Nine lessons and carols 2019

His Darke materials plus tinsel, toys and goosebumps


For the sixth time of telling, Christmas in Llanarmon-yn-Ial began on the first Saturday in December with a service loosely based on the traditional nine lessons and carols held in St Garmon’s church.

In the beginning came not the Word (that was the final reading, from St John’s gospel) but an exhortation from choir to congregation to “Fall on your knees” at the very moment the Choir stood as one to sing out the words of O Holy Night. There are many contrarian spirits afoot in this Village. That however was a truly stirring moment which several members of the congregation claimed afterwards  to have given them goosebumps.

Of course the nine lessons traditionally starts with a treble or soprano voice singing Once in Royal David’s City so the change in order meant even more time for our young soloists to get nervous or overcome their nerves. Whichever, it did not show and Osla Jones and Nicole Farrel sang very nicely indeed.

For Rhiannon Owens-Hall, this was her first outing as conductor of Cor Dewi Sant. The Choir responded well to her, particularly in the Harold Darke arrangement of In the Bleak Midwinter (said to be the preferred version for all the best choirs) and in the Carol of the Bells. Congregational carols were sung with gusto and others from the full choir and smaller groups also sensitively performed. From sacred to secular is a given on these occasions so we should perhaps mention a first rendition of Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree which preceded our usual exhortation to have a Merry Christmas Everyone. As if this Village needed any encouragement….

As usual, the Choir turned out bedecked in costume befitting the chosen theme which this year was “tinsel and toys”. There were dolls and toy soldiers, a wax crayon, a rubik cube and a whoopee cushion, several pieces of lego and lots of tinsel. Barbie and Action Man were nowhere to be seen. Apparently, they are both tone deaf !

Thanks to all our gallant readers drawn this year from the Congregation, to our brilliant accompanists Corey Jones and Mari Roberts and especial thanks and congratulations to Rhiannon Owens-Hall.

Last but not least this joyous occasion could not happen but for the generosity of St Garmons Church for which we are truly grateful. A collection was taken for the Church. Thanks also to the Rev. Richard Carter who kindly officiated on the night.

There was more singing and merriment in the Raven Inn after the Service, another Village tradition. And if the quality declined as the night progressed, well, enthusiasm does go quite a long way……

Happy Christmas, everyone. See you next year !


Richard Martindale


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