All the choirs of First Church present the annual Festival of Christmas Lessons & Carols on Sunday, December 17 at 4pm. The prelude music begins at 3.30pm. Doors open at 3pm. Music of Richard Allain, Kenneth Leighton, Elizabeth Poston, and many others will be heard. Please come early to assure a good seat at this very popular, capacity-crowd event.
Based on ancient sources, the first service of this kind in modern times was held in Victorian England. Father E.W. Benson, later Archbishop of Canterbury and father of E.F. Benson who authored the Lucia novels, began the practice of a Festival Service of Lessons and Carols in preparation for the Christmas Feast, first in his parish church and later at Canterbury Cathedral. Popularized by recordings from King’s College, Cambridge, this service has come to be associated with a traditional celebration of Christmas by millions of people throughout the world. Its spirit and content sum up the true spirit of the season, while taking us in heart and mind to the Christmas celebrations of former times.
The First Church Choir sings at the 11 a.m. service each Sunday from September to June. Rehearsals are held in the second floor choir room on Thursdays, 7:15-9:15 p.m., and on Sunday morning before the worship service. The choir alternates singing from the Gallery or the Chancel, depending on the service of the day. Professional section leaders assist the musicianship and sound as the choir explores five centuries of great choral music. The choir participates in the Congregational Concerts series, including fall and spring choral concerts, Christmas Lessons and Carols, services of Evensong and special music for Holy Week and Easter Day. The choir was in residence at Gloucester Cathedral, UK, from August 3-9, 2015, singing daily services at the Cathedral, and will be traveling to England again in July 2018 to be in residence at Norwich and Lincoln Cathedrals.