If your holiday preparation includes taking time out for a Christmas celebration focusing on the birth of Jesus and readings from the Bible, Andover's Christ Church has an event for you.

The Service of Advent Lessons and Carols is intended as a preparation for the Christmas celebration. It celebrates the birth of Jesus by telling the story of the fall of humanity and the promise of the messiah in a series of short readings from the Bible. The readings are enhanced with carols, choral music, and congregational singing of Advent hymns, said Barbara Bruns, minister of music at the church.

Three Christ Church choirs that include children, teens and adults will sing under the direction of Bruns.

The event — called "Candlelight Service of Advent Lessons and Carols'' — will be Sunday, Dec. 1, at 5 p.m. at Christ Church.

Before the service, an organ recital will be given by organist Peter Sykes, associate professor of music at Boston University, music director of First Church in Cambridge and instructor of harpsichord at the Juilliard School in New York City.

Featured selections to be sung include traditional English carols; "Remember, O thou man'' by Thomas Ravenscroft; "This is the truth sent from above'' by Ralph Vaughan Williams; "O Thou, the central orb and Never weather-beaten sail'' by Charles Wood; "Rejoice in the Lord Always'' by Thaddeus P. Cavuoti; "Magnificat'' by Sarah MacDonald; and "The Linden Tree Carol'' by Malcolm Archer.

Organ works to be performed by Sykes include the "Six Schübler Chorales'' of Johann Sebastian Bach and Anton Heiller’s variations on “Nun komm, der Heiden Heiland.”

Sykes performs on the harpsichord, clavichord and organ, and has made 10 solo recordings of organ and harpsichord repertoire ranging from Buxtehude, Couperin and Bach, to 20th century composers Reger and Hindemith, as well as his highly acclaimed organ transcription of Holst’s “The Planets.”

A founding board member and president of the Boston Clavichord Society as well as immediate past president of the Westfield Center for Historical Keyboard Studies, Sykes received the Chadwick Medal in 1978 and Outstanding Alumni Award in 2005 from the New England Conservatory, the Erwin Bodky Prize in 1993 from the Cambridge Society for Early Music, and the Distinguished Artist Award from the St. Botolph Club Foundation in 2011.

The public is invited to the organ recital, the Service of Advent Lessons and Carols, and the reception to follow. For more information, contact Christ Church at 978-475-0529 or visit the website www.christchurchandover.org.

Christ Church is at 33 Central St., Andover. A free-will offering will be taken at the service and there will be a reception following the service in the Christ Church Parish Hall.



WHAT: Candlelight Service of Advent Lessons and Carols

WHO: Sung by three choirs of Christ Church

WHEN: Sunday, Dec. 1, 5 p.m.

WHERE: Christ Church, 33 Central St., Andover

DETAILS: The service will be preceded by an organ recital at 4:30 p.m. featuring Peter Sykes, associate professor and chair of the Historical Performance and Organ Departments at Boston University.






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