Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Cathedral Choir To Perform ‘Lessons And Carols’

Published December 6, 2012

The Cathedral Choir of Christ the King celebrates the return of its annual presentation, “A Candlelight Service of Readings and Carols,” on Sunday, Dec. 16, at 7:30 p.m.

The Cathedral tradition combines the prophetic expectation of Advent with the joyful fulfillment of Christ’s birth. This ancient service of readings and song has its origins in the Catholic Office of Matins, which was prayed in monasteries and cathedrals during the night hours of Christmas Eve.

Known in the more recent Anglican tradition as “Lessons and Carols,” this sequence of prayers, chants, and readings originally preceded the great celebration of the Nativity of the Lord during Midnight Mass. The readings, the choral responses and the traditional carols recall the words the prophets spoke about Jesus and tell the story of Jesus’ birth in preparation for the coming feast of Christmas.

Wylie Quinn, Ph.D., theologian and musician, noted that “the readings are taken from the biblical books of the Law, the Prophets and the Gospels, bringing together the full witness of the Christian canon. The link between the old and the new is the fulfillment of the ancient prophecies in the timeless story of the nativity.”

The music for the service illuminates texts both old and new and spans over 11 centuries of holiday song from all over the world. Kevin Culver, choirmaster at the Cathedral, said, “Music is uniquely able to bridge century, locale and tradition in enlightening the sacred texts and can bring a deeper meaning to all who listen.”

This year’s presentation will feature special choral music by Sergei Rachmaninov, Robert Chilcott and Benjamin Britten among others. The service also offers a preview of many Christmas carols of the season, from “Silent Night” to “O Come All Ye Faithful.” The Cathedral Choir and Schola Nova will be accompanied by the cathedral organist Timothy Wissler and harpist Susan Ottzen.

This service has been a favorite of Atlanta music lovers for more than 20 years, and all members of the diocesan family are warmly invited to attend.

The Cathedral is located at 2699 Peachtree Road, NE, Atlanta. Ample parking is available in the church parking deck on Peachtree Way.