You likely know Keith Getty for his song In Christ Alone, but did you know that Keith’s hymn-writing actually began with Christmas?
“I’m a fanatic of a great Christmas carol. They embody the three values a great hymn should have. They embody the rich, living theology that is deep in truth but vibrant and emotional and connected. Secondly, they embody melodies that every generation can sing. The third thing is that great Christmas songs are great artistry,” Getty said as he reflected on his songwriting history and the history of classic Christmas songs. “As a hymn writer, I love deep, living theology and music that is classic. I love artistry. Great artistry lasts. Great artistry speaks to the deepest part of your soul.”
Great artistry is part of what Keith and Kristyn Getty intend to bring to their Sing! An Irish Christmas concert series beginning the final week of November lasting until just before Christmas.
For another year, the Gettys have partnered with the Anglican Church in North America, culminating in special pricing for clergy and members to their Christmas concerts. The partnership began in 2015. Beyond the discounts, the partnership has included relationship and an Anglican Track at their annual Sing! Conference of songwriters and worship leaders. This last September, Archbishop Foley Beach, who says he is “grateful for the partnership,” led morning prayer one day using the Anglican Church in North America liturgy. According to Getty, it was their most attended morning prayer of the week with over 2,500 in attendance, mostly Baptists.
Though not Anglican himself, Keith’s appreciation for Anglicanism is deep and long-standing. He was first introduced to the tradition in high school through his music teacher who taught him the liturgy and classical artists.
In college at Durham University, he found himself longing for a bit more than what his own congregation offered. Weekly attendance at Evensong at the Durham Cathedral “allowed me to repeat the gospel in an ancient, in a timeless, and most importantly, in a beautiful way,” he said. “I think Anglicanism [appeals to] my logic in understanding the bigness of God, the magnitude of sin, the wonder of the gospel and then learning to pray for individuals, for families, for churches, for communities, and for the world. I think this [time] was the most formative on my music; I learned what church music should be.”
Now, he finds his partnership with the Anglican church to be a privilege and, speaking in terms of forming the next generation in Christian music, Getty acknowledges, “we need Anglicanism much more than Anglicanism needs us right now and that remains my conviction.”
“We should love extraordinary art. Christian art should not be the laughing stock of culture,” Getty contended after reflecting on great Christian hymn writers, like Charles Wesley, who he says were the greatest poets of their time – Christian or not.
He went on to discuss his views that when church leaders of our day speak of reformation needed in this or that, they usually don’t want to engage in conversation about reforming their Sunday services:
“They won’t actually engage in the thing that really shapes our week. At the end of the day, if we don’t sing songs about eternity, we don’t pray eternally. If we are not praying and weeping for the tragedies…and the needs of our fellow believers, I can guarantee you we’re not going to be doing that during the week… So, I think right now there is a huge need to speak to the liturgical content and structure of services, to speak to the theological depth of what we sing, to look at our public prayer, and learn from those who’ve gone before us, and to practice the reading of the Word.”
These are the things, though, he appreciates about Anglicanism and believes we can offer the Church and its music ministers. This is why they want you to join in the partnership and attend their Christmas concerts which will include lessons and carols liturgy.
“The first half is fun! There’s dance; there is instrumental music; there’s performance music and a little bit of singing,” he says of the concert. “Then the second half is inspired by Anglicanism: it’s a reduction of the lessons and carols service in 45 minutes…where we can read through the Christmas story and then people get to sing the great Christmas carols of the faith.”
On November 28, at the concert in Atlanta, Archbishop Foley will be the special guest. He will read during the lessons and carols and share about the meaning of Christmas.
“I told him he has to wear all of his Anglican ‘garb,’” Getty chuckled, speaking of the archbishop’s vestments. “I’m thrilled he’s going to do it. He’s got such a wonderful love of Scripture, the liturgical sense, and the ability to preach, as well as a love for the season and love for the people of Atlanta.”
The Gettys are excited for this year’s concerts where they expect to reach about 40,000 people across the nation. He says they want to “give people a beautiful taste of the Christmas message” and for “everyone to experience something of Christ.”
“The wonderful part of preaching the Gospel at Christmas, it allows us to talk about the anticipation of Jesus…it allows us to talk about the Christ-child coming as a child…it allows us to think about his humanity as well as, of course, being reminded of his death and resurrection.”
For non-believers, Getty says they pray daily that they would come to faith in Jesus through their show. For those who already trust in Jesus, they hope it will be “a special and poignant time of peace and joy.”
Join the Gettys along with special guests like Archbishop Foley Beach at this year’s Sing! An Irish Christmas concerts. To receive a discount, email firstname.lastname@example.org and let them know you are clergy or a member of the Anglican Church in North America.
“We just look forward to you being there. We are available most nights to meet people, so we look forward to that,” says Getty.
For more information about the Christmas concert series, click here and see below.
For more information about the 2019 Sing! Conference, August 19-21 in Nashville, click here.
For more about Getty Music, click here.
|Concert Dates and Locations|
|Atlanta, GA||Nov. 28 Wed||Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center|
|North Augusta, SC||Nov. 29 Thu||First Baptist North Augusta|
|Kingsburg, CA||Dec. 2 Sun||Grace Church of the Valley|
|El Cajon, CA||Dec. 3 Mon||Shadow Mountain Church|
|Costa Mesa, CA||Dec. 4 Tue||Segerstrom Center for the Arts|
|Mesa, AZ||Dec. 5 Wed||Ikeda Theater|
|Dallas, TX||Dec. 7 Fri||Winspear Opera House|
|Colorado Springs, CO||Dec. 10 Mon||Pikes Peak Center|
|New York, NY||Dec. 13 Thu||Carnegie Hall|
|Suffolk, VA||Dec. 14 Fri||Westminster Reformed Presbyterian Church|
|Washington, DC||Dec. 15 Sat||The Kennedy Center|
|Elmira, NY||Dec. 16 Sun||The Clemens Center|
|Fort Wayne, IN||Dec. 18 Tue||Embassy Theater|
|Columbia, MO||Dec. 19 Wed||Missouri Theater|
|St. Louis, MO||Dec. 20 Thu||Concordia Lutheran Church|
|Nashville, TN||Dec. 21 Fri||The Schermerhorn Symphony Hall|
Bonus Fun Fact: Keith Getty has “so many” Christmas favorites. This year, though, he says “the one I’m most looking forward to singing is Charles Wesley’s carol, Come Thou Long Expected Jesus…but at the same time, I always love to sing Angels We Have Heard on High.” For his list of 10 Christmas carols everyone should know, click here.