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Gresham College: Christmas Lectures: 1928 – Annus Mirabilis of the Christmas Carol


About this series

This three-part celebration of Christmas starts with the man many think is the author of the modern celebration, Charles Dickens, looks at how Santa Claus has become big business in Finland through the power of marketing, and culminates in a musical celebration of the year the Christmas Carol went viral: 1928.

About this lecture

1928 witnessed the BBC’s first broadcast of the Christmas Eve carol service from King’s College, Cambridge. 1928 also saw the publication of The Oxford Book of Carols.

By paying tribute to conductors Arthur Mann and Boris Ord, and composers and arrangers Ralph Vaughan Williams and Martin Shaw, Jeremy Summerly and the St Luke’s Carollers make a case for 1928 as the year in which the Christmas carol went viral.


About Jeremy Summerly

Jeremy is the Sterndale Bennett Lecturer in Music at the Royal Academy of Music. He also chairs the Academy’s Continuing Professional Development Programme. 

He has delivered the annual Christmas carol service at Gresham College since 2014. In 2019, he was made Visiting Professor of Music History.



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