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Traditional English music featured in concert series

December 13, 2017 GMT

The third concert in the Downtown Concert Series for 2017-18 will be performed at 5 p.m. Sunday at the Episcopal Church of Our Savior in North Platte.

The time was changed from the original 4 p.m. advertised.

The concert is titled “The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols,” which is a traditional English service that began in the late 19th century and is still performed at King’s College, Cambridge.

Organizers of the series include the Rev. Jan Ekstedt, pastor at First Christian Church; Carolyn Cline, organist at the Episcopal Church; and David Lindley, pianist. They will perform at each concert in the series. Cline and Lindley will be participating in Sunday’s concert.

“When we began putting together the community concert series, the thing that quickly rose to the top was resurrecting the Festival, something we used to do years ago,” said the Rev. Jeffrey Nelson, pastor at the Episcopal Church. “This offered an opportunity to bring that back, to celebrate something that is uniquely Anglican, Episcopalian, and is shared all over the world.”

The King’s College festival began in 1918 on Christmas Eve and was planned by Eric Milner-White, who was appointed dean of King’s College at the young age of 34. His experience as an army chaplain had convinced him that the Church of England needed more imaginative worship.

The service has always begun with the hymn “Once in Royal David’s City,” and Sunday’s performance here will be the same.

“The hymn is traditionally started by a single voice, a choir boy voice,” Nelson said. “Henry Cline will be singing the opening for the concert.”

Although most of the service is recognizable, each presentation of the festival has something unique.

“There’s a lot that is just very familiar,” Nelson said. “The lessons are familiar because they tell the story of salvation’s history.”

There is a variety of lesson choices, but Nelson said they don’t change much over the years.

“A lot of the carols that we’re going to be singing are very traditional carols people know and love,” Nelson said. “What is unique about this, and is pretty much unique about any lessons and carols celebration, is the music that is added.”

He said a traditional carol will follow each reading.

“Then there will be some kind of instrumental music that goes along with that section of the service,” Nelson said. “That’s the thing that really changes from year to year.”

This year the instrumental music will primarily be provided by Cline and Lindley.

“It will have the feel of a service, but somewhat the feel of a concert as well,” Nelson said.

The Episcopal Church of Our Savior is located at 203 W. Fourth St. For more information, call the church office at 308-532-0515. Donations will be taken at the concert.