Wednesday, February 1

In a first, St Paul’s to open its doors to concerts

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For 171 years, the only public event that was held on the premises of St Paul’s Cathedral was the midnight mass on Christmas eve. But not anymore. From this year, concerts related to Christ will be held on its premises and will be open to the public for free. This initiative is being taken by the Church of North India (CNI), the body that acts as a guardian of the Cathedral.

The idea is to throw open the church to all communities and make it another place where citizens can flock and spend a few hours of entertainment. Two concerts have been lined up for now on December 7 and 8. It is a common practice of the major churches of England to organize concerts inside the church vaults as part of the Advent of Christ, that is celebrated for four Sundays in the run up to Christmas. During this time, the new Christian year begins with the celebration of Christmastide (or the Christmas season) which starts on Christmas eve and goes up to Epiphany (12th day of Christmas) on January 6.

This year Advent starts on December 3 and can be celebrated up to December 23, according to the Christian calendar. The Kolkata Diocese of the CNI has decided to coincide the two concerts during this time to add colour to the Christmas celebrations. “This is the first time that musical concerts will be held at the altar of the Cathedral. We want people of all communities to come and enjoy church music. The leading singers of English numbers in the city will perform on December 7, while on December 8, the famous Kolkata Symphony Orchestra will bring in 150 string instrument players to strum up a harmony,” said Bishop Probal Dutta, the head of the diocese in the city. Interestingly, this British-established diocese is 200 years old and is the oldest one in the country.

Entry to both the concerts will be free and passes are being distributed by the diocese to bring in as many people as possible to the church to enjoy the music. “This will now be an annual event. While this year we will have only English music, we will definitely have Bengali music from next year” Dutta added.

Source: Times of India

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