Standing room only at the College Carol Service
This year’s service of Nine Lessons and Carols in the College chapel was busier than ever before. Almost 300 people attended, with many sitting on the floor in the sanctuary or standing in the antechapel.
Fellows and students joined in singing traditional carols and listening to a selection of anthems from the choir, expertly directed by Organ Scholar Joshua Hales (2009, Music). One special guest at the service was the contemporary composer Cecilia McDowall, recently signed by Oxford University Press. The choir sang her beautiful and festive setting of the 15th century English carol Now may we singen. Despite the pressure of singing before the composer, they sang extremely well and Cecilia McDowall was most complimentary about their rendition.
Another highlight of the service was the dimming of lights and lighting of candles for the reading of the Christmas Gospel. The chapel looked truly magical lit by 300 candles and the choir’s finale, Taverner’s God is with us, was all the more dramatic and awe-inspiring in such a stunning and atmospheric context.
Old members are welcome to attend the carol service but should arrive early unless they are happy to sit on the floor with the students!