The Cathedral Choir of the Risen Christ performing at St Andrew’s Cathedral.

“Joys of Christmas 2018”, the theme of the Christmas presentation by the Cathedral Choir of the Risen Christ, received rousing receptions as it played to packed audiences at the Anglican St Andrew’s Cathedral on Dec 2 and the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd on Dec 9.

The concert at St Andrew’s Cathedral followed last year’s which was well-received. It was organised after the choir’s founder-director Sir Dr Peter Low and Rev Canon Terry Wong agreed that it would be good to have an ecumenical celebration to commemorate Christ’s birth.

The choir’s annual Christmas concerts are its contributions to the Christmas festivities in the civic district focusing on the celebration of the birth of God Incarnate.

The first part of the programme for both recent concerts focused on the characters in the Nativity tableaux. Joseph and Mary, the angels, the shepherds, the Magi and the Infant were each highlighted using brief quotations from Scripture followed by a relevant carol or composition for Christmas.

Nine junior choir members, aged two to nine, all children of choir members, thrilled the audience as they acted and sang. Four-year-old Sophie Ho, for example, charmed with her rendition in German of “Stille Nacht” (“Silent Night”).

The second half of the programme featured an hour-long medley of 47 national carols sung in their original languages. This segment reflected the international nature of the Christmas celebration even in countries where Christianity is a minority such as Egypt, Jordan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Vietnam and Japan.

The choir performing at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd.

The performance at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd included two other segments.

In a special ceremony, 47 diplomats placed special ornaments incorporating the flag of their nation onto a symbolic “Tree of Peace”, pledging their country’s commitment to world peace. Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen did the honours for Singapore.

Archbishop Marek Zalewski, Apostolic Nuncio to Singapore, also presented medals to 24 choir members for their long service in the choir, ranging from 10 to 45 years. Two of these members, who have served for 45 years, also received special Blessing Scrolls from Pope Francis for their dedication.

The concert at St Andrew’s raised funds for victims of disasters in Indonesia’s Sulawesi, while the concert at the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd raised funds for the Cathedral’s Social Mission Fund.

Asked to share one key takeaway from the concert at St Andrew’s, Rev Canon Terry Wong said that the “music … reminds us of our oneness with Christ, and it reminds us that we need each other”.