The Advent Procession began the season of Advent with an evocative service at 3.30pm on Sunday 3 December, the First Sunday of Advent. Subtitled From Darkness to Light, the service captured an idea that is central to our keeping of Advent: the recognition that the beautiful world in which we live is marred by our human wilfulness, greed and violence.
The light that shines in the darkness of the Church represents the light of Jesus Christ shining in our dark world. That light dispels the darkness, but not without showing up the dark places of our world, and of our lives. The light of Christ sees us as we are; it judges all, but it is also the illumination and the warmth, the guiding light, which leads us from darkness into light.
The Advent Procession was punctuated by sung phrases, drawn from scripture, known as the Advent Antiphons. With one exception, all refer specifically to Jesus, who is regarded – by Christians at least – as the fulfilment of Jewish expectation and Old Testament prophecy.
We also included a later addition, the antiphon O Virgo Virginum, which clearly refers to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Mary is given prominence among the Advent Antiphons as the human agent called by God to bring forth God’s own word and being. The readings were chosen to reflect the theological imperatives contained in the antiphons.
The service took the form of a Great Procession which moved throughout the building, with the Cathedral choir pausing to sing at several stations. Music performed included works by Palestrina, Vaughan Williams, Sirett, McKie, Grieg and Lauridsen. Congregational hymns for all to sing included many popular for the season, including O come, O come, Emmanuel and Lo, he comes with clouds descending.
The Cathedral will be bursting with wonderful music as we pull out all the stops to celebrate the festive season. The beautiful building provides a special venue for a feast of choral and orchestral works by talented performers from across the UK. Here is a summary of our exciting programme of upcoming concerts:
The Ten Tenors Gala Christmas Concert
Friday 1 December, 7.15pm
The Ten Welsh Tenors are back by popular demand with an amazing concert featuring ten of the finest tenors from all over Wales with a feast of sumptuous popular operatic delights for this special gala event. The ten tenors will take to the stage and raise the roof in aid of Welsh Hearts, Wales’ leading heart charity. The tenors will be joined by guest sopranos on the evening to perform heart-warming renditions of favourite arias and duets, including a helping of Christmas classics to get everyone in the mood for the festive season. Visit Welsh Hearts for more information and tickets.
Christmas with Handel and Bach
– Llandaff Cathedral Choral Society
Saturday 2 December, 7.30pm
To mark the start of Advent, the Llandaff Cathedral Choral Society are performing choruses from the first part of Handel’s Messiah and the first three parts of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. The choir will be joined by the Llandaff Sinfonia and John Cheer (organ continuo). The conductor will be Alexander Thacker: the soloists will be Ellen Williams (soprano), Nicole Boardman (alto), Dominic Neville (tenor) and Edmund Caird (baritone). Visit Llandaff Cathedral Choral Society for more information and tickets.