A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols - King’s College Choir - Jim Critcher
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A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols – King’s College Choir

A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols – King’s College Choir

The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols is a service of worship dating to 1880. Intended to be offered on Christmas Eve at 10pm, the Archbishop of Canterbury hoped that this service – with its juxtaposition of nine short bible readings along with carols, hymns and choir music – would keep men out of the pubs on this holy night.

The best-known version is broadcast annually from King’s College, Cambridge on Christmas Eve featuring the famous choir from that institution. The BBC first began broadcasting the service in 1928 and except for 1930, has continued every year since.

This recording is a 2 CD live recording form 2009. Everything about this recording, from the English accented reading of Scripture to the wonderful ambience of the Chapel, has never been better captured. Most of us will probably never get to experience this in person. There are about 650 seats in the Chapel and the obvious demand for seats always exceeds the number available. The service begins a little after 3pm, usually lasting until around 4:30pm. The line for admittance begins to form through the main gate at 7:30am when it opens (although some start standing in line overnight.) Short of a trip to Cambridge and a long wait in line with no guarantee of a seat, this recording is the best option to actually being at King’s. A beautiful experience and a great Christmas Eve tradition can be found here.

Thanks for the musical journey together over the past three weeks. I trust that you found something both new and significant along the way. Never has music found any source of higher inspiration than in the Person and miracle that is Christmas. Music serves to accent the moment and also provides a touchstone to history, be it memories from our families or great traditions musically brought forward from centuries past.

Almost 500 years ago Martin Luther wrote, “Music is the art of the prophets and the gift of God.” This statement is as true and timeless as the music itself. Merry Christmas from Angie and me. Blessings.