A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols
A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols is the Christmas Eve service held in King's College Chapel. The service introduced in 1918 to bring a more imaginative approach to worship. It was first broadcast in 1928 and is now broadcast to millions of people around the world.
The service includes carols and readings from the Bible. The opening carol is always 'Once in Royal David's City', and there is always a new, specially commissioned carol. It is distinct from Carols from King's, which is a carol service pre-recorded for BBC television, also broadcast on Christmas Eve.
A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols was first conceived as a gift to the City of Cambridge and it is that spirit that the College makes approximately half the tickets for this service available to members of the public. Tickets are distributed in advance to those who are successful in the annual ballot.
You may enter that ballot at any time between 1st and 15th November. The easiest way to do this is online and details will be published here in due course. Alternatively, you may send a postal entry to the ballot. If you do this please also enclose a stamped addressed envelope to arrive between 1st and 15th November.
You may request a maximum of two places per application for two named individuals, neither of whom may make a parallel application. Please indicate on your application if either applicant is a wheelchair user or has any other special needs. This will not impact on the ballot process but might influence seat allocation if you are successful.
We regret that it is not possible to make decisions about tickets before the ballot is completed.
The Reverend Dr Stephen Cherry
Dean of Chapel
A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols is broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and the BBC World Service on 24 December at 3pm (10:00 EST or 07:00 PST). The service is also broadcast at 1pm on Radio 3 on Christmas Day, and at various times on the BBC World Service.
In the United States the service is distributed by American Public Media and is broadcast by around 450 radio stations, including Minnesota Public Radio and WQXR in New York. As there is no list of radio stations that are broadcasting the service it's best to contact your local stations or check their online listings.
In the Bleak Midwinter: Christmas Carols from King's
Choir of King's College, Cambridge & Daniel Hyde
- Once in royal David's city (Arr. David Willcocks, Desc. Stephen Cleobury)
- A tender shoot
- How shall I fitly meet thee?
- In the Bleak Midwinter
- Of the Father's heart begotten (Arr. David Willcocks)
- Angels, from the realms of glory (Arr. Reginald Jacques)
- An Old Carol (I sing of a maiden)
- In dulci jubilo (Arr. Robert Lucas de Pearsall & Daniel Hyde)
- The angel Gabriel
- O come, all ye faithful (Arr. David Willcocks, Desc. Christopher Robinson & David Hill)
- Sussex Carol (On Christmas night) [Arr. Ralph Vaughan Williams]
- While shepherds watched their flocks by night (Desc. Nicholas Marston & Daniel Hyde)
- Thou who wast rich beyond all splendour (Arr. Charles Herbert Kitson & Daniel Hyde)
- The Shepherd's Cradle Song (Wiegenlied) [Arr. Charles Macpherson]
- In the bleak midwinter (Arr. Mack Wilberg)
- As I sat on a sunny bank (I saw three ships) [Arr. Elizabeth Poston & Daniel Hyde]
- Still, still, still (Arr. Bob Chilcott)
- Prelude to "Hark! the herald-angels sing"
- Hark! the herald-angels sing (Desc. Philip Ledger)
- Improvisation on "Adeste, fideles"