The Choir of St. Marys United Church will present A Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols on Sunday, Dec. 18 at 3:00 pm at St. Marys United Church (85 Church Street South). The 20 voices of the United Church choir will be augmented by a dozen additional singers, all of which will be conducted by the church’s Director of Music, Timothy Gilbert. Ian Sadler, Conductor of the Stratford Concert Choir and Organist of St. James’ Cathedral in Toronto will play the splendid Casavant organ. The Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols, introduced at the Chapel of King’s College, Cambridge, England in 1918, tells the story of the birth of Christ through traditional scripture readings, carols and the great hymns of Christmas. The service begins very simply, with a single voice singing Once in Royal David’s City in the same manner that great stories commence with the famous opening of “Once upon a time…”. The Christmas story is traced from Adam and Eve and the original sin, through the Old Testament prophecies of the coming of the Messiah, and reaches its climax with the New Testament revelations of the birth of Christ. Woven around the lessons are carols and hymns to be sung by the choir and congregation. In addition to the congregational singing, the choir will perform 13 carols, including Sussex Carol, In the Bleak Mid-Winter, Ding-dong! Merrily on High, Silent Night, The Three Kings and Tomorrow Shall be My Dancing Day. New this year will be an arrangement of The Seven Joys of Mary by Stephen Cleobury, the current Director of Music at King’s College. The members of the congregation will have the opportunity to sing such hymns as O Come, All Ye Faithful, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing, While Shepherds Watched and God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen. All are invited to attend this traditional English candlelit carol service, which is guaranteed to put you in the Christmas Spirit. A free will collection will be taken, and a reception with Christmas goodies will take place in the Church Hall following the service. For more information, contact Timothy Gilbert at 519- 272-0256.
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