My neighbor Dace and I attended the Royal Academy Christmas event. We got to the RA right on time and were ushered into the John Madejski Fine Rooms. We walked quickly and purposefully towards the food and each got one drink and 3 delicious morsels (brownie, stollen, cookie) - others who came minutes later may have gone hungry - but not because of us! We admired the paintings and then set out for the St James Church across the street.
We were a little early for the concert so we did a bit of browsing in the market in front of the church. Eventually our tickets were taken (alas, no souvenier for my scrapbook) and we went upstairs - we nabbed front center balcony seats. The Reverend opened the service and then there was a rotation between special songs sung by the Mary Ward Singers, all of us singing carols, and Royal Academy dignitaries reading selections of their choice. It was not until the end that we started recognising the carols. The church was beautiful but the seats felt very hard after an hour. We stayed for the entire service (~ 90 minutes) and agreed that it was a great experience.