Choral Vespers: Experience the Christmas story through the beauty of sacred music this Saturday

Marco Carvalho

The Cathedral of the Nativity of Our Lady will host this coming Saturday, December 10th, a Choral Vespers service. The celebration will, once again, be led by the Cathedral’s two liturgical choirs, the Diocesan Choir and the Cathedral Schola of Macau.

The Office starts at 7pm and, in addition to prayer and Scripture readings, the Sung Vespers will feature choral compositions by Gabriel Fauré, a few Advent season favorites and popular Christmas carols.

“The two choirs, both combined and in their own rights, will present a total of five distinct choral works, each following a reading. These include well-known advent hymns Veni Veni Emanuel and Gaudete, an English rendition of the beautiful German hymn Es ist ein ros entsprungen, Gabriel Fauré’s Ave Maria, and an unmissable favorite of the caroling season, Away in a Manger,” Antonio K. Wong told O Clarim.

“The service commences and concludes with a congregational hymn and is complemented with festive organ music performed by our Cathedral’s organist, Vivian Ng, who has just graduated with a degree in music from the University of Oxford,” Mr. Wong, who sees to the affairs and management of both choirs, adds.

Along with the fundamental purpose of thanking God and singing His praises, the Choral worship service is also an opportunity for both choirs to showcase their talent and dedication. The Vespers are, furthermore, invested of a fundamental mission, that of helping to prepare local devotees for one of the most crucial moments of the Catholic calendar. “This Choral Vespers service has a twofold purpose. Firstly, we would like to showcase both choirs to our faithful and our community, but, more importantly, we work in the hope of preparing everyone to celebrate Christmas. While this service does not end in itself, it aims to help each and everyone of us to fully participate in the Eucharistic celebration of one of the most fundamental mysteries of the Catholic faith, which, in this case, is the birth of Jesus,” Mr. Wong claims.

“The service includes five readings each with a choral item in succession. The music, therefore, serves as both a response and an invitation: a response to the Word of God by human voice, and more importantly, an invitation to all of us to fully receive and meditate on the Word, whose coming is what the celebration really means,” the choral director concludes.