Birmingham Bach Choir: Nine Lessons & Carols

St Alban's Church, Highgate, Birmingham

Free traditional Christmas service
Sunday 15 December 2019 at St Alban’s Church, Highgate, Birmingham.

Birmingham Bach Choir return to St Alban’s Church, Birmingham, on the afternoon of Sunday 15 December 2019 for their annual free Christmas service, Nine Lessons And Carols.

A firm fixture on the city’s brimming festive calendar, the popular service features a series of Bible readings with seasonal music performed by the choir, interspersed with congregational carols.

Led by conductor Paul Spicer, with organist Paul Carr, it’s a chance to join in with such timely favourites as Once In Royal David’s City, Hark The Herald Angels Sing, O Come All Ye Faithful, and O Little Town Of Bethlehem.

Also performed are choice works by Herbert Howells, John Rutter, and Peter Racine Fricker, as well as Paul Spicer’s own Now Is The Time Of Christemas and David Hughes’ The Bee Carol.

A longstanding member of the choir, Hughes was shortlisted for the BBC Radio 3 Breakfast Carol Competition in 2017 and 2018. The Bee Carol, a setting of Carol Ann Duffy’s poem of the same name, was shortlisted in 2018.

Though Birmingham Bach Choir has performed Nine Lessons And Carols for many years, this is their fourth consecutive trip to St. Alban the Martyr, in Highgate, Birmingham. Constructed in the late-19th century to cater for the expanding inner city population, it’s an impressive Grade II* listed Gothic Revival church. With many fine features, it’s also home to stunning ornamental screens by Kate and Myra Bunce, siblings strongly associated with the Arts and Crafts and Pre-Raphaelite movements.

Philip Bellshaw, Chair of Birmingham Bach Choir, said: “The service provides a wonderful moment of calm in the true spirit and beauty of Christmas. We always appreciate the warm welcome from St Alban’s, and enjoy singing in its superb acoustics.”

Join Birmingham Bach Choir for Nine Lessons And Carols on Sunday 15 December 2019 at St Alban’s Church, Conybere Street, Highgate, Birmingham B12 0YH at 3.30pm. Admission is free (with a collection during the service). No tickets or prior booking required. For more information, see:


Suggested categories: Classical / Concerts / Christmas / Free Events

Sunday 15 December 2019
Nine Lessons and Carols
Join Birmingham Bach Choir for a traditional festive service, featuring a selection of much-loved carols.
St Alban’s Church, Conybere Street, Highgate, Birmingham B12 0YH
Free / donations

Programme of music:

  • O Come all ye faithful*
  • A child is born in Bethlehem (Scheidt)
  • O Magnum Mysterium (Victoria)
  • O little town of Bethlehem *
  • A babe is born (Peter Racine Fricker)
  • I saw three ships (arr. Lloyd)
  • The Bee Carol (David Hughes)
  • Lo, he comes *
  • Dormi Jesu (Rutter)
  • Now is the time of Christemas (Paul Spicer)
  • Hark a thrilling voice*
  • My Lord has come (Will Todd)
  • Once in royal David’s City *
  • Magnificat Gloucester service (Howells)
  • Sans Day Carol (arr.Rutter)
  • Of the Father’s Heart ( arr. Willcocks)
  • Hark the herald angels sing *

*arr by Paul Spicer

Bunce sister's reredo's in St Alban's Church Highgate Birmingham


As one of the UK’s leading large chamber choirs Birmingham Bach Choir has been contributing to the musical life of the West Midlands since 1919, making it one of the longest established musical groups in the area. Although the main focus is the Baroque period (especially JS Bach), the choir performs music spanning over 500 years including 20th and 21st century works.

2019 is the choir’s centenary, a year which has seen the choice perform a series of special concerts throughout the year, including a Gala Concert in Lichfield Cathedral and a performance for royalty.

“Consistently excellent … so young in spirit.” Birmingham Post on the choir’s centenary (November 2019)

“Stunning … great waves of beautifully phrased eloquence … constant fascination” 5 stars – Birmingham Post (reviewing Byrd’s The Great Service, March 2018)

“Sounding awesomely impressive.” 4-stars – Birmingham Post (reviewing Great Russian Sacred Music, November 2016)

“This was a reading luminous in its clarity, exhilaratingly detailed in the fine-etched shaping and balancing of its contrapuntal lines, and delivering diction of unaffected immediacy.” 4-stars – Birmingham Post (reviewing Bach’s B Minor Mass, December 2017)

For more information see:


For more information about St Alban’s, see:


For media images, and interview requests, please contact us:

Image of St Alban’s: Oosoom [CC BY-SA 3.0 (
Image of Screens: Andy Mabbett [Public domain]