A Service of Nine Lessons and Carols

On Monday 7th December, with the current Covid restrictions, Schola Cantorum provided the college with its annual Carol service. This followed a traditional setting of Nine Lessons and Carols with a series of readings delivered by the breath of the college community, whilst the service was officiated by our acting Chaplain, Father John Twisleton.

Opening with the usual solo verse of  Once in Royal David’s City sung beautifully and sensitively by Emily Thomas (Fifth, Neal), the service proceeded with numerous unaccompanied carols including MacMillan’s ‘O Radiant Dawn’, Spicer’s ‘In a Field as I lay’ and Warlock’s iconic ‘Bethlehem Down’.

With the strength of the ensemble this year, some further ambitious carols were performed with a sensitive interpretation of Britten’s ‘Hymn to the Virgin’ with an U6 semi chorus atmospherically singing from the West Door. Kenneth Leighton’s ‘Lully Lulla’ featured some wonderful solo lines from Laura Crooks (L6, Neal) whilst the crowning ambition was Lauridsen’s hugely special ‘O magnum Mysterium’, a 6 minute kaleidoscope of wonderful harmonies.

Finally, the service included a couple of accompanied carols with the organ played by the returning Mr Jack Thompson. A carol service is not complete without some music by John Rutter and so his typically tuneful ‘All Bells in Paradise’ was the concluding carol alongside the upbeat ‘Sussex Carol’.

This was a wonderful celebration of musicianship and readings and performing 8 carols alongside the congregational carols was no small feat for the Schola Cantorum. Of course, it is hoped that next year we might return to some sense of norm with a full chapel and a choir of many more voices, however for the meantime, do please enjoy the live recording and video which can be found below: