The Candlelight Service
at St. George's Church
A New York City Tradition
Historic, Annual Lessons and Carols Service to commemorate 150th birthday of influential African-American musician Harry T. Burleigh
You’re invited to join the parish of Calvary-St. George, one of New York’s longest continuously operating episcopal parishes, for its annual Candlelight Lessons and Carols service on Sunday, December 4, 2016, at 4:00 p.m.
The parish’s tradition of congregational carol singing began in the 19th century when The Reverend Dr. William S. Rainsford established a Christmas festival for the neighborhood. Though the Candlelight service has taken different forms in the many decades since, it remains a special offering to the community, convening thousands of people to joyfully sing a celebration of Christmas!
This year’s service includes a commemoration of the 150th birthday of late composer, arranger, and baritone Harry Thacker Burleigh, who sang at St. George’s Church for over fifty years from 1894-1946. Burleigh, who was the first African American composer acclaimed for his art songs, played an invaluable role in preserving African American spirituals and bringing them to the world’s best concert stages. Classical music fans might also like to know that Burleigh’s work inspired Antonín Leopold Dvořák’s New World Symphony.
Under the direction of Kamel Boutros and Alex Nguyen, the parish choirs and orchestras will perform musical settings by Harry Burleigh, Antonin Dvořák, David Wilcox, George Frederick Handel, Kamel Boutros, Matt Veligdan, and Alex Nguyen, with plenty of congregational caroling binding the service together. Not to overlook the exceptional young talent of the congregation, the young musicians of the newly-formed Calvary-St. George Music Academy will make their debut.