Lessons and Carols, now in its sixth iteration, once again did not disappoint. The annual Christmas prayer service, performed by Jesuit High School’s elite Chamber Choir, has become an annual Christmas tradition for many students, faculty, and their families. It combines contemplative prayers and scripture readings with a variety of hymns and Christmas carols.
Lessons and Carols, as we know it here at Jesuit High School, was adapted from a prayer service that was created in 1918 by the then-new dean of King’s Chapel in England, Eric Milner-White.
Mr. Milner-White wanted to create something different from the standard liturgy of the Church of England, so he brought together scripture and song to create an entirely new prayer experience.
Lessons and Carols at Jesuit is a Catholic take on the original Anglican Christmas prayer service, and revolves around Ignatian themes. The Chamber Choir prepares for over two months, with many members having to memorize multiple songs and solos.
“Preparing for Lessons and Carols was a ton of hard work and it took a lot of time, but I felt that the performance was well worth all of our effort,” said senior Nic Crumley.
This year, the performance was held for the first time in the brand new Chapel of the North American Martyrs. Utilizing the Chapel’s unique architecture and stunning acoustical design, the chamber choir began by singing “Veni, Veni Emmanuel” in the outer halls of the chapel, allowing the song to mystically echo throughout the main worship area as the choir entered the sanctuary.
However, that was not the last stunning moment of the evening. The choir’s performance of “Ave Maria” was so powerful that it moved many in the audience to tears, and one couldn’t help but feel overjoyed when they closed the evening with the classic Christmas carol “Joy to the World.”
Senior chamber singer Anthony Fernandez summed up the performance well when he said, “Lessons and Carols was a great opportunity to bring the community together and share the joy of the Christmas spirit with them through song.”