Our 4:30 PM Mass is the most crowded, standing room only and into the small vestibule we have, and it is also the most Catholic, meaning we don't have as many Protestant visitors that we have at the Midnight Mass, where Protestants for generations in the south have a tradition of attending Midnight Mass in Catholic Churches; odd but true. (Today most Protestant Churches have Christmas Eve services, but this is a relatively recent phenomenon and is curtailing our Protestants coming to us! What's up with that?)
But in terms of liturgical resources, we put most of that into the Midnight Mass. There is a 45 minute Carol Prelude to the Midnight Mass sung by both the choir and congregation. We have a larger than usual choir for the Midnight Mass which practices for it for weeks prior. We have the most "bling" at this Mass too, with hoards of altar servers with torches, lots of incense and the chanting of the Kyrie in the pre-Vatican II way in Greek and the Gloria in Latin (all else in English). And we celebrate the Midnight Mass ad orientem. But about a little less than half are Protestants or non practicing Catholics!
The 4:30 PM Mass which is the most crowded, the most Catholic and the most practicing only has an organist and cantor, but also trumpet and tympani which adds some zest and solemnity. Should we have the reverse, meaning the Midnight Mass Choir at the early one and just a cantor and organist, with trumpet and tympani at the Midnight Mass?
What do you think?