Music for Lessons and CarolsThis Sunday, December 17, at 4 pm, the Cathedral Choir will present the 45th annual celebration of Lessons and Carols. Archbishop William Lori will preside over this service of music and readings. The Cathedral Choir under the direction of Wm. Glenn Osborne will be joined by a brass quintet, timpani, and organist Paul Binko.
The best-known celebration of Lessons and Carols takes place at King’s College, Cambridge. The service was first held there in 1918 and has been held every year since then. We begin with the same traditional hymn that they use, “Once in Royal David’s City.” Sir David Willcocks directed the choir at King’s College from 1957 to 1974. His arrangements of the opening hymn and “The First Nowell” provide a musical link between our service and the service at King’s College.
King’s College also traditionally includes a new work in their service every year. While not a new composition, our service will include “There Is No Rose” by Philip Stopford for the first time this year. Mr. Stopford began his musical training as a chorister at Westminster Abbey. For four years he sang the daily services of Evensong, Eucharist, and Matins. In addition to singing, he began studying piano, violin, and organ there.
Stopford’s earliest published work was written while he was organ scholar at Truro Cathedral. At age 25, he became the youngest Anglican Cathedral Organist when he was appointed Director of Music at St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast. In January 2016, after a period as composer in residence, he became Director of Music at Christ Church, Bronxville, New York. Nine CDs have been released that include his compositions, and for seven of those he is the only composer represented. Quite an accomplishment for someone who is not yet 40!
Speaking of CDs, Lessons and Carols will be the release event for the new organ recording from the Cathedral, A Child Is Born: Music for Advent and Christmas. Come enjoy the choral tradition, and consider taking some of the music home with you.