“Come, O Messiah,” an anthem for SAB choir and organ, traces its roots to a rugged Western alpaca ranch. I was anticipating a planned Advent evensong upon the visit of a regional church leader to a small Michigan church which I served as organist/choir director. I was seeking some text to use for an appropriate anthem for its small church choir for this occasion. As on a warm July day I pondered this on an alpaca ranch, with majestic evergreens and gently undulating pastureland, the idea suddenly occurred to make this an original-texted anthem!
In short order I began to write down names and descriptors for Jesus Christ. From my list of about 75 of them, I winnowed them down in number and refined them and organized them into various topically related categories. I formed poetic stanzas, each having a distinctive topical perspective on Advent: Hebrew anticipation of Messiah, Jesus as Creator, Jesus as Savior, etc.
At an early point in the creative process, I composed a simple, hymnlike melody for the anthem. Organ support followed, the organ part being closely allied to quickly changing textual images in the poem. Upon my return home to Michigan, an extensive editorial process ensued, especially for the organ part, resulting in this anthem. “Come, O Messiah” was premiered during Advent 2014 in a service of Advent lessons and carols.