Above: The Cathedral Choir of the Risen Christ performed its Christmas concert at the CHIJMES chapel to a crowd that included envoys of various countries. Below: Singapore’s Foreign Minister K Shanmugam lights a candle for peace.
The former CHIJMES chapel came to life on Dec 18 when the Cathedral Choir of the Risen Christ presented its annual Christmas concert to a small but distinguished audience.
The choir, led by its founder director, Sir Peter Low, performed to a crowd that included Singapore Foreign Minister K Shanmugam, the ambassadors of Belgium, Ireland, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, Peru, Ukraine, the Vatican, and the High Commissioners of Canada, India, South Africa and the United Kingdom.
The first half of the evening’s programme was a more serious paraliturgical presentation of hymns, carols and six short readings from Isaiah, Jeremiah, Hebrews and Luke, foretelling the birth of the Messiah.
Fr Ignatius Yeo then carried an icon of the Infant Jesus in solemn procession to the strains of Puer Natus Est Nobis and the much loved Silent Night, sung in German and English.
The traditional decorating of the Christmas tree by envoys was replaced by a Ceremony of Light this year.
The dignitaries were invited to light special candles, each embossed with the flag of the nation they represent, on a Tree of Lights, a specially made wrought-iron sculpture.
The candles represented the common desire for love and peace which are at the heart of Christ’s teaching.
Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli lighted a candle on behalf of Vatican City State while Mr Shanmugam lighted a candle for Singapore.
Archbishop Nicholas Chia then blessed the Tree of Lights.
The theme of celebration was the key element of the second half of the concert as the choir focused on the real reason for the festive celebration – Christ.
The choir sang a medley of rarely heard foreign carols in the original languages of composition including Polish, Italian, Japanese and even Zulu. They even sang a Korean carol, Krismas sun mool, K-pop style.
The evening ended with the majestic Hallelujah chorus from Handel’s Messiah.