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By Alyssa CowellPreparing for Holiday Break

There’s no two ways about it, the year is winding down and we’re heading into the holiday season. While everyone knows that means Christmas songs will be on the radio imminently, I recently found myself wondering what kind of music the attendees of the first Thanksgiving might have enjoyed.

To my disappointment, and admittedly, the small amount of research available, I find that the Puritans probably weren’t listening to or performing much music in 1621 Plymouth. Puritan beliefs eschewed music for entertainment; they most likely sang musical arrangements of the Psalms exclusively. Most often, a church leader would sing a line of a Psalm, which was then sung repeated back to him by the congregation in a style of singing called “lining out” or “hymn lining.”

In light of the lack of festive Pilgrim Music to be found, I started thinking about music that seems appropriate for the time of year and the point of the holiday and compiled a list of songs that instill a sense of gratitude for the many blessings I experience in life. Maybe a few of them will provide an introspective atmosphere at your Thanksgiving meal this year!

Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland

Concerto No. 3 in F major, Op. 8, RV 293, “L’autunno” by Antonio Vivaldi

Thanksgiving by George Winston

The Promise of Living from The Tenderland by Aaron Copland

Variation IX – Nimrod – from Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations

For the Beauty of the Earth by Conrad Kocher

Silent Noon by Ralph Vaughan Williams

Symphony No. 9 in E minor, “From the New World,” Op. 95, B. 178 by Atonin Dvorak