The scene within the famed open Chapel of 50 pillars, fine stone carvings and elegant murals, is ethereal. Pass through the fading evening light, beneath an entrance festooned with sweet smelling flowers and lit by the dim golden glow of gently smoking pol thel pahanas and you are transported into another world. Right on cue, a clear treble voice rises through the dusk singing an age-old Christmas carol. The Festival has begun.
The Trinity College Choir will celebrate “A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols”, at the Trinity College Chapel, Kandy today, Sunday, December 6 at 6.30 p.m. This Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols follows the traditional form and content of carol services conducted by Kings’ College, Cambridge and is one of the most important events on the Trinity College year.
Trinity College, Kandy, was founded by the Church Missionary Society (CMS), which brought with it the great traditions of English church music. The earliest records of an organised choir at Trinity date back to the inception of the school, in 1872.
Part of the rich traditions of the choir is the calibre of choirmasters and mistresses who conducted it, and the organists who gave it melody. Among this august gathering is Barnabas Alexander, 76, widely regarded as being a legend in his time, having served as the regular organist of the TCK Choir from 1964 to date, a record 45 years of dedicated service. Despite being visually impaired as a result of an injury in early childhood, Mr. Alexander is an accomplished musician and plays the piano, organ, cello, and guitar by memorising the music notes written in Braille.
Last year, the choir completed the professional recording of the audio CD of Twelve Carols, which is available for a donation to the TCK Choir Development Fund. The CD also contains a booklet featuring the famous murals at the Chapel by David Paynter. The CD could be obtained at the festival this year.