In this service of Readings & Music, we will revisit all the seasons of the church’s liturgical calendar year, from Advent thru Ordinary time, as we prepare for the cycle to begin again the following Sunday. We’ll hear a piece of music and a reading from each season.
Music Festivals are a wonderful opportunity to experience different kinds of music, and will be presented periodically throughout the program year. Invite your friends and neighbors to join us for some great music.
On Sunday December 18 join us for a special music festival service. Our choir and clergy will lead us in lessons and carols for the season as we turn from Advent toward Christmas. There are no tickets, and like all services at Holy Communion there is no charge for admission. All are welcome, but you may want to plan to arrive early to get a good seat, this service tends to fill up.
Where does this tradition come from?
The tradition of the service of Lessons and Carols comes from the Chapel of King’s College, Cambridge, where it was first observed on Christmas Eve, 1918. Since 1919 the service has begun with the hymn “Once in royal David’s city.” Most often this was introduced by a boy chorister, singing alone, unaccompanied. Custom has it that no one knows which boy will sing the famous opening verse, including that boy himself, until the conductor gives him the signal to begin.
The service was adapted from an Order drawn up by the Reverend E.W. Benson, later Archbishop of Canterbury, for use in the wooden shed that then served as his cathedral in Truro, at 10:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve 1880. Beginning in 1928 the service was broadcast by the BBC, and except in 1930, it has been heard annually. Sometime during the 1930s, overseas broadcasts were begun, resulting in millions of world-wide listeners each year.
A worldwide Anglican tradition.
Since its beginning the service has been adapted for use around the globe. One correspondent reported hearing the service in a tent on the foothills of Mt. Everest; another, in the desert. King’s College Dean Eric Milner-White, who instituted the services in Cambridge, points out, “The main theme is the development of the loving purposes of God. . .[seen] through the windows and words of the Bible.” Many of those who took part in the first service must have recalled loved ones killed in the Great War when it came to the famous passage “all those who rejoice with us but on another shore and in a greater light.”
This December 24 marks the 101st service at King’s College, Cambridge. In addition to those present for the service, and those listening to the broadcast, thousands more will celebrate with Lessons and Carols in local services, as we do in this parish. So it is that we at Holy Communion, in University City, in this year of our Lord two thousand and nineteen, join the throngs of pilgrims to the Manger, preparing for the coming of Messiah by means of this Service of Lessons and Carols. God with us. Emmanuel.
All voices and levels of singing experience are welcome to sing in our summer pickup choir. The summer choir meets the second and fourth Sunday of June, July, and August at 9:30am. (No weekday rehearsal). We sing through the appointed hymns and psalm, then learn a simple anthem for that morning’s 10:30am service. It’s a great way to meet a few of the choir members, and to enjoy singing in a choir without a yearlong commitment. Questions? Just email Mary Chapman at [email protected].
On April 29th, the choir of Holy Communion will have the distinct honor of presenting the Missa Popularis by Swedish composer Mårten Jansson during our 10:30am service. This will be first time this work has been performed in its entirety outside of Europe. Until then, only audiences in Poland (Poznan), the United Kingdom (London), Germany (Cologne and Pulheim), and Sweden (Brunnby and Skeda, outside of Uppsala) had been able to enjoy this delightful work.
The Missa Popularis was originally written for an all-girls choir and string quartet, and was premiered in Poland in 2015. Eventually lines for tenor and bass were added, complementing the women’s voices and adding a richer texture to the piece. As the name suggests,Missa Popularis is a Missa brevis inspired by different types of Swedish folk dances, music that the composer heard often while growing up. While the tunes are entirely original, the meter, or timing, of each movement is based on folk dances.
Listen to the “Gloria” from this beautiful Missa Popularis.
Composer Mårten Jansson (b. 1965), elected member of the Föreningen svenska tonsättare (the Society of Swedish Composers), graduated from the Kungliga Musikhögskolan (Royal College of Music), Stockholm with a MFA degree in Music Education, Dalcroze Eurhythmics and Voice. For more than ten years he was the music director and conductor of “Carmen,” one of the most prominent women’s vocal ensembles in Sweden. Working with this choir gave Jansson the impetus to write many of his early compositions for female choir. “The knowledge that what I wrote at night would be tested the next evening was a driving force that not so many other composers were lucky to have.”
Jansson currently teaches choral conducting as well as music theory and gives vocal instruction at the Bolandgymnasiet and Musikskolan in his home town of Uppsala. He has established himself as a composer of sacred choral works. Since 2014 many of his compositions have been published by Bärenreiter, and have been well-received within the international choral scene.
On Sunday, February 26, 2017, at the 10:30 service, our Music Festival will get in the spirit of Mardi Gras.
Bob Chilcott is one of the busiest and most popular choral composers and conductors in Britain today. His involvement in choral music began as a boy chorister at King’s College, Cambridge. Since 1997 he has worked as a full-time composer, including with such jazz luminaries as George Shearing, Richard Rodney Bennett and John Dankworth. His setting of the Latin Missa Brevis, A Little Jazz Mass, was composed for the 2004 Crescent City Choral Festival in New Orleans and successfully brings together the very diverse traditions of the Latin mass and the jazz idiom.