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Festival Of Nine Lessons And Carols 2014

CHRISTMAS in Nassau will be celebrated during the traditional Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols which takes place this Sunday at 6.30pm at Christ Church Cathedral.

Leading the singing of carols and anthems for the service will be the Highgrove Singers, under the direction of Adrian A W Archer.

“Once again our choir is pleased to sing the lessons and carols service which has been the tradition at Christ Church for more than 50 years,” Mr Archer said.

The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols is a service of Christian worship celebrating the birth of Jesus that is traditionally followed at Christmas. The story of the fall of humanity, the promise of the Messiah, and the birth of Jesus is told in nine short Bible readings from Genesis, the prophetic books and the Gospels, interspersed with the singing of Christmas carols, hymns and choir music.

The format was based on an order drawn up by Edward Benson, later Archbishop of Canterbury but at that time Bishop of Truro, in Cornwall, for use on Christmas Eve in 1880.

Tradition says that he organised a 10pm service on Christmas Eve in a temporary wooden structure serving as his cathedral and that the purpose of the service was to keep men out of the pubs.

Joining the choir for this year’s presentation will be the Hand Bell Ensemble of the Golden Gates World Ministries under the direction of Navarro Gibson.

“We are happy to have the bell choir from Golden Gates join us once again,” said Mr Archer. “The group is so competent and musical and they help explore the rich repertoire of music for voices and bells. In fact, one of the more modern pieces for the carol service is entitled ‘Winter Solstice Carol’ by William Beckstrand, which is a challenging piece for bells and double choir.”

Hand Bell choir director Mr Gibson said: “Our group is thrilled to have been asked to come to the Cathedral once again to play at the carol service. We will present three pieces at the very start of the carol service, Waldrop’s ‘The Little Drummer Boy’, Dobrinski’s ‘Silver Bells’ and Sherman’s arrangement of the ‘Ukrainian Carol of the Bells’.”

“As to the rest of choral music, the singers have been excited to wander through Christmas music across the centuries,” said Mr Archer. “The service begins and ends with motets by the 16th century composer G F Palestrina, however, between those motets we will present the music of P I Tchaikovsky, Malcolm Archer, Susan Boersma, John Tavener, Faye Lopez, Mack Wilberg, Howard Helvey, Dan Forrest and a jazz inspired version of the Ravenscroft ‘Remember, O Thou Man’ by the English composer Bob Chilcott. Accompanying the choir will be Yvonne Foulkes and Raymond Antonio on piano and organ and Miss Cathy Jirjhakle on Violin.”

Readers of the lessons for the carol service will include Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling; G Kingsley Knowles, Archdeacon of the East Central Archdeaconry in the Diocese of the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands; Ellison Thompson, deputy director general of Tourism; Tonya Bastian Galanis, principal of the Eugene Dupuch Law School; Darville Walkine, director of the Bahamas Christian Chorale; Valerie Gaitor, director of Communications in the Ministry of Education; former broadcast journalist Andrew Knowles; Britany Burrows and Aaron Humes, members of the Cathedral Children’s Choir.

Finally, a carol service like this needs the active participation of the congregation, and familiar carols for congregational singing will be lead by Dr Sparkman Ferguson on the great organ of the cathedral.

Admission to the service is without charge, however, an offering will be taken at the conclusion of the service.

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