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Practiced choir

Led by the bold Frank Scinta, the Choir of Blessed Sacrament Church has emerged, not so quietly, as one of Buffalo's great creative vocal groups. That means that Sunday, when the choir holds its annual Festival of Lessons and Carols, surprises are bound to be in store.

"Away in a Manger," for instance, is a new setting by Canadian composer Elmer Iseler, and Scinta calls it "mesmerizing" and "magnificent." "In Wintertime" tells the Nativity story in a luminous 40 seconds. Scinta cites two versions of "A Child Is Born in Bethlehem" as another highlight. The first is by the great German Renaissance composer Michael Praetorious, and the second, by Samuel Scheidt, is an alluring contrast.

Also expect such classics as "Adam Lay Ybounden," "Jesus Christ the Apple Tree" and "Angels From the Realms of Glory." The congregation is invited to join in for "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing," "O Come, All Ye Faithful" and other carols.

Enjoy this unique, adventurous Festival of Lessons and Carols at 4 p.m. Sunday in beautiful Blessed Sacrament Church, 1025 Delaware Ave.

-- Mary Kunz Goldman

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