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Christ the King: A Hymn to St Cecilia

Sunday 24 November is the Feast of Christ the KingThis feast day originated in 1925 by Pope Pius XI. He thought it would counter the rse of the dictators across Europe and reiterate that the Church was separate from the State. Christ The King is the final Sunday of the Anglican liturgical calendar – the Church year begins with Advent.

All Saints Fulham Choir will be ‘celebrating the end of the year’ at Sung Eucharist by singing Hymn to St Cecilia by Howells during Sung Eucharist. This piece was commissioned to mark Howells being the Master of the Worshipful Company of Musicians in 1959–60. Howells set a poem written by Ursula Vaughan Williams to music. St Cecilia’s day is on November 22. She is the patron saint of musicians.

St Cecilia by Domenichino (c. 1617-18, Louvre)

Sing for the morning’s joy, Cecilia, sing,
in words of youth and praises of the Spring,
walk the bright colonnades by fountains’ spray,
and sing as sunlight fills the waking day;
till angels, voyaging in upper air,
pause on a wing and gather the clear sound
into celestial joy, wound and unwound,
a silver chain, or golden as your hair.
Sing for your loves of heaven and of earth,
in words of music, and each word a truth;
marriage of heart and longings that aspire,
a bond of roses, and a ring of fire.
Your summertime grows short and fades away,
terror must gather to a martyr’s death;
but never tremble, the last indrawn breath
remembers music as an echo may.
Through the cold aftermath of centuries,
Cecilia’s music dances in the skies;
lend us a fragment of the immortal air,
that with your choiring angels we may share,
a word to light us thro’ time-fettered night,
water of life, or rose of paradise,
so from the earth another song shall rise
to meet your own in heaven’s long delight.


About All Saints Fulham Choir

The All Saints Fulham Church is the home of three choirs. A traditional Parish Choir who sing wide-ranging repertoire which spans nine centuries and tours regularly at home and abroad; a Gospel Choir who sing a mixture of contemporary and traditional gospel styles, and a junior choir for children from Year 3 upwards.


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