On 12 December, parents, staff and other friends of the College congregated in the magnificent and historic surroundings of St Andrew’s Church, Farnham, for an uplifting service of Nine Lessons and Carols, directed and performed by the College Music Department.
This festive musical celebration is one of the few occasions in the year where the entire College community is invited to come together. This year we were able to hold the event for the first time in this beautiful church, which has a history dating back to the 12th Century.
As second year music student Adam Byrne expressed, “The atmosphere within St Andrew’s Church was reflective and heart-warming. It was such a special way to retell the Christmas story, through powerful anthems and well-loved carols. All the students thoroughly enjoyed getting into the Christmas spirit and I personally felt that all the rehearsals and work put into the event paid off!”
Emily Preece, a first year music student, added “I had never appreciated how impressive the voices would all sound together, nor how much I would love to sing with the choir in this beautiful church. I really appreciate the opportunity I was given to perform at the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols, and it is an occasion I will never forget.”
The evening was a fitting climax to a very busy and successful year for the Music Department, following many concerts and trips, including Chamber Choir leading Evensong in Romsey Abbey, and a two night performance of George Gershwin’s musical ‘Crazy for You’ in the summer.
Traditional carols such as ‘Once in royal David’s city’ and ‘Hark! The herald angels sing’ (which brought the evening to a rousing close) were blended beautifully with less well-known and newer works including ‘I will be what I will be’, by Alex Tay, a former Music student at Farnborough and graduate of King’s College, Cambridge, now studying for his PhD at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama. The Music Department commissioned this work especially for the occasion.
Principal Simon Jarvis, who read the Ninth Lesson, commented, “The College Choir's Service of Nine Lessons and Carols was a beautiful event, which rightly signalled the start of Christmas. It was a fantastic programme performed in the perfect venue for an evening such as this. The Music Department and all the members of the Choral Society and Chamber Choir, directed by Harry White, can be proud of this lovely Service, enjoyed by all fortunate enough to be present.”
Harry White, Curriculum Manager for Music said, “This was a wonderful, affirming and deeply moving evening. The standard reached by both choral society and chamber choir in such a short space of time was astonishing. Their musicianship, commitment and sheer love for performance was tangible and they should be rightly proud of themselves. To hear the voices of nearly 130 college students soaring beautifully throughout the church is something we'll all remember for a very long time.”