At 6.30pm on Sunday 20 December, Romsey Abbey will be holding its annual Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. The service begins at the west end with a solo chorister singing the first verse of Once in Royal David’s City before the Abbey choir and clergy process down the nave into the stalls.
The first carol sung by the choir is a setting by Philip Ledger, a former Director of Music at King’s College, Cambridge, of the ancient poem Adam lay y bounden. Others include Peter Warlock’s atmospheric Bethlehem Down, Torches by John Joubert and Jesus Christ the Apple Tree, by Elizabeth Poston. Simon Grant will be the treble soloist in Charles Villiers Stanford’s setting in G of the Magnificat.
There will be a chance to sing congregational favourites such as O come all ye faithful and Hark the Herald Angels sing , and to hear the traditional Christmas lessons.
Other major Christmas services at the Abbey are the Midnight Eucharist, which starts at 11.45pm on Christmas Eve, and the Sung Eucharist at 10am on Christmas Day; they too feature more popular carols for choir and congregation. All of these services are always very well attended, so arrival in good time beforehand is strongly recommended.