Christmas is one of the most celebrated holidays in the world, recognizing the anniversary of the birth of Christ. It’s a time when family and friends come together—something which remains at the heart of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church’s mission.
Bringing people together in faith, St. Paul’s Episcopal Church was founded in 1858 at the corner of Fourth and Orange streets. In 1912 it relocated to Market and 16th, and has resided there 100 years since. This season the church is hosting its first ever “Sounds of the Season Christmas Concert” on Friday, December 6th, to kick off their three-day Coastal Carolina Christmas.
The holiday concert features the St. Paul’s Choir performing traditional music, both sacred and popular, along with a string quartet featuring Christina Brier on harp; Janet Porterfield on flute and Ronnie Wise on piano.
“The audience will enjoy sacred music by Benjamin Britten, John Rutter and Ralph Vaughan Williams, as well as popular pieces, such as ‘Walking in a Winter Wonderland’ and ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas,’” Dena Bearl, rector for St. Paul’s, details. “[There is] something for everyone!”
Other songs featured include “What Sweeter Music” and “Shepherds Pipe Carol” (John Rutter), “Christmas Day” (Gustav Holst) and recognizable beauties such as “O’ Holy Night” and “Greensleves.” Tickets for Sounds of the Season are $25. Following the concert, guests can anticipate a delicious chocolate-and-champagne reception, complete with iced cakes, nut-filled cookies, crèmes, tortes and candies.
Saturday’s events kick off with a Low Country Boil at 5 p.m., wherein the church will serve the famed seafood pot, along with salad, desert, beer, wine and soft drinks. Tickets are $20 for the dinner only, or folks can combo the meal with the 7 p.m. concert for $50. Will Scruggs Jazz Fellowship will perform a Christmas narrative, “Song of Simeon.” The Atlanta, Georgia, fellowship was ranked among the “Top 5 Holiday CDs” of 2012 by the Wall Street Journal.
“This jazz quintet will perform eleven pieces using ancient canticles, hymns, and folk melodies,” Bearl notes. “Critic Brent Black says, ‘whether you celebrate Christmas or another holiday, there is a spiritual peace that emanates from this magnificent recording that give the true meaning to the phrase, the reason for the season. So true.”
Performance-only tickets are $30.
In an effort to keep the interest in the church going strong, the leaders of St. Paul’s devised the idea of the three-day Coastal Carolina Christmas to raise money for their outreach ministries. “We have high hopes of raising at least $20,000,” Bearl states. Funds raised go towards the ministry, who in turn offer financial counseling, referrals and basic needs to members of the community.
“St. Paul’s is a historic parish with a strong history of music and outreach to the community,” Bearl explains. “After some years of decline, the congregation is renewed and growing.”
The three-day festival finishes the weekend with The Jazz Fellowship playing at St. Paul’s on Sunday morning, December 8th, during their 10:30 a.m. worship service. Seats can fill a 350-capacity congregation during both nights.
Coastal Carolina Christmas
St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
16 N 16th Street • 910-762-4578
Sounds of the Season, December 6th, $25
Low Country Boil and Will Scruggs Jazz Fellowship, December 7th, $20-$50
Will Scruggs Jazz Fellowship, Sunday morning worship, December 8th, free