Upcoming Concerts and Events

Sunday December 11
5:30pm
Christ Church Episcopal

Celebrating Christmas carols, hymns, and poetry both new and old, this service of lessons and carols is sure to get you in the Christmas spirit! The nine lessons told as a part of this service walk through the Christmas story, from Earth's creation to the arrival of the Magi to witness the birth of Jesus Christ in the manger.

 

Each choral carol and congregational hymn is meant to accentuate the stories told through these lessons, and to inspire joy and wonderment in the miracle of the Christmas story.

 

This year's theme is Christmas from the female perspective featuring music by female composers, arrangers, and lyricists.

In addition to some beloved hymnal standards such as "Once is Royal David's City", and "Lo, How a Rose", we will be performing a number of less traditional anthems such as "In the Stillness" by Sally Beamish, "Gold and Spices" by Alison Willis, and even an arrangement of "Silent Night" by our Artistic Director, Janelle Wigal Wagoner!

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While often associated with Kings College in Cambridge from the early 20th century, the tradition of presenting a service of Nine Lessons and Carols can be traced back to the late 19th century to Truro Cathedral in Cornwall.

In the late 19th century, it was still common practice for singers to travel about their towns, performing (often secular) Christmas carols for their friends and neighbors but the practice of performing carols as part of a service had been mostly excluded. from Christian Worship. It was not until Composer and Organist John Stainer began to research and compile carols for his publication of "Christmas Carols Old and New" that carols were introduced into the service of Evensong at St. Paul's Cathedral in London. Having had an example set that carols were welcome in regular service, other local parishes began to include them and in 1878, Truro Cathedral performed their first full service of Christmas Carols on December 20th. With the great success of the service and increasing popularity of the practice, the Bishop of Truro, Edward White Benson, conducted the first formal Nine Lessons and Carols just 2 years later on Christmas Eve, 1880. The popularity of the service was not contained to the Church of England, but had been adapted by congregations in the broader Anglican communion and even Roman Catholic communities in England and Wales. 

Looking for a way to relieve the stress of the recently ended Great War, soften the hardened views of religion at the time, and bring people back to Christian worship, Eric Millner-White, a veteran army chaplain and newly appointed Dean, used the established choral tradition of King's College to introduce Bishop Benson's Nine Lessons and Carols service Christmas Eve, 1918 directed by Organist Arthur Henry Mann. Due to the success of the program and subsequent productions, the BBC began to broadcast the King's College's annual performance of the Nine Lessons and Carols service in 1928 and has done so every year since, except for in 1930. 

 

While the bible lessons read during the service have not changed since 1919, the hymns and carols sung between have seen some variation over the years, including one new carol per year being commissioned for the choir since 1982, except for 2020.

Future Concerts

Checkout our homepage for our full 2022-2023 season schedule!

Check back here as upcoming concerts draw near for more details.