Bit of a strange title I admit, but it is an interesting question for the dedicated Chorister Family. Here's why.
This year will be our fifth and final Christmas as Chorister Parents and it presents quite possibly the very best musical feast you could imagine. There's the midnight mass and the perenial 'will our boy be caught yawning' question; the excitement and stamina of Christmas Day itself; the musical magic of Britten and Handel and the lighter entertainment of the Celebration; and then there are the two Advent Processions.
Musically more testing than the traditional carol services (and arguably richer) they're repeated over two evenings, I'm guessing to supply the huge demand. It's a good and long-ish service and one that sees the day pupils and the famous candle-lit procession.
But the question exists; where to sit?
The Cathedral is kind enough to reserve seats and organise tickets for us, which we sould remain grateful for, and for the Advent service our tickets are reserved for the usual Evensong spots in the Quire.
Which would be fine but the Choir is not actually in the Quire until about 3/4 of the way though the service. They start at the west end processing slowly through the Cathedral pausing to sing as they make their way eastwards.
The first year we attended (2009) and sat in the quire, we spent a large part of the service feeling just a little left out, although recompensed when the choir reached their final seats. I think it was the second year when one of the Wandsmen suggested that the best spot might in actual fact be somewhere around the middle of the Cathedral at the top of the nave where it meets the dome. The photo above shows the choir singing at this point and it was possible to sit even closer to the boys than usual. You also get to hear O Adonai up close, an eery, multi-textured piece with stunning bass and treble parts that cleverly uses the space.
So the middle of the Cathedral then? Well, the current Chapter have made a few changes to some of the services and I'd anticipate continued experimentation, and until we see the order of service, who knows.
Where to sit then? You decide.
Of course if you're going to both processions you could have the best of both worlds...