Christmas carols have been with us for a long time; the first ones date back to at least the 4th century A.D.
In our own time, many of us will have particular memories of hearing or singing them at this time of year, performed either at Christmas services or concerts, presented impromptu in public or private places all over the land, or sung by singers going from door to door.
Dickens referred to this tradition in A Christmas Carol: “…at the first sound of God bless you merry, gentlemen! May nothing you dismay! Scrooge seized the ruler with such energy of action that the singer fled in terror, leaving the keyhole to the fog and even more congenial frost.”
Martin Bull remembers a much more pleasant reception given to our carolling by the late actress Thora Hird, when a group from his parish rang her doorbell in Bayswater, her husband telephoned their daughter in California, and held the phone out of the window so that we could be heard halfway across the world!
LCS soprano Penny Champion recalls that this year is the 70th anniversary of the annual Christmas tree gifting from the city of Oslo to the people of Britain, as a token of gratitude for this country’s support to Norway during WWII. In 1947 Penny’s mother – then a young civil servant – was a member of the Board of Trade choir which gathered in Trafalgar Square to inaugurate the tradition of singing around the tree (as pictured above, plus a video below).
Penny is very proud to carry on that tradition with LCS, and for the 9th year running, we will sing in Trafalgar Square at 6pm on Friday the 15th of December in aid of St Joseph’s Hospice. And we will also be singing at Lewisham Station on the 12th, and at Eltham Palace on the 19th and 21st, click here for more details!
And don’t forget to book your tickets for our carol concert on Saturday the 16th of December, you will even be able to join in for five carols! In total, we are singing 18 pieces, among which will be our version of God rest you merry, gentlemen – but please don’t borrow a ruler from Scrooge!