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Christmas is coming!


Contrabombarde
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And with it comes the busiest time of the year for many church musicians. What special services and celebrations are people planning this year? Anything new or novel?

 

At my own church, St Christopher's Springfield in Birmingham we have brought together I believe for the first time, a children's orchestra and adult choir from members of the congregation. We are hosting a Service of Nine Lessons and Carols this coming Sunday at 6pm, following the traditional King's format and readings. There will be a selection of old and brand new carols, some unaccompanied, some accompanied by organ and yet others orchestrated. The service begins with Kreb's "Wachet auf" on organ with cornet solo and ends with some Verdi, recognising the tercentenary and bicentenary respectively of these two composers' births this year.

 

Christmas blessings,

 

Contrabombarde

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I can't say we're offering anything new or radical in Beeston...

 

Sunday evening - Joint Carol Service at the Methodist Church down the road with me at the console - lessons and carols (although with a few odd congregational choices - 'It was on a starry night' and 'Who would think that what was needed' - neither of which I know). Choir singing A great and mighty wonder, The Holly and the Ivy (arr Walford Davies), Mary's Boy Child (arr Bowsher), Candlelight Carol (Rutter) and Still, still, still (arr Ledger). BWV 729 during the offering, Carillon de Westminster to finish. Whatever random collections of books I take down the road to fill the pre-service time.

 

Christmas Eve, 4.30pm - Chaos Crib Service. A scribbled out order of service I'll get about 10 minutes before the service with a random selection of carols which will always include Away in a Manger and Silent Night. Lefebure-Wely in E flat to finish.

 

Midnight Mass (with smoke - yay!) - standard Mass of St Thomas, probably Still x 3 again from the choir, plus Ding dong (arr Wood) if time permits. Probably WJ Westbrook's arrangement of 'O Holy Night' before, Martin Setchell's Toccata on Joy to the World afterwards - its on Youtube if you're at all interested...

 

Christmas Morning - same Mass without smoke and with slightly different carols, Philip Stopford's Born in a Stable as the anthem and Widor V to finish.

 

In between my Christmas Eve gigs I normally go to St Marys, Nottingham for their Carol Service at 7pm, which looks to be an excellent menu as usual, with the Lanquetuit Toccata on the way out. And I may try to make it to Southwell for theirs the night before too. Glutton for punishment etc.

 

But I may already have had the highlight of my Christmas this year, which was last Sunday evening when I went to Southwell to hear Simon Hogan play 'La Nativite' (with reflections between movements and a piece of art to accompany each) - my first encounter with this piece and one that has certainly left a last impression and has even left me with a desire to learn some of it...

 

Season's greetings to all (when he comes!).

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This is my second Christmas in my current position, and can't say we are doing anything particularly different.

 

Lessons and Carols next Sunday evening which remains fairly traditional and always attracts a fairly large crowd. Christmas Eve: Crib Service at 3pm, and of course our Midnight Service, with another service sandwiched in between at a hospital chapel in Kent. Thankfully Christmas Day is only comprised of a short family service so I can take it a bit easier.

I think I'm using fairly similar voluntary material this year as last year - Widor V, Vierne I, Mulet Carillon-Sortie for afters, and Langlais La Nativite, Oxley 'Whence Is That Goodly Fragrance', Peeters Op.39 Preludes and the suchlike for before. And of course that fabulous little Dupre setting of In Dulci Jubilo. I haven't had much time to learn anything new this year!

 

Festive best wishes to all

 

VA

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Christmas communion at 09.00 this morning and the organ music was Dupré, Variations Sur un Noel with Vierne 1 Finale afterwards. That was in the car on the way over to the church; I actually played the JSB Short Ps & Fs in G Minor and F Major before, Dupré Chorale on In Dulci Jubilo during the communion (because it took me a LOT of work to learn and I wanted people to listen without gassing over it) and Wilbur Held's In Dulci Jubilo afterwards. They gassed over that. Humph...

 

Best wishes to all for the remainder of the festive season.

 

"Bring me flesh and bring me wine" Oh, I'm cooking am I?

 

 

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Was at Bristol Cathedral for the 10am Festival Eucharist.

 

Music before the service: variations on "Greensleaves" (author unknown)

Setting: Missa ad Praesepe (with small orchestra) (George Malcom)

Music after the service: Sortie on "In dulci jubilo" (David Briggs)

 

Preacher & President was the Bishop of Bristol and the sermon went on for 18 minutes which, IIRC, is 7 minutes less than last year.

 

Merry Christmas and Happy 2014 to all at Mander Organs and to all my fellow members of this forum.

 

Dave

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Dave, how lovely to see the George Malcolm Christmas Mass being used - a delightful work!

Yes it was very nice and the small orchestra added to the atmosphere as well. I had a look in the Daily Telegraph on Christmas Eve where, in among the service times, the music being used in some of the Cathedrals was also listed. A wide variety of stuff! I think Worcester was using the same setting as Bristol but I can't remember.

 

Dave

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