A Very Special Carol Service in Durham Cathedral

Annabel Jenkinson shares her experience of the St John’s College Carol Service that took place in Durham Cathedral on Tuesday 6 December 2022.

On Tuesday 6 December 2022, we had the St John’s College Carol Service in the Cathedral. As is tradition, we gathered in reception and processed from there, walking through the cloisters and following the choir into the Cathedral. This year, we were all surprised by a snow machine as we walked through the main doors of college and descended the Haughton stairs. This created a very Christmassy atmosphere!

The service was very special, with wonderful music from the chapel choir, JMS choir, and Cranmer choir resonating through the cathedral’s fully occupied pews. Seeing so many Johnians all in one place, celebrating Christmas together in the Cathedral and after the service in Leech Hall (where we had mulled wine and mince pies with some Christmassy music) really helps one feel part of a community.

One of my favourite moments of the service was when the chapel choir sang Lauridsen’s O Magnum Mysterium, as it is one of my favourite pieces and made me miss my choir days! Hearing Angela Cook give a reading was also a wonderful moment, as this was her final carol service as a member of John’s staff after 18 years of service, although I am sure we will see her at other events in the future! The college’s former principal, David Day, gave an engaging and very amusing sermon and it was a delight to welcome him back to the college. 

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