Bleak midwinter to Sydney sun: Kings College carol servicegets a taste of Australia

At St Nicholas, we also have a solo voice singing the first verse of Once In Royal David’s city to begin the Christmas Eve. But as we don’t have any treble-voice choirboys, a soprano will sing it.

As the afternoon sun beats down on the parties on Bondi Beach, Sydney, this Christmas Eve, one Australian will be thinking of the chill English winter air in Cambridge where a young choirboy will soon be stepping forward, alone, to sing the first verse of Once in Royal David’s City.

The solo is the traditional opening to the annual Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, a service that is broadcast live on Radio 4 from the chapel of King’s College, Cambridge. And this year the time-honoured mix of sacred Christmas tunes, from While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night to O Come All Ye Faithful, will include a new carol from Carl Vine, an Australian composer.

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