"The 18th Annual Festival of Carols & Scripture at the Basilica”
"Eighteen years ago, our Music Ministry started celebrating this service. The aim was to try and help our parish step away from the consumer driven hype and frenzy of the pre-Christmas season, and really try and bring Advent back into our consciousness. It was a big gamble because so many people seem to buy into the worry and over-spending ... so many shopping days left, etc. ... and we don't get to enjoy the real anticipation. For sure, what the Festival does for our choir is that we don't worry about our Christmas music at all. We're too busy worrying about pulling off a great festival. <333.png>
"Anyway, our first year we had about 30 in the choir and about 50 in the church, and last year - our 17th Festival - we had about 900, so it seems to be working. People come from all over the area. This year is the 50th anniversary of the document on Ecumenism from Vatican II - and that is one of the reasons that we invited ministers from other faith traditions to proclaim some of the scriptures - and also invited some of their music ministers to join us for one of the pieces. At the end of the Festival, we treated everyone in the church to wine and Christmas cake and cookies that the choir make and donate.
"Every year we take a different angle, and this year we began with a video of the choir. We used a professional videographer, which was a bit of a gamble for us as we only ask for a free will donation; we treat the Festival as a sort of Advent Retreat, so we don't feel that we can charge.
"We tie the Advent scriptures and the Advent music together with a script that connects our biblical ancestors to our lives today. This year our focus was on Journey."