Hark the herald angels sing!

Just like it has every year for the past 40, the Appleton Boychoir delivered a heart-swelling Christmas gift to its community this past Saturday.

More than 100 voices ranging from sweet soprano to rich baritone swelled in gorgeous harmony and reminded everyone of the Christmas season’s meaning and its joy.

With its history, size and acoustical gifts, the Lawrence Chapel always offers the perfect setting for the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, during which very young singers perform songs hundreds of years old.

“Let us fill the chapel with the joy of song,” Reverend Kimbral Johnson, senior pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Neenah read during the bidding and opening prayer at the 4 p.m. concert.

And, aided by the smooth sounds of Copper Street Brass, that’s exactly what they did.

Three times during the program audience members are invited to stand and sing with the choirs and three times a whole chapel full of people left December’s frenzy behind for a little while to stand and sing with joy.

Some moments in life feel like a privilege even without a retrospective lens and standing in the middle of a gorgeous chapel belting out a Christmas Carol with a multi-generational choir always feels that way.

For more than half of the Appleton Boychoir’s history, Mayor Tim Hanna has offered the ninth and final lesson, which seems more apropos with each passing year.

“If God so loved us,” the lesson reads. “hadn’t we ought to love one another?”

The best way to enjoy the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols is live in that gorgeous chapel. But, you can treat yourself to the next best thing from the comfort of your own living room on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Musical selections will be broadcast on NBC 26 at 10:35 p.m. on Dec. 24 and 11 a.m. on Dec. 25. You can also watch it at 6 a.m. and 10 a.m. on WACY MyNew32.

Since 1979 the Appleton Boychoir has been offering its community a Christmas gift called the Festival Nine Lessons and Carols.
It always comes during the busiest time of the year and I sometimes wonder how I will squeeze that concert into my schedule. I am always so glad I did because it reminds my of how beautiful this frenetic season can be and it is such a privilege to share that joy with generations of people.

Here is a taste of the magic, featuring our friends Rudy and Sean Salm:

And here is what joy sounds like when it bounces around the walls of that glorious chapel:

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