Setlist - 8 Dec 2013
Evening Carol Service at Kings

Tags: christmas, carols

  • [G] O come, all ye faithful - John F. Wade
  • [Em] O come, O come Emmanuel - John Mason Neale, Henry Sloane Coffin
  • [Em] We three kings - John H. Hopkins Jr
  • [D] Joy to the world - Isaac Watts
  • [F] Hark, the herald angels sing - Charles Wesley

A wonderfully rich carol service this evening, focussed around the meaning of the wise men's gifts.

It started pretty badly. Just as I was leaving for the practise I discovered that my boiler has broken. And when I arrived at the venue it was in total darkness due to a power failure. We rehearsed the band with no amplification and no light other than head torches and the bleed from street lamps outside.

But even in the rehearsal we could tell that the carol arrangements were coming together well. We came up with a wonderfully brooding feel for 'O come, O come Emmanuel' and an evocative folk-inspired lilt for 'We three kings'. I was delighted with the range of sounds we made. (The band was drums, bass, piano, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, trumpet, violin and two voices.) And the carols were only the start of the creativity.

John C performed a spellbinding version of TS Eliot's 'Journey of the Magi', Harri E played an inspired rewrite of Graham Kendrick's 'Thorns in the straw', and we premiered a short video piece that Crystal S and I have been working on (with several others) for the past few weeks. I love being part of such a vibrant community.

The first half of the service was actually almost downbeat. The video ends with Jesus' death, the poem ends with the narrator longing for death, and 'Thorns in the straw' ends at the cross. The tension was tangibly released through the sermon and the celebration of 'Joy to the world' and 'Hark the herald'.

Liturgical drama feels very appropriate as we come towards Christmas. But I wish life was a little less full of practical drama!