Cathedral Choir of the Risen Christ singing carols from around the world.Cathedral Choir of the Risen Christ singing carols from around the world.It was a celebration of song and unity at the annual Christmas concert staged by the Cathedral Choir of the Risen Christ.

But amidst the music and readings for Advent, held at St Joseph’s Church (Victoria St) on Dec 15, a sombre note was struck as the audience observed a minute of silence for the late Nelson Mandela.

A South African carol was then performed, to rejoice over “his life that was not lived in vain, but a source of inspiration and hope to millions”, said choral director Sir Peter Low.

The Cathedral Choir of the Risen Christ, accompanied by the Cathedral Chamber Consort, was performing its Peace and Love concert that evening which featured carols from some 20 countries.

Apostolic nuncio Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli places an ornament on the Christmas tree.Apostolic nuncio Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli places an ornament on the Christmas tree.Although it was easy to feel a little lost as the songs moved from Mexico to France, Switzerland, Spain, Japan, Thailand and the Philippines before coming back to Singapore, the medley was enjoyable, graceful and upbeat.

This was also not your typical stand-and-sing choir. At certain parts of the medley, there were dances and colourful costumes representative of the country featured. While singing an Australian carol, the choir even brought out props of big leaves, artificial birds and butterflies to portray the scene that was being described.

Members of the audience that evening included Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, a parishioner of the Church of St Ignatius, and diplomats from various countries.

During one segment, they were invited to hang ornaments on the Christmas tree that was already adorned with their national flags. According to Sir Peter, these additional decorations represent the diplomats’ “prayers for their families and for the nations that they are from”.

Archbishop William Goh, who was also present, blessed the Christmas tree and gave the final blessing at the end of the concert.

Monetary donations were also collected that evening for the Cathedral of the Good Shepherd and St Joseph’s Church.

Mr Sunny Sng, who is not a Catholic and who attended the concert with his wife, said the concert was “beautiful, fantastic and very well done”, and when the choir sang in “all the different languages, it was like the whole world was singing together”.

By Clara Lai
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