Midnight Mass to be broadcast live on BBC One from Portsmouth Cathedral this Christmas

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Portsmouth’s Cathedral Choir will be performing the TV premiere of the Church of England’s new Christmas single live on television this Christmas Eve as Midnight Mass is broadcast live on BBC One.

The choir will be joined by musicians from the HM Royal Marines to sing a new version of the popular carol, ‘The First Nowell’, in a live broadcast from the city’s Cathedral on BBC One. While this will be the first time the carol will be sung on TV, on the BBC’s flagship Midnight Mass programme, Cathedral goers will be able to hear the song live in special performances in the build up to Christmas Eve with services running between December 21 and 23.

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For those that want to attend Christmas Eve’s Midnight Mass at Portsmouth Cathedral in person, the doors open at 10.30pm with everyone needing to be seated by 11.15pm. While the Midnight Mass service is always popular, it may prove more so this year with the confirmation that it is being shown live on national television.

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Portsmouth Cathedral Choir have been selected to sing live on the BBC for Midnight Mass.Portsmouth Cathedral Choir have been selected to sing live on the BBC for Midnight Mass.
Portsmouth Cathedral Choir have been selected to sing live on the BBC for Midnight Mass.

The performances are part of the The Church of England’s Christmas campaign ‘Follow the Star: Join the Song’ with 3,000 choirs up and down the country sing the new version of the carol. Bob Chilcott, who composed for the BBC Proms in 2012 and is the current Principal Conductor of the Birmingham University Singers, composed the new version of the the carol which has been released on digital platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube.

Midnight Mass has headline billing but a number of events have been announced throughout the area to enable people to celebrate the season. Families will want to earmark the nativity play held at Staunton Country Park in Havant, on December 16, 17, 20 and 22, which will see three shows a day featuring farm animals and authentic costumes. Hart Plain Church in Waterlooville will also be holding its live Nativity Play on the December 9 which will include sheep, goats, donkeys, chickens and turkeys.

All CoE churches and parishes will be collecting toys and donations to be given to needy children via Homestart in Portsmouth. They will also be contributing gift vouchers to the ‘Comfort and Joy’ campaign run by Churches Homeless Action which helps homeless, asylum seekers and vulnerable families buy their own Christmas gifts.