The soul-stirring sounds of the St. James Choir and Montreat Scottish Pipes and Drums will once again fill the nave at St. James Episcopal Church for our annual Advent Service of Lessons and Carols, one of the parish’s signature choral services that draws attendees from across the area. The service will be held Saturday, December 2nd and Sunday, December 3rd at 5:00 p.m., with doors opening at 4:00 p.m.
Once again 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 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.”
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 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 widows, 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 the beautiful Matin Responsory by David Ashley White, June Nixon’s frolicking arrangement of The Holly and the Ivy, Bruce Neswick’s setting of Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming, and other music by George Guest, Barry Ferguson, 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 Wissler 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.
–Brad Gee, Director of Music
St. James Episcopal Church