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By Sally Neel
Special to The PREVIEW
This Sunday evening, 5 p.m., at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, the Choir of St. Patrick’s will present the traditional Service of Lessons and Carols as the monthly Sunday Night Unplugged offering.
The service will be a modified version of the one begun at Kings College Cambridge in 1918, and will include beautiful Advent and Christmas anthems, hymns, and readings.
The Choir of St. Patrick’s, under the direction of Sally Neel, supports and enhances the music of the church at each Sunday morning worship service, offering two anthems each week and leading congregational hymn singing. Each summer, the choir sponsors a summer choral workshop with a guest conductor through which members and guest choristers work to improve their singing skills. The choir has continued to grow both in numbers and skill levels over the past four years, consistently offering beautiful music to worshippers.
The service of Lessons and Carols was developed by Edward White Benson, who was later to become Archbishop of Canterbury. It has become a featured event at Kings College Cambridge each Christmas eve, where it has become internationally anticipated and enjoyed on broadcasts around the world.
Lessons and Carols is a traditional Anglican service that includes beautiful prayers and scripture lessons that trace the prophetic proclamations and birth of Jesus. Each lesson is punctuated by a choral anthem or congregational hymn. The dignity and quiet beauty of the service offers a gentle contrast to the glitz and glitter of pre-Christmas commercialism and is well in keeping with the meditational concept of Sunday Night Unplugged.
“This is the perfect meditational service for this beautiful season of Advent,” says Fr. Douglas Neel, rector of St. Patrick’s. “It is our prayer that it will serve as a touching reminder of the divine gift that came to all humankind through the birth of Christ. In the midst of all the materialistic emphasis put on the season, it is good to step back and recall the vital importance of the event we celebrate. The Service of Lessons and Carols brings that message home in a very special way. We hope that many will come and hear the choir, sing the hymns, and listen to the words that prepare us for the celebration of Christmas Day.”
Sunday Night Unplugged is a monthly music and meditation offering by St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, located at 225 S. Pagosa. The public is invited to attend.
For more information, call 731-5801.