Please join me Christmas Eve morning (10:00 a.m. U.S. Eastern, 7:00 a.m. Pacific, and 3:00 p.m. GMT) to listen to the annual live broadcast of the Festival of Lessons and Carols from King’s College at Cambridge University. The King’s College festival was established in 1918 during World War I and it has been broadcast on radio since 1928. It is now heard over the air and via the Internet on Christmas Eve every year by millions of people all around the world. You and your homeschool students can be among them.
The easiest way to listen in the United States is through the live feeds available from either WQXR in New York or from Minnesota Public Radio, which has been broadcasting the King’s festival for more than forty years:
You can also tune in directly via the BBC World Service, the original broadcaster in the United Kingdom:
The live broadcasts will be audio only, but there are many video versions of this annual event available from previous years, including a special edition made for the 2018 centennial.
This is how the King’s College festival begins each year, with a single chorister — the same age as your students, perhaps — singing the opening lines of the carol “Once in Royal David’s City,” written in 1848 by Cecil Frances Alexander and Henry John Gauntlett. After that solo minute, the full choir comes in, and then the organ and the entire congregation:
The King’s College Chapel, beautifully shown in that video, was built mostly from 1446–1515 and is one of the most famous architectural spaces in the world. It’s not a museum: it’s the working chapel of King’s College, one of the constituent colleges of Cambridge University, and like every college, King’s fills up each year with hundreds of students from around the world studying history and biology and philosophy and literature and all other subjects in between. The older members of the choir and the instrumentalists you hear in the broadcasts are generally music students in the college.
You can download a printable copy of this year’s order of service on the King’s College Chapel’s website to follow along and learn about each piece as it is performed or sung.
So please join me this Christmas Eve and listen along with millions of others around the world to this wonderful annual broadcast.
What marvelous musical discoveries have you been making in your homeschool during this delightful Holiday Music Month? 🎄 🎵
❡ Musical memories: If you’d like to fill your homeschool with some beautiful background sounds during the holidays, why not tune in to the 24-hour Holiday Channel from WQXR, the famous classical music radio station in New York City. “Enjoy the sounds of orchestras, choirs, brass ensembles and more as we celebrate the sacred and secular sounds of the season.” I have it on as background music almost every day at this time of year. Won’t you join me? 📻
❡ Olden times and ancient rhymes: What did the Christmas season sound like a hundred years ago and more? Find out from this wonderful collection of historic recordings of American Christmas music, brought together by the Library of Congress. 🎄
❡ Lift every voice: This is one of our occasional posts on Homeschool Arts & Music. Add your name to our weekly mailing list and get great homeschool teaching ideas delivered right to your mailbox all through the year. 🗞
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