Joining Our Voices:
Annual choral service of Lesson and Carols will feature bagpipes, local officials
Contact: Brad Gee, Director of Music at St. James
When the soul-stirring sounds of the Montreat Scottish Pipes and Drums fill the nave at St. James Episcopal Church this year, they will now be joined by the voices of community officials.
The annual Advent Service of Lessons and Carols, one the parish’s signature choral experiences that draws attendees from across the area, will be held Saturday, Nov. 26 and Sunday, Nov. 27 at 5 p.m. Doors open at 4 p.m.
This year, following the earliest traditions of the service that originated in Cambridge, England, over a century ago, local officials representing areas of community life will read lessons at the Sunday service.
“This service is one of extraordinary beauty and transcendence, and it’s a real gift to the community offered by our choir and music director Brad Gee,” said the Rev. David Henson, rector of the parish. “By inviting leaders to participate for the first time in this extraordinary service, we hope to share this gift more broadly and for it to be a true celebration of the goodness of our community here in Hendersonville. We pray this symbolic joining of hands can serve as a shining example of unity in our deeply divided world.”
Mayor Barbara Volk representing civic life, The Rev. Karla Miller from First Congregational Church representing local faith communities, and a representative of local schools will each read a lesson as well as representatives from the parish’s leadership.
The St. James Choir, led by Gee, will be singing carols and anthems of the Advent season, and they will be joined by instrumentalists on trumpet and flute as well as the bagpipes and drums.
“There is something special about this service, each and every year,” Gee said. “Our beautiful neo-Gothic church is decorated with greens, candles twinkle in the windows, and the church fills up and the beautiful sound of choral music moves people deeply, some even to tears.”
So definitely come early, maybe bring a Kleenex, and prepare to be dazzled.
Carols and anthems to be featured this year include Advent Responsory by Michael McCarthy, Christ Hath a Garden by Gerald Near, Sans Day Carol by John Rutter, and other carols by John Ferguson, Robert Lehman, and Paul Manz. Pre-service music will include the first movement of Vivaldi’s Concerto for Two Trumpets featuring Bryan and Michelle Kraak, and Paul Doebler playing Three Carols for Flute and Organ by Michael Barker. Howard Bakken will be the organist for the pre-service music, and Timothy Whissler will be the organist for the service.
While no tickets are required, contributions of any amount are welcomed and appreciated in support of the music ministry of St. James. A donation of $10 per person is suggested.
Plan now to attend these glorious services which are welcome to all. Doors will open at 4:00 p.m. for the 5:00 p.m. services. The church address is 766 North Main Street, Hendersonville, North Carolina.