Three pointers to Advent: Friday – Dickensian Evening, Carol Service in the Square. Ridiculously early to be singing Christmas Carols, but the town shops like to get off to an early start. Singing items such as ‘Ding Dong Merrily on High’ and ‘We wish you a merry Christmas’ on stage accompanied by the town band, with twinkly lights scattering all over us like flakes of snow, quite a surreal experience.
Saturday – Advent Carol Service at Buckfast Abbey, with combined church choirs from all over Devon. Singing the O Antiphons, interspersed with Advent Hymns and Anthems (including the rather pleasant ‘One cold dark night’ – Peter White), plus readings and prayers.
Sunday – the usual morning Eucharist, with Thorne’s ‘Kyrie’ and Bach’s ‘Wachet Auf’. A short rest for lunch, then back for an early rehearsal and the popular Advent Carol Service, held within the Christmas Tree festival (60 decorated and lit trees) – ‘This is the truth sent from above’, Vaughan Williams; ‘The world’s fair rose’, Praetorius; ‘The Angel Gabriel’, Basque setting; ‘People look East’, arr. Bramma. Many positive comments over mulled wine and mince pies from those attending. And a feel-good atmosphere in the choir vestry.