Tuesday, November 29, 2011

"Come Through the Gloom" - Lessons and Carols at South Church

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Though I no longer sing regularly with the wonderful Chancel Choir at South Church in New Britain, I was delighted to have been invited to sing with the choir for the Candlelight Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, which is offered this year on Sunday, December 18 at 4:00 p.m. This service is part of the celebrated Music Series at South Church, now in its 39th season.

"Come Through the Gloom" is the title of an anthem composed for the choir by Kevin McGoff; it has a nice welcoming sort of sound to it.


This worship service is free and open to the public, but you might want to get there early to secure a seat. The church really fills up for this beautiful event, which is modeled on the Festival of Lessons and Carols at King’s College, Cambridge, first held in 1918.

Even if you are not a religious person, this service is a nice opportunity to hear the Christmas story told in its entirety, in a lovely setting, and far away from any crass commercialism. The Chancel Choir is a remarkable ensemble, known for its musicianship and artistry, and the Gress-Miles pipe organ is always worth hearing. (How I’ve missed that instrument!)

Much beautiful music is in store – I’ve appended the program below.

A Candlelight Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols
Sunday, December 18, 2011, 4:00 p.m.
South Church, New Britain, Connecticut

INVITATORY CAROL

“The Holly and the Ivy”
Words: Anonymous Medieval Carol
Setting (2010): June Nixon (b. 1942)

PROPHECY I

“Remember, O Thou Man”
Words: Anonymous ballad
Setting: Thomas Ravenscroft (c1592-1633)

PROPHESY II

“Come through the Gloom”
Words: George MacDonald
Setting (2010): Kevin McGoff
(Dedicated to the South Church Chancel Choir)

PROPHECY III

“I Look from Afar”
Words: Psalm 80, and Gloria Patria
Setting (1983): Anthony Piccolo

THE ANNUNCIATION

“Annunciation Carol”
Words: Anonymous 15th Century carol
Setting (2000): Robert Lehman (b. 1960)

THE BIRTH OF JESUS

“I Wonder as I Wander”
Words: Traditional Appalachian
Setting (1996/2000): Carl Rütti (b. 1949)

THE ANGELS AND THE SHEPHERDS

“Angels, from the Realms of Glory”
Words: James Montgomery (1771-1854)
Setting (2010): Malcolm Archer (b. 1952)

THE MAGI

“Lully, lulla, Thou Little Tiny Child”
Words: 15th century English ballad
Setting (1984): Kenneth Leighton (1929-1988)

SIMEON AND ANNA

“Nunc Dimittis”
Words: from Luke 2
Setting (1924): George Dyson (1883-1964)

THE INCARNATION

“O Come, All Ye Faithful” [congregational hymn]
Words: from John 1

THE OFFERTORY

“The Little Drummer Boy”
Words & Music: Harry Simeone; arr. (1981): John McCarthy

“On Christmas Night”
Words: Sussex Carol
Setting (1978): Philip Ledger (b. 1937)

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