I always look forward to the MPR airing of the Festival of Nine Lessons Carols from Kings College in Cambridge, England. I have been in the chapel at Kings on a couple of occasions and sat in the choir stalls next the choir during an Evensong service. This Sunday, our church is having its second annual performance of Lessons and Carols, and I am really excited because I get to plan it.
Our bell choir director asked me to finalize the program for the service again this year. She is more interested in the music than the lessons, and you have to take both into consideration when you plan the service. The hymns and musical numbers need to reflect the meaning of the lessons. For example, the first lesson is about the Adam and Eve story, and the music that follows needs to reflect the Fall. Hence, the musical number is will be that of the choir singing Lost in the Night, a mournful and serious (but kind of hopeful) Finnish Christmas carol. The Kings service always starts out with a lone boy soprano singing the first verse, acapella, of Once in Royal David’s City. We don’t have any boy sopranos, but we have a female high school Junior who has a pure and high voice and who is willing to give it a try. Local people from other denominations will read the lessons, and our bell choir and vocal choir will perform songs.
Our church was founded by German immigrants, and is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). I am of German ancestry, but most of my relatives were members of the Missouri Synod Lutheran Church. For reasons too complicated to go into now, I was raised in a Norwegian Lutheran Church. I adore Scandinavian hymns, and planning our Lessons and Carols gave me complete control over the hymns that the congregation will sing at the service. I made a point of finding as many appropriate Scandinavian hymns as I could. These people need to be educated.
We will sing Swedish, Norwegian, and Danish Christmas carols, ones I loved as a child, but none of which we sing regularly in our church. Some include:
Bright and Glorious is the Sky (In Danish, De Jlig Er Den Himmel Bla)
Rejoice, Rejoice, Believers (In Swedish Haf Trones Lamp Fardig)
Savior of the Nations, Come (A German hymn but popular in Norway)
I suppose this is sort of self-serving, but it is fun, and no one has complained yet.
What pageantry have you been a part of? What are your favorite carols?