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once in royal

Anyone who sings in a church choir or has attended a Christmas service of ‘Nine Lessons and Carols’ knows the moment well.

A solo chorister emerges to sing the first verse of ‘Once In Royal David’s City’ – unaccompanied.

Sometimes, the singer is out of sight, so their voice magically appears out of nowhere.

But usually you can hear a note being sounded on the organ, which gives those present a clue that the big moment has arrived.

Given the nerves and tension felt by the solo singer, it’s also wise to be given the correct note.

It at least means that the arrival of the congregation at the start of the second verse is somewhere in the vicinity of the right chord.

The terror of that moment was beautifully caught in the final part of the BBC 2 documentary series ‘Westminster Abbey.’

If you can’t spare an hour, you can enjoy the build-up to Christmas climaxing in the solo opening verse from 49.07.

And to every soloist taking on this role this Christmas, good luck – and enjoy the moment.

Westminster Abbey – Episode 3 – BBC iPlayer

 

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