Features, Highlights

Children’s choirs to present ‘Festival of Lessons & Carols’

A FESTIVAL and worship service involving children’s choirs from Methodist, Presbyterian and Baptist churches and congregational singing of Christmas carols, accompanied by piano/ organ, brass ensemble and other instruments will be held at Paya Lebar Chinese Methodist Church at 299 Upper Paya Lebar Road on Dec 16, 2006 at 7.30 pm.

Admission is free and all are welcome. This will be the culmination of a four-day children’s choir festival that includes a three-day children’s choir camp, “The Festival of Lessons & Carols” and the following four workshops for children’s choir directors:

1) Forming and Planning Children’s Choir Ministry (on Dec 13, 7.30 – 9.30 pm)

2) Creative Rehearsal Techniques for Today’s Choral Classroom (Dec 14, 7.30

3) Healthy Vocal Techniques for Children (Dec 15, 7.30 – 9.30 pm), and

4) Choral Reading Session and Introduction to Resources (Dec 16, 9.30 – 11.30 am).

The guest clinician and conductor for the camp, workshop and festival is Dr Pearl Shangkuan, music professor at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Co-sponsored by Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, the festival is organised by the Methodist School of Music (MSM) with the following objectives: to promote and encourage children’s choir ministry in local churches; to provide an opportunity for children from different churches to sing together in a joint festival/worship service; to teach children about worship leading; to teach children the true meaning of Christmas in an ever-increasing commercialised Christmas season; and to train children’s choir directors.

Registration is required for the workshops. For more information, please refer to the MSM website at http://www. msmusic.edu.sg/misc/CME2006_CHOIR.pdf

The MSM is committed to promoting children’s choir ministry in local churches. To begin with, a new children’s choir ministry will be launched at the MSM in early 2007 to provide centralised, comprehensive training for children’s choirs.

Churches that wish to establish or strengthen such ministry but lack resources or personnel are encouraged to contact Ms Mary Gan, the MSM Principal, at 6767-0532


The Twelve Days of Christmas’: Hidden meanings

PEOPLE often think of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” as the days preceding the festival.

Actually, Christmas is a season of the Christian year that lasts for days beginning on Dec 25 and ending on Jan 6 – the Day of Epiphany when the church celebrates the revelation of Christ as the light of the world and recalls the journey of the Magi.

From 1558 until 1829 people in England were not allowed to practise their faith openly. During this era someone wrote “The Twelve Days of Christmas” as a kind of secret catechism that could be sung in public without the risk of persecution.

The song has two levels of interpretation: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of the church.

Each element in the carol is a code word for a religious reality.

1. The partridge in a pear tree is Jesus Christ.

2. The two turtledoves are the Old and New Testaments.

3. Three French hens stand for faith, hope and love.

4. The four calling birds are the four Gospels.

5. The five gold rings recall the torah (Law) – the first five books of the Old Testament.

6. The six geese a-laying stand for the six days of creation.

7. Seven swans a-swimming represent the sevenfold gifts of the Spirit.

8. The eight maids a-milking are the eight beatitudes.

9. Nine ladies dancing are the nine fruits of the spirit (Gal.5).

10. The ten lords a-leaping are the Ten Commandments.

11. Eleven pipers piping stand for the 11 faithful disciples.

12. Twelve drummers drumming symbolise the 12 points of belief in the Apostles’ Creed.

There you have it, the HIDDEN meaning of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” and the secret behind the song.

Read this and it gives new meaning to the song we sing at this time of the year.