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Classical Notes

Lessons and Carols: She Burned the Sweet Potatoes

Posted at 8:39 AM on December 24, 2008 by Rex Levang

In just a few minutes, we'll be starting this year's live broadcast of the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols.

For many, this is an old holiday tradition, and on our Web site you'll find a page of comments from listeners, and memories of the first US broadcasts--including the woman who became so engrossed in it while preparing Christmas dinner that she burned the sweet potatoes.

But new listeners also discover it for the first time each year: all the details are here.

(Interesting behind-the-scenes information: the service begins with the singing of a single unaccompanied boy soprano. But the choice of the soloist is a secret until the very beginning of the service. At that point, the choirmaster silently points to the boy who will take the solo. The theory is that that way, no one suffers from stage fright, nerves, etc.)