Lothian Church Celebrates Advent with Song

St. James Parish in Lothian has been celebrating the first day of advent with walk-in chorus for 27 years.

The 27th annual “Messiah” Sing-Along at St. James’ Church in Lothian.|Photo credit: Val Hymes
The 27th annual “Messiah” Sing-Along at St. James’ Church in Lothian.|Photo credit: Val Hymes

Submitted by Val Hymes

There was standing room only at the 27th annual “Messiah” Sing-Along Sunday, Dec. 1, at St. James’ Church in Lothian. The voices of the come-as-you-are walk-in chorus rattled the plaster of the historic 1763 building built just 20 years after the first performance of Handel’s great Oratorio.  

The event—singing the Christmas part of the “Messiah”—always takes place on Thanksgiving Sunday, usually marking the first day of Advent, the beginning of a new church year. A sing-along of the Lenten/Easter parts of the oratorio will be held at 4 p.m. on March 23.

“It was the best chorus we have ever had,” director Michael S. Ryan said. 

An estimated 275 singers and listeners ate 11 gallons of vegetarian chili, cornbread and cider and consumed snacks and desserts brought by the singers. 

The singers were accompanied by a chamber ensemble and trumpet. Soloists were Carolene Winter, soprano; Stephen Holmes, tenor; Patrizia Conte, alto and Alvy Powell, bass. 

The whole parish helps make the event happen. The youth groups decorate a huge tree, the Women of St. James’ Parish host the candlelight reception and the men serve and clean up.  The free will offering benefits the poor through the Salvation Army.


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