Ellen Oak

artistic excellence | intellectual acuity | spiritual imagination | cultural courage

Singing Light: Music in celebration of the mystery of incarnation

This CD was recorded by the KAIROS Vocal Ensemble, which Ellen founded, directed, and sang with. For years KAIROS was in residence at Andover Newton Theological School and offered a monthly evening of Gregorian chant sung according to the neumes of ninth and tenth century manuscripts which document an aural tradition already hundreds of years old. This interpretation of the chant has a very different sonority and spirituality from the later, and now almost ubiquitous, Solesmes style of chanting. On this  CD, four women of KAIROS sing chant and polyphony for Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany, giving voice to a thousand years of song, handing on a living faith, sounding Presence, calling forth the future.

Kairos is one of the Greek words for time. In contrast to chronos, which refers to chronological time, kairos refers to the right moment, the propitious time. We cannot know this time merely by looking at our watch. To the Greeks it was a decisive or crucial place or point, whether spatially, materially, or temporally. To the Gospel writers it was the fullness of time in which God sent Wisdom-Word into the world. Kairos is the eternal Now: each moment ripe with the opportunity to encounter Presence. The living song we create exists moment by moment, always and only in the Here and Now. When we sing together, we seek to sound kairos. We choose to open ourselves to the joys and demands of kairos: the fullness of life unfolding in our midst.

Below please find four of the 15 tracks on the CD.

Ave Maria

Offertory chant for Advent IV

Ave maria, gratia plena, dominus tecum; 

benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui.  Quomodo in me fiet hoc, quae virum non cognosco? 

Spiritus domini superveniet in te, et virtus altissimi obumbrabit tibi.  Et benedictus fructus ventris tui.  

Ideoque, quod nascetur ex te sanctum, vocabitur fiius dei.   Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui. 

(cf. Luke 1:  26-38)

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: 

blessed art thou among women, 

and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. 

How shall this be wrought in me, who have not known a man? 

The spirit of the Lord shall come upon thee,

 and the spirit of the most high shall overshadow thee.   

And blessed is the fruit of thy womb.  

Therefore, thy offspring is sacred, and shall be called the son of God.   Blessed art thou and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. 

(Translation:  Traditional)

O Sponsa Dei Electa

from the "Worcester Fragments" Anonymous, 13thc.

O sponsa dei electa,

esto nobis via recta

ad aeterna gaudia.

Ubi pax et gloria:

tu nos semper aure pia,

dulcis exaudi maria.


O chosen spouse of God,

be to us a right path

to eternal joy.

There, is peace and glory:

always with kind ear,

hear us, sweet Mary.


Jubilate Deo

Offertory chant for the Sunday within the octave of Epiphany

Jubilate Deo omnis terra, 

servite Domino in laetitia.  

Intrate in conspectu eius in exultatione, 

quia Dominus ipse est Deus.  

Ipse fecit nos et non ipse nos.  

Nos autem populus eius et oves pascue eius.  

Quia Dominus ipse est Deus.  

Laudate nomen eius, quoniam suavis est Dominus.  

In aeternum misericordia eius 

et usque in saeculum saeculi veritas eius.  

(Psalm 100: 1-2, 3, 5)

Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth.  

Worship the LORD with gladness.  

Come into God's presence with singing.  

Know that the LORD is God. 

 It is God who made us, and not we ourselves.  

We are the people of God, the sheep of God's flock.  

For the LORD is God. 

 Bless God's name, for the LORD is good.  

God's mercy endures forever 

and God's faithfulness to all generations.  

Shona Gloria. Text: Traditional. Music: Lee R. Kesselman, 20thc.

Mbiri kuna Mwari kumusoroso

Rugare kuna vanhu venyu pasi pano.

(Luke 2:14)

Glory to God in the highest

And peace to his people on earth.