“Lessons and Carols” in the City and Country

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Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols
3:00 pm • Sunday, December 21st 2014
Cathedral of All Saints • Albany, NY

Kinderhook Celebration of Lessons and Carols
4:00 pm • Sunday, December 21st 2014
Kinderhook Reformed Church • Kinderhook, NY

It’s the last weekend before Christmas. If you need to get out from under the pressure of  the commercially imposed hustle and bustle, consider taking in one of the services of “Lessons and Carols” to bring you back ‘round to what Christmas is actually about.

A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols is the Christmas Eve service held in King’s College Chapel in Cambridge, England. It was first held on Christmas Eve 1918 and introduced as way of bringing a more imaginative approach to worship. The service includes carols and readings from the Bible. Since 1919, the opening carol has always begun with the hymn Once in Royal David’s City, and there is always a new, especially commissioned carol.

In the heart of the city of Albany, the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols takes place in the candlelit Cathedral of All Saints. The Cathedral of All Saints was the first Episcopal cathedral in America to be conceived and built on the English model of church, hospital, convent and school. The brainchild of William Croswell Doane (1832-1914), first Bishop of Albany, the Cathedral was intended to recreate and literally imitate its English prototypes right down to the ancient pavements and stones.

With the Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys led by music director Woodrow Bynum, the message of Christmas is told through music and word. The service features time-honored classics along with other more adventurous settings of traditional carols. This year a festive prelude of music for brass and organ precedes the service at 2:30 pm. The choral selections are to include:

•    Vaughan Williams — This is the truth sent from above
•    Ord — Adam lay ybounden
•    Willocks — Tomorrow shall be my dancing day
•    MacMillan — O radiant dawn
•    Rutter — What sweeter music
•    Skellern — So said the angel
•    Willberg (arr.) — O holy night
•    Whalum — Betelehemu
•    Chilcott — Shepherd’s Carol

Nestled in Columbia County on the other side of the Hudson, the Kinderhook Reformed Church welcomes all to its fifth annual Celebration of Lessons and Carols directed by David Smith and is modeled on that of King’s College, Cambridge. To relate the awe and joy of the nativity, nine distinguished readers drawn from the regional community join an ensemble of over forty singers in the celebratory service that is presided by Pastor Rudy Visser. Throughout the festivities all attending are invited to sing traditional hymns and carols. Choral offerings will include works by Holst, Lauridsen, Mendelssohn, Morley, Ord, Philips, Rutter, Saint-Saëns, Smith, and Willcocks.

This year a piece by David Smith written in 2012 in honor of the 300th Anniversary of Kinderhook Reformed Church will be performed once again: a setting of the 16th-century text “Cast off all doubtful care,” for choir and soloists.

So, whether you’re in the country for the weekend escaping the big city or looking to experience “community” spark found in the city, you’ve got a couple of options on Sunday. Regardless, the center of the service is still found by those who ‘go in heart and mind’ and consent to follow where the story leads.

We hope you can ‘go in heart and mind’ and follow where the story leads.

Upcoming Events

  • The Met’s “Live in HD”: Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
  • Time & Space Limited*, Hudson, NY
    Saturday, December 20th 2014 at 12:00 pm

  • The Met’s “Live in HD”: Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg
  • Lake Placid Center for the Arts, Lake Placid, NY
    Saturday, December 20th 2014 at 12:00 pm

  • Hudson Valley Philharmonic: Händel’s Messiah
  • Ulster Performing Arts Center (UPAC), Kingston (NY)
    Saturday, December 20th 2014 at 2:00 pm

  • Classics on Hudson: Messiah Sing
  • First Presbyterian Church, Hudson (NY)
    Saturday, December 20th 2014 at 4:00 pm

  • via WMHT-FM: A Chanticleer Christmas
  • WMHT-FM (Radio Broadcasts), Troy (NY)
    Saturday, December 20th 2014 at 5:00 pm

  • Albany Symphony Orchestra: The Winter’s Tale
  • Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, NY
    Saturday, December 20th 2014 at 7:30 pm

  • Albany Symphony Orchestra: The Winter’s Tale
  • Troy Savings Bank Music Hall, Troy, NY
    Sunday, December 21st 2014 at 3:00 pm

  • Boston Camerata: An American Christmas
  • Union College Memorial Chapel, Schenectady, NY
    Sunday, December 21st 2014 at 3:00 pm

  • Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys: Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols
  • Cathedral of All Saints, Albany, NY
    Sunday, December 21st 2014 at 3:00 pm

  • Händel’s Messiah Sing
  • First Presbyterian Church of Glens Falls, Glens Falls (NY)
    Sunday, December 21st 2014 at 3:00 pm

  • Kinderhook Celebration of Lessons and Carols
  • Kinderhook Reformed Church, Kinderhook, NY
    Sunday, December 21st 2014 at 4:00 pm

  • via WMHT-FM: St. Olaf Christmas Festival
  • WMHT-FM (Radio Broadcasts), Troy (NY)
    Sunday, December 21st 2014 at 4:00 pm

  • “WMHT Live!”: Calder Quartet
  • WMHT-FM (Radio Broadcasts), Troy (NY)
    Sunday, December 21st 2014 at 6:00 pm

  • via WMHT-FM: A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, Live from King’s College
  • WMHT-FM (Radio Broadcasts), Troy (NY)
    Wednesday, December 24th 2014 at 10:00 am

  • via WMHT-FM: Light and Gold – The Music of Eric Whitacre
  • WMHT-FM (Radio Broadcasts), Troy (NY)
    Thursday, December 25th 2014 at 1:00 pm