Now, for the days leading up to the service, we'll offer a Kalendar of Carols: a more in-depth look at each piece of music to be sung.
A few years ago, the BBC Music Magazine polled directors of music about their favorite Christmas carol. Guess which one took the number one spot?
That's right: "In the bleak mid-winter" by Harold Darke.
It's hard to argue with this carol by Darke, who deputized for Boris Ord at King's in 1941.
It's a bit of a chameleon, this carol. It appears at this service many times and in different places in the service.
This year it's being sung as the Invitatory Carol (after the bidding prayer), just as it was in 2000.
It has been sung after the Fourth Lesson in 1997
It was sung after the Sixth Lesson in 2015.
It was sung after the Eighth Lesson in 2009. In the scattered records that I have from services in the 1970s, it seems to have been frequently sung after this lesson.
Nowadays, it is most often sung after the Seventh Lesson, as it was in 1998, 2002, 2003, 2012, and 2016.
A bit more on Christina Rosetti's text here: Best Christmas carol ever? Christina Rosetti’s “In the Bleak Midwinter”
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