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Women in Chant: The Announcement of Christmas
Third in the Women in Chant series

by Choir Of Benedictine Nuns Of The Abbey Of Regina Laudis

      Sounds True presents a lovely Christmas CD by the highly popular Choir of Benedictine Nuns of the Abbey of Regina Laudis. The 76-minute CD offers music of this holy season, taking the listener from Advent through Christmas to Epiphany. This is the third CD by these singing nuns who have sold more than 100,000 copies of their previous albums and who have appeared on Good Morning America, Entertainment Tonight, and 20/20. As you would expect, the Benedictine Nuns of the Abbey of Regina Laudis don't rush out to produce a new album every year. Their first, Women in Chant: Gregorian Chants for the Festal Celebrations of the Virgin Martyrs and Our Lady of Sorrows, was released in 1997 and was an attempt to share the music of the cloister with a wider audience. Their second album didn't appear until 2001.

The Announcement of Christmas brings listeners music originally sung in monasteries during the holiday season that was used exclusively for worship and not for entertainment. The recording gives a view into the nuns' musical offering to God. It is part of their chanting of the Mass and full Divine office, which they do every day. Sung in Latin, the selections in The Announcement of Christmas are representative of the very first music that was sung at Christmas. Two selections are of particular note. One is "The Genealogy of Jesus," which is sung at the end of the Vigil of Christmas before Midnight Mass. It is sung by Mother Abbess David Serna, the choir director, and is dedicated to all of the women chronicled in that genealogy. The selection, "The Announcement of Christmas," is sung at dawn during the Christmas Vigil by the whole choir. An English spoken word version is performed by Mother Delores Hart, the Prioress of the Abbey. (She was a stage and film actress during the 1950s and 1960s and is still a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.)

In addition to the musical work on the CD, the disc has a CD-rom file of texts, commentary, and pictures. There are profiles of the biblical women mentioned in Jesus' genealogy.

The voices of the Benedictine nuns are strong yet delicate as they soar in the vaulted acoustics of the church where they are recorded. This isn't the room-filling sound of monks singing Gregorian chants that are balanced with the deep basses of male voices. Women chanting here is a more tender accomplishment as the nuns bring forth the music of their hearts in praise and anticipation of the birth of Christ. The Announcement of Christmas is a beautiful addition to any religious or contemplative CD collection.

The Book

Sounds True
October 2007
Audio CD , 1 CD
Christmas music
More at
NOTE: Holiday - Christmas

The Reviewer

Janie Franz
Reviewed 2007
NOTE: Reviewer Janie Franz is the author of Freelance Writing: Itís a Business, Stupid!and co-author of The Ultimate Wedding Reception Book and The Ultimate Wedding Ceremony Book. Coming Soon: The Ultimate Wedding Workbook.
© 2007