Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Festival Service of Lessons and Carols for Advent

A Festival Service of Nine Lessons and Carols for Advent will be held at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, 35 South Franklin Street, Wilkes-Barre, on Wednesday, December 12th at 6 PM. The service, St. Stephen’s annual Advent and Christmas gift to the community and region, will feature traditional hymns and carols sung by all, as well as choral selections for the season. The Reverend Daniel Cube Gunn, Rector, will serve as officiant, assisted by lay readers from among the members of the parish. St. Stephen's Choir will present special music under the direction of Canon Mark Laubach, Organist and Choirmaster, and Assisting Choirmaster Dr. Rick Hoffenberg, Director of Choral Activities and Associate Professor of Choral Conducting at Marywood University in Scranton.

The Festival Service of Nine Lessons and Carols, a long-standing English tradition for the Advent and Christmas season, is now celebrated throughout the world. The service for Advent consists of an alternating sequence of scripture readings and music, beginning with the Old Testament prophecies of Isaiah and Zechariah. Readings from the New Testament include the angel Gabriel’s annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the familiar story of Christ’s birth in Bethlehem. Musical selections reflect upon the readings that precede them.

St. Stephen's Choir will sing choral works and carol arrangements by Palestrina, Morten Lauridsen, John Tavener, Gerald Near, Herbert Murrill, Gerre Hancock, and Mack Wilberg. Hymns and carols sung by all will include “Come, thou Redeemer of the earth,” “O day of peace,” “There’s a voice in the wilderness crying,” “Sleepers, wake!”, “Ye who claim the faith of Jesus,” “On Jordan’s bank,” and “Lo! he comes, with clouds descending”. Organ music before, during, and at the end of the service will be played by Canon Laubach on the magnificent Berghaus pipe organ, containing some 4,900 pipes.

A free-will offering will be received to support the music ministry of Saint Stephen's Church. Canned goods and other non-perishable food items will be received to support the Food Pantry of St. Stephen’s. A festive reception will follow the service. The public is warmly welcome to attend. For more information, call the church office at (570)825-6653 or send e-mail inquiries to

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