Christmas Carols At Canterbury Cathedral

Jan Leeming

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Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.

CHRISTMAS CAROLS AT CANTERBURY CATHEDRAL

Date: 24th December 2012

There are many Carol Services at the Cathedral in the run up to Christmas but the one to which most want to come is the Christmas Eve Service for which one has to apply for tickets.  I was fortunate enough to obtain three and took two friends along with me.

Last year my tickets were for the Trinity Chapel which is behind the Quire and we were unable to hear much of the service.  I don't know whether it was a failure in the relay or simply the way it is.  The service is carried out predominantly in the Nave and for about a third the choir move to the Quire so that part was fine.  However this year my tickets were for the Nave.  We got there fairly early  but still had to satisfy ourselves with seats at the side near the pulpit - there is no allocation and seats are taken on a first come basis except for a few roped off for the Great and the Good.  We were incredibly lucky as some of those seats remained empty until almost the start of the service and one of the Ushers allowed us to use them.  It was magnificent with a full view of the Pulpitum with all the glistening candles and through the Screen a view of the Christmas Tree illuminated with plain white lights.  We were able to see the Procession and hear everything.  It is quite magical and a wonderful start to Christmas especially when you hear the lone Choir Boy begin to sing 'Once in Royal David's City' - it sends shivers down your spine.  In front of us was a very beautiful young lady who was singing the descant which made it all even so much more enjoyable.

At the end of the service we got to shake hands with the Dean who greeted me very effusively and told me that he'd pulled out my ticket in the Cathedral Friends Christmas Raffle.  I'd forgotten I'd bought tickets and didn't go to the Christmas lunch because I'm tired of going to functions on my own.  (It becomes rather wearing constantly being the odd one out and I'm beginning to understand how people can become reclusive as they get older and lose (through death and divorce) loved ones. ) The Dean is a lovely 'gentle' man with the most gorgeous voice to which I could listen for hours.  Then the icing on the cake, particularly for my friends, was a Christmas handshake with the Archbishop.  This was his last Christmas service, of course, because he leaves office in a few months time.

It really was a magical evening and a lovely start to Christmas.  However, I am and  shall be missing my son terribly.

Hope you all have a lovely time with your friends and loved ones.  Jan

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