The choirs of First Church come together to present the annual Christmas Festival of Lessons & Carols on Sunday, December 20 at 4pm. Due to the ongoing global pandemic, this event will be live-streamed on YouTube and Facebook. Music by Howells, Neary, Willcocks and others, along with many of the beloved carols of Christmas will be heard.
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 on the 1st, 2nd, and 4th Sundays from September to June. Rehearsals are held 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, in 2015 singing daily services at the Cathedral, and at Norwich and Lincoln Cathedrals in 2018. They have been accepted for a residency week at Winchester Cathedral in 2022.
The Christmas Festival of Lessons and Carols is a joyful way to celebrate the season. We look forward to greeting you virtually on December 20. Remember, to receive an email notification of this event, please make certain to subscribe to the email list on the homepage by clicking here.