Lessons and carols usher in Advent




The Advent Service of Lessons and Carols at St. Columba Cathedral evokes the “Christian spirit of the season,” said Dr. Daniel W. Laginya, music director.

He said so often people are caught up in the “secular element” of shopping.

Lessons and carols, planned for 7 p.m. Sunday in the cathedral, 159 W. Rayen Ave., is an avenue “to set yourself in a religious mood,” Laginya said.

“It’s an ecumenical program,” Laginya said.

He explained that Advent is a season of preparation and two-fold in that respect.

“One is preparation for the end- time coming of Christ,” he said.

“It also harkens back to the first coming of Christ at Christmas.”

Preparation is what resonates in Advent, he said.

“The two preparations tie is all together.”

Laginya said the cathedral has been conducting the service for the last 15 years. He described it as a “good introduction” to the Advent season and what is to come.

The service involves Monsignor Peter M. Polando, rector; the Rev. Edward R. Brienz, parochial vicar; the 15-member choir and about 30 children. Soprano soloists will be Colleen Harris, Brianne Samson and Natalie Modarelli. Harpist is Nancy Paterson and organist, Mary Ann Bilash Bush.

Also participating will be seven readers.

Laginya said the service will feature “A Ceremony of Carols” by Benjamin Britten.

“I selected this because it’s the centennial of Britten’s birth,” Laginya said.

The harpist and soloists are featured.

He said nine lessons of short Bible readings highlight the service intespersed with carols.

The lessons start with Adam and Eve, their fall from grace and move to the prophecy of the Messiah in the Old Testament, Laginya explained.

The last segment of the Nativity is chronicled in the Gospels.

Laginya said children portray Mary and Joseph, the Angel Gabriel, the choir of angels, shepherds, the three kings and camel.

“The camel was made by the children and is tremendous,” he said.

The arrival of baby Jesus is the high point of the service.

Laginya said English traditional carols such as “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “What Child is This” and “Once in Royal David’s City” will be part of the program.

“Music is an integral part of worship,” said Laginya, music director at the cathedral since 1981. “It adds emotion that text doesn’t normally have.

“It’s the vehicle that enhances liturgy,” he said.

The service, which generally lasts about an hour and 15 minutes, will be followed by refreshments in Cathedral Hall.

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