At St Nicholas, we also have a solo voice singing the first verse of Once In Royal David’s city to begin the Christmas Eve. But as we don’t have any treble-voice choirboys, a soprano will sing it.
As the afternoon sun beats down on the parties on Bondi Beach, Sydney, this Christmas Eve, one Australian will be thinking of the chill English winter air in Cambridge where a young choirboy will soon be stepping forward, alone, to sing the first verse of Once in Royal David’s City.
The solo is the traditional opening to the annual Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, a service that is broadcast live on Radio 4 from the chapel of King’s College, Cambridge. And this year the time-honoured mix of sacred Christmas tunes, from While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night to O Come All Ye Faithful, will include a new carol from Carl Vine, an Australian composer.
Link: Bleak midwinter to Sydney sun: Kings College carol service gets a taste
Music is a big part of worship at St Nicholas, and it’s been a big part of the experience at St Bede’s as well.
At St Nick’s, we often sing or chant psalms; St Bede’s uses a book of praise songs, and both communities are familiar with various hymns.
Here’s an item from Huffington Post on the subject:
So, I feel bad for the biblical psalms. In Hebrew, their home language, the collection is called tehillim — “songs of praise.” This ups the mystery ante. After all, the book is dominated by complaint. Evocative expressions of pain and suffering — all kinds and on all levels are far more common than happier sentiments. Yet somehow, all together, they are “Praise Songs.” And how poignant that the book’s Greek title, Psalms, comes from a word that may refer as much to a stringed instrument as the “songs” it accompanied.
Now, you may call me sacrilegious, but as much as I wish we knew the full music of those biblical texts, I do not believe that they alone possess sanctifying power. I do not believe that the sacred is bound by text or that the divine is circumscribed by religion. Holiness happens in the oddest places and may be carried along by something as profound, as singular and transitory, as a song.
Link: The Power of Music: Holiness Hitches a Ride – The Huffington Post
Please plan to join us on Christmas Eve and / or Christmas Day. All are welcome! Here is the service schedule:
4:30 P.M. A Christmas Eve Service for the Young and Young-at-Heart
9:00 P.M. A Festival of Lessons and Carols with Eucharist
10:00 A.M. Festival Christmas Service
Where better to spend Christmas than at St. Nick’s?