The first Sunday in Advent has, for several years, been the occasion of our visit to the cathedral to join in the Advent Carol Service. However, this year Philip and Cantantes Domino decided to bite the bullet and bring to St Stephen's it's very own Advent Carol Service.
Ably assisted by Neil, Andrew and Vaughan, Philip and Cantantes produced yet another stunning performance. As quoted in the introduction "The pattern of this Advent service (in its 4 sections) reflects the season's growing anticipatio both of the first coming of Christ and of that day when the prayer "Thy Kingdom come" is finally and fully answered.
The service began with the singing of the Advent responsory in the Lady Chapel, following which the Choir processed to the Baptistery to sing 'Creator of the Stars of Night”. At the same time the candles were lit. The wonderful Advent Hymn O come, O come, Emmanuel was sung by all as the choir processed to their places in the choir stalls.
After the Bidding Prayer and the Lord's Prayer the choir sang “Adam lay Ybounden” and all sang 'Hark a Herald Voice is Sounding'. The Message of Advent was then read. The series of Lessons, Hymns and Antiphons, which then took place, was refreshingly different to the Christmas Carol Service in that it emphasised our hopes and expectations of the joy to come.
All who came to the service - and there were many- said how much they had appreciated this approach to Christmas and it is hoped to repeat the experience next year. Thanks to the members of Cantantes once again for their dedication and hard work on our behalf.