Carson City Consort Canzona performing annual Lessons and Carols Dec. 5 & 6

Consort Canzona is performing Christmas concerts this weekend in Carson City and Reno.

Consort Canzona is performing Christmas concerts this weekend in Carson City and Reno.

Consort Canzona, a group of instrumentalists and singers who specialize in early music, are presenting two “Lessons and Carols” concerts this Christmas season.

Performances are planned at 5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, at Shepherd of the Sierra Lutheran Church, 3680 Highway 395 in Carson City, and 4 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6, at Trinity Episcopal Church, 200 Island Ave. in Reno.

“Lessons and Carols,” originally titled “The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols,” was first presented in 1880 by Edward Benson, later Archbishop of Canterbury, for a Christmas Eve service in Truro, Cornwall, where he was then Bishop. The Festival was created as Christian worship service recounting the fall of humanity, the promise of the Messiah, and the birth of Jesus. Selections from the Bible and religious writers of the Medieval and Renaissance eras, depicting the nine lessons, were interspersed with musical selections or hymns by the congregation.

Consort Canzona’s “Lessons and Carols” presents readings from the Bible and from poets, such as John Milton and John Donne, alternating with vocal and instrumental compositions. Music by William Byrd, Tomas Victoria, and Michael Praetorius is included, and Heinrich Schutz’ Deutsches Magnificat follows the reading on the Annunciation.

Admission to both concerts is free; donations are accepted.

Carson City musician Sharon Kientz formed Consort Canzona in 2009 for recorders, cello, and harpsichord. Singers were added in 2011. The group is directed by Gary Schwartz.

Consort Canzona, a performing group of the Carson City Symphony Association, is supported in part by a grant from the Nevada Arts Council, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, and by Association memberships and donations.

For more information, call 775-883-4154, or go to


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