A Loth to depart was the common term for a song sung, or a tune played, on taking leave of friends in Elizabethan times. The popular tune, of unknown origin, was treated to a number of settings, both vocal and instrumental, and the tune and text were referred to in a number of plays in the 17th century. In modern times, the New York-based early music group Ex Umbris sang an arrangement of Loath to depart by Grant Herreid at the end of their performances. Our friend and colleague Tom Zajac was a co-founder of Ex Umbris; about thirty musicians and two hundred congregants sang and played Loath to depart for Tom at his memorial service in New York City, November 6, 2015. We are including Loath to depart near the end of the concert as a tribute to Tom and also as a reminder that we love the Christmas concert and are loath that it's coming to a close!
Sing with thy mouth, sing with thy heart,
Like faithful friends, sing Loath to depart;
Though friends together may not always remain,
Yet Loath to depart sing once again.
And, I’m loath to say, we are the end of our 12 Days of Christmas factoid per day thing; it has been fun. We think you’ll enjoy the concerts even more, of course.