A Westminster Christmas

2016-wreath-1What does the Christmas season mean at Westminster? Busyness! Groups like the Winnipeg Singers, Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir, Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, and the Pembina Trails School Divisional choirs use our glorious sanctuary throughout the month. Not to mention the various weekly events that happen in the church. My planning happens in July or August, and means I’m living the Christmas season long before most people even think about Thanksgiving.

The choir has had a busy fall. We spent most of September and October learning the Faure Requiem, on top of our usual fare of new anthems and service music we present every Sunday.

Our new minister Rev. Sherri McConnell came on December 1st, and in true Westminster fashion, we were off to the races planning all of our Christmas offerings.

We start this week with a carol sing, on December 18th- titled “Singing with the Angels”. It’s a chance for the congregation and the community to get some Christmas carols in early.

Of course- the choir has been hard at work preparing for our Choral Candlelight Service, taking place on Christmas Eve. Included in this service are a number of new carols- including “A Maiden most Gentle” arranged by Andrew Carter, and the lovely “Sans Day Carol” arranged by John Rutter.

Those that have been attending Westminster’s carol service for the past several years knows that we sing a new setting of “Away in a Manger”. This year’s setting is by Jay Rouse, based on the famous melody by William J. Kirkpatrick.

In Dulci Jubilo” is another new one this year, arranged by the dynamic American composer, Matthew Culloton.

Returning this year is the arrangement of “Joy to the World” arranged by John Rutter. A chorister remarked after a rehearsal that “…it doesn’t really sound like Rutter.” which is true! The tune used for this hymn is often said to be inspired by the composer G. F. Handel, best known for the oratorio Messiah. Rutter took this hymn to a new level, creating an arrangement that could easily find its way into a Handel Oratorio.

Westminster Church warmly wishes you a blessed Christmas Season, and we hope you choose Westminster as your home for the holiday.