'A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols'

The Choir of King's College, Cambridge, presents the annual Christmas service 'A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols.'Keven Leighton

January 21, 2022

Another glorious A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols has come and gone. On-demand audio is no longer available for the 2021 broadcast, but you can still explore the magic of the Christmas Eve service from King's College, Cambridge.

Since 1918, A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols has offered listeners an opportunity to share in experiencing a live, worldwide Christmas Eve broadcast of a service of biblical readings, carols and related seasonal classical music. This special event is presented by the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, one of the world’s foremost choirs of men and boys, and performed in an acoustically and architecturally renowned venue, the college’s 500-year-old chapel.


This year's national broadcast of A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols is made possible by generous support from the Hognander Family Foundation.


Order of Service

Here is the Order of Service for this year’s broadcast of A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. Download the PDF booklet, or browse the list below.

Order of Service - Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols 2021

  • Once in Royal David’s City (Henry John Gauntlett, Sir David Willcocks, Arthur Henry Mann, Sir Stephen Cleobury)

  • In Dulci Jubilo (Robert L. de Pearsall, arr. Daniel Hyde)

  • Adam Lay Ybounden (Boris Ord)

  • The Truth From Above (Ralph Vaughan Williams/ arr. Christopher Robinson)

  • God So Loved the World (John Stainer)

  • The Holly and the Ivy (arr. June Nixon)

  • Sussex Carol (arr. Sir David Willcocks)

  • Little Town of Bethlehem (arr. Ralph Vaughan Williams/desc. Thomas Armstrong)

  • In the Stillness (Sally Beamish)

  • Gabriel’s Message (arr. Sir David Willcocks)

  • Make Ye Merry for Him That Is Come (Imogen Holst)

  • There Is No Rose (Cecilia McDowall – 2021 commission)

  • Angels From the Realm of Glory (arr. Reginald Jacques)

  • Wexford Carol (arr. Daniel Hyde)

  • Silent Night (arr. Rutter)

  • While Shepherds Watched (arr. Nicholas Marston)

  • Thou Who Wast Rich (arr. Kitson/Daniel Hyde)

  • I Saw Three Ships (arr. Simon Preston)

  • Come All Ye Faithful (arr. Daniel Hyde, Christopher Robinson, David Hill)

  • Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (arr. Sir Philip Ledger)

New recording

King's College Choir
King's College, Cambridge

LISTEN to the King’s College Choir’s new album, In the Bleak Midwinter, Christmas Carols From King’s.

BUY the King’s College Choir’s new album, In the Bleak Midwinter, Christmas Carols From King’s.

The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge
Matthew Martin, organ
Daniel Hyde, director of music

I hope this new album will allow listeners to eavesdrop on the early days of my tenure here at King’s; days of both joy and uncertainty as the world grappled with COVID-19. The Christmas we all endured in 2020 was like none before, and this recording captures a very unusual, private and lonely Christmas as we did all we could to keep our fragile tradition going, and to be ready for Christmas Eve. — Daniel Hyde