Festival of Lessons and Carols

  • on 4 Dec 2011
  • All Saints' Chapel
lessons and carols

For more than 50 years, people have been coming to the mountaintop campus of the Sewanee: The University of the South to attend the Festival of Lessons and Carols. There will be two services of the 2011 Festival of Lessons and Carols in all Saints’ Chapel on Sunday, Dec. 4, both open to the public. The first service begins at 5 p.m. and the second begins at 8 p.m. (all times Central). The doors open one hour before the beginning of each service.

The service is based on one that has been sung annually since 1918 at King’s College Chapel in Cambridge, England. It features the 35-student University Choir under the direction of University Organist and Choirmaster Dr. Robert Delcamp and Dr. Jason Farris, assistant university organist. The radiant music of the choir is complemented by readings by members of the university community. The Nashville Brass quintet will provide accompaniments for the hymns and carols.

The music for the 2011 Festival services includes a setting of Adam lay ybounden by Maryland composer Gary Davison, commissioned by the choir for the 2011 services. Other music includes a setting of the Advent Prose, Drop down, ye heavens, from above, by prominent British composer Judith Weir, whose works have been commissioned by the Boston Symphony and the BBC Symphony; Comfort ye, my people arranged by Joseph M. Martin; a setting of the Medieval carol I sing of a maiden by English composer Herbert Sumsion; John Rutter’s arrangement of the Medieval carol Personent Hodie, and Welcome all wonders, by American composer Richard Wayne Dirksen, for many years the composer in residence and organist/choirmaster of the Washington National Cathedral.

Both the 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. services of Lessons and Carols are open to the public. Seating for the services is limited and is on a first-come, first-seated basis. Requests for handicap access and seating should be directed to the Chapel office at 931.598.1274.

The University Choir will release its eighth CD during the weekend of Lessons and Carols. O Praise God in His Holiness—A Three Cathedrals Tour contains music recorded live during the choir's tour of England last May and June.

The choir sang services at St. Albans, Rochester, and Canterbury Cathedrals as well as at the American Cathedral in Paris. The CD contains music recorded live at Matins and Choral Evensong at St. Albans, Choral Evensong at Rochester, and Choral Evensong at Canterbury Cathedral. The choir spent a four-day residency at Canterbury Cathedral, allowing them to become part of the life of the cathedral, a unique experience for a student choir.

The CD will be available before and after the Lessons and Carols services, from the All Saints' Chapel office, or directly from the University Choir (931.598.1275).



Right, the choir rehearsing at Canterbury Cathedral