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Please join us for this special event!

Warm up to the holiday season with the 15th edition of A Festival of Carols, the much-loved annual presentation by the Chancel Choir of Cheshire’s First Congregational Church, the GMChorale, and singers from the Cheshire community, all directed and accompanied by Joseph D’Eugenio, Director of Music at the First Congregational Church in Cheshire and Artistic Director of the GMChorale. 

The Festival takes place on Saturday, December 15, 2018, at 5:00 pm, in the historic First Congregational Church at 111 Church Street in Cheshire. The event is family-friendly, free, and open to the public. All are welcome. There is ample, free, off-street parking.
 
In the lovely sanctuary of one of Connecticut’s iconic Federalist churches, glowing with candles and seasonal decorations, the Christmas story will unfold in thoughtful readings and choral anthems, with all assembled invited to join in singing traditional Christmas carols.
 
The Festival of Carols offers a respite from shopping, traffic, and holiday stress, and an opportunity to connect again with the hope and joy of Christmas. The service offers seasonal readings and a selection of uplifting, beautiful music that will appeal to everyone.
 
The service is modeled on the Festival of Lessons and Carols that was first offered in Truro, England, in 1880 (where it has since been performed without interruption) and later made famous by the annual radio broadcast of a Lessons and Carols service at King’s College Cambridge, offered continuously since 1918.
 
“Like the traditional British carol festivals, the Festival at First Congregational Church alternates seasonal readings with specially-chosen music that reflects on the texts,” said Maestro D’Eugenio. “The musical portion includes several anthems to be sung by the combined choirs, along with a number of familiar carols and hymns for everyone to sing together.”
 
The service opens with the carol made famous by the King’s College service, “Once in Royal David’s City,” sung in procession as the choir enters the church. Along with more familiar carols such as “O Come, All Ye Faithful” and “Angels We Have Heard on High,” the service includes modern classics, including the anthem “In the Ending of the Year” by Newington-based composer Peter Niedmann, the heartbreakingly-beautiful setting of “A Stable Lamp is Lighted” by New York composer David Hurd, and a richly jazzy setting of “I Wonder as I Wander” by Swiss composer Carl Rütti.
 
Maestro D’Eugenio will lead the choir and congregational singing from the console of the church’s dynamic Aeolian-Skinner organ. Built in 1949 and substantially renovated and expanded in 2014, the organ has been called “one of the most beautiful instruments in the region.”
  
EVENT DETAILS
 
What: A Festival of Carols – Warm up to the holiday season on December 15, 2018 with the 15th edition of A Festival of Carols, the much-loved annual presentation by the Chancel Choir of Cheshire’s First Congregational Church, the GMChorale, and singers from the Cheshire community, all directed and accompanied by Joseph D’Eugenio, Director of Music at the First Congregational Church in Cheshire and Artistic Director of the GMChorale.
 
When: Saturday, December 15, 2018, 5:00pm.
 
Where: First Congregational Church of Cheshire, 111 Church Drive, Cheshire, CT. Church Drive is right off Route 10 near the center of Cheshire.

Parking: There is ample free, off-street parking in the church lot and behind the Town Hall. Click on either image below to open Google Maps for this location.
 
Accessible: Yes
 
Admission: Free. All are welcome. A free-will donation will be accepted.
 
Family Friendly: Yes

 
Scenes from the 2017 Festival of Carols (photos by John Marchand)
Concert tickets make great holiday gifts for the music lovers in your life!
Sunday May 5, 2019 4:00PM
Pre-concert talk 3:15pm with Neely Bruce
Middletown High School
Santo Fragilio Performing Arts Center
200 La Rosa Lane Middletown, CT
$8-$35 in advance; $10-$40 at the door

Click HERE for tickets
The Austrian composer Anton Bruckner may be best-known for his symphonies, eleven immense orchestral works that are vast in scale and dimension. But in his “day job” as an organist and choirmaster, he composed a wealth of exquisite sacred music for his choirs at Sankt Florian monastery (where he had been a choirboy in his youth) and at the cathedral at Linz. His ethereal Mass No. 2 in E minor, composed in 1866 to celebrate a new chapel in the Linz cathedral, is scored for eight-voice mixed choir and a small group of wind instruments. This Mass, widely acknowledged as among Bruckner’s best works, evokes the cathedralesque musical architecture of the Renaissance masters overlaid with the rich harmonies of the nineteenth century. The program also includes a selection of motets by Bruckner. Take advantage of best prices by purchasing in advance.
The GMChorale is partially funded by generous grants from the following: the Community Foundation of Middlesex County; the Middletown Commission On The Arts; The Marjorie Jolidon Fund of the Greater Hartford Chapter, American Guild of Organists; and Connecticut’s Department of Economic and Community Development, Connecticut Office of the Arts which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.
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