By Maya H.
On November 27th, Cantiamo participated in our annual Advent Carol Service at St. John’s Anglican Church. This was the second time I’ve been a part of this service and it’s one of my favourite concerts for many reasons.
As a member of the congregation of St. John’s, I love that this service takes place at my home church. In fact, this was the first concert I ever saw Cantiamo perform in, years before I became a chorister. I thought the whole experience was so magical and I couldn’t wait to be old enough to join it! Now, as a member of Cantiamo, I love sharing this service with choir friends and my congregation.
This concert, inspired by the beautiful traditions of Evensong and Carol services, features the St. John’s Choir and the Cantiamo Girls Choir. Laura Hawley, the Music Director at St. John’s and also Cantiamo’s accompanist said, “Before I had my position as a professional church-musician, I used to attend the services at St Matthew’s church in the Glebe where I lived, and would also go to services at the Cathedral, where I often sang, when special semi-pro choirs were put together that included women. Many of my friends sing at those two churches, and I always loved the Advent carol service. In those big churches, the service takes the form of a procession, with the first piece sung from up in the balcony at the back of the church, and the choir gradually working their way forward throughout the service. It’s wonderful.” The Advent Carol service we perform was put together by Laura in her second year at St. John’s and Cantiamo was invited to be part of that first service. Nine years later, it’s become an annual tradition for both choirs!
This candlelit service takes us on a journey from darkness into the light using music and readings that progress from Isaiah’s vision up to the Advent itself. The format is always the same, but the music changes from year to year, along with some of the readings. Laura spends many hours putting this sevice together each year. My favourite song this year was “Of a Rose, a lovely Rose” by John Rutter.
This concert, this year was extra-special for me because my mum recently joined the St. John’s Choir and I love that we got to perform in this together. It was a beautiful way to mark the beginning of Advent.
Wishing you & yours a blessed season.