful – much like the season leading up to Christmas (insert emphasis on “fast-paced” here…). As hectic as the four weeks before Christmas are, they actually comprise the season of “Advent” – a word that connotates quiet waiting, and reflection. And yet, these are usually anything but quiet and reflective.

Seven years ago, John Roth, former pastor of Faith Lutheran Church set out to give the community a beautiful gift to help preserve the sacredness Advent – a noontime concert on each Wednesday of the Advent season, which would offer attendees a delicious lunch, a short reprieve from the busy work day, and beautiful music from local artists. Under his vision, and the approval of the Parish Worship Committee, in December of 2009, Advent Allegro was born.

It continues today under the direction of Adam Dichsen, the current pastor at Faith Lutheran Church. Dichsen shares, “Advent Allegro showcases local talents and musicians…. A way to give the community an opportunity to recognize the wonderful talent we have here in Jacksonville.”

This season’s concert line-up includes pianists from Jacksonville and Springfield, an accomplished organist from Beardstown, and an annual favorite – the JHS Madrigal Singers under the direction of Christine Smith. Dichsen noted that a highlight for him is always seeing the enthusiasm in the young vocalists from JHS, saying, “It’s neat to give them an opportunity to grow their passion as they look towards continuing with music…. and see them progress from year to year.” Faith Lutheran has also involved the local colleges in past concert series’, giving them a chance to share their faculty and musicians, as well.

Reflectively, Dichsen stated, “music is a gift that God has given to us to glorify Him and to help invite others into worshipful experiences.” At Faith Lutheran, he and his staff desire to offer those worshipful experiences to the community. Thus, Advent Allegro is a beautiful channel where they can do just that.

Dichsen concluded, “For me, and a lot of folks that come, one thing they really enjoy about it comes a bit from the name – “allegro” – a high tempo, high speed. It’s meant to be a brief concert during a brief time of the day…. Really, the whole of December is “allegro” – we’re jumping from one thing to another. And while Advent is a season of waiting, we rush through it so quickly…. Advent Allegro gives a chance to wait and reflect – as we wait for what Advent culminates in, the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.”

The Advent Allegro Concert Series is hosted at Faith Lutheran Church on 1385 W Walnut Street. Concerts are scheduled for 12:15pm on November 30th, December 7th, 14th, and 21st. For your convenience, lunch is served before and after the concerts (cost for meal is $5).

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