The Archangel Gabriel is an important part of the Christmas story. He is the messenger who visits Mary and announces she will give birth to Jesus. He is the subject of one of our favorite carols, and we have sung the story of his visit countless times over the years. But music is not the only art form that tells stories. That’s why we are thrilled to have this messenger with us on Saturday evening in the form of an icon. Local artist Anne Sheedy Gardner created, or “wrote,” it using traditional techniques from the sixteenth century and earlier. She used clay, gesso, ground pigments, egg tempura, and 24 karat gold, praying through each brushstroke.
“I encountered my first icons at an early age growing up in San Francisco and then again as a music conservatory student in Rome when I was a teenager. They called to me. There is tremendous peace in doing this focused, contemplative practice. There is great humility in offering oneself to this process with the hope of eventually helping others in their own spiritual practices. Sacred art can illuminate all our lives and bring us peace.”
Anne currently studies the Prosopon School Russian influenced/Byzantine techniques with iconographer, Jane Tan Creti. She was educated in Rome, New York City, and London. She recently retired from teaching music at Peru State College. She is on the faculty of the School of Sacred Art in New York City and lives in Lincoln, Nebraska. We hope you will spend a few moments with Gabriel on Saturday evening before or after the concert, or during intermission.
Alma redemptoris mater
Loving Mother of the Redeemer, who remains the gate by which we mortals enter heaven, and star of the sea, help your fallen people who strive to rise. You who gave birth, amazing nature, to your sacred Creator, Virgin prior and following, taking from the mouth of Gabriel that Hail! Have mercy on our sins.