'It's the most wonderful time of the year!' goes that popular Christmas song. But just how wonderful is it when you're director of music at a major New Zealand cathedral?
RNZ Concert's David Morriss caught up with Michael Stewart, Organist and Director of Music at the Wellington Cathedral of St Paul, to find out what it's like for him in the lead-up to Christmas.
"It is a wonderful time. It's a very, very busy time of the year as well, of course," says Michael.
"It's wonderful, it's exhausting [but] I can't imagine a life without it, to be honest".
"The music, and of course the added stress and adrenalin levels of this time of year keeps me going, and then I fall in a heap in January!"
It's also an extra busy time for the members of the Choir who, in the tradition of cathedral choirs all around the world, have to be able to learn the music quickly.
"They're volunteers and amateurs in the absolutely best sense of the word – meaning an 'amateur' is a lover of what they do. They have so much passion and commitment."
You can find a list of upcoming services on Cathedral website. This year's Festival of Nine Lessons & Carols will be broadcast on RNZ Concert on Sunday 24 December at 8pm.