31st Annual Service of Lessons & Carols Offered at Catawba College Dec. 3 & 6
November 12, 2018
Catawba College’s Music Department will kick off the Christmas season by offering its 31st annual Service of Lessons and Carols. As always, the public is invited to attend the Service in the festively decorated Omwake-Dearborn Chapel on two different evenings – Monday, December 3, and Thursday, December 6 – and tickets are not required.
Seating for up to 700 individuals in the Omwake-Dearborn Chapel on campus will be available each night beginning with prelude music at 6:30 p.m., and followed by the Service of Lessons and Carols at 7 p.m. Catawba will offer shuttle van service to and from the Chapel each evening for those who park at the Robertson College-Community Center or the Abernethy Physical Education. For additional information, contact the Catawba Public Relations Office at 704-637-4396.
The Service of Lessons and Carols is based on the historic ritual that originated in 1918 at King’s College in Cambridge, England. Erick Milner-White, Dean of King’s College and an Army Chaplain, felt that a new and more imaginative way of worship was needed by the Church of England. The readings, prayers, and hymns first used in 1918 are still used today to create a service that weaves beautiful carols of the season with scriptures or lessons relating to the story of Christmas from the prophecies to the mystery of the Holy Trinity. Houses of worship, as well as colleges and universities, over the succeeding decades have placed their individual "stamp" on the service to reflect their parish or student body.
The Catawba Chamber Brass, under the direction of Dr. Stephen Etters, chair of the Department of Music, and Stephen Stringer, organist, will offer a half-hour of prelude music beginning at 6:30 p.m. The organ to be used will be temporarily installed, and is a new 4 manual 84-rank Rodgers digital organ that will, over the course of the next seven month, be “interfaced” with 17 ranks of the Chapel’s 1968 Casavant organ.
Under the direction of Dr. Phillip E. Burgess, associate chair of the Department of Music and Director of Choral/Vocal Studies, the combined choirs of Catawba College will open the service singing “We Shall Light a Thousand Candles” by David Rasbach. During the service, traditional hymns of the Advent and Christmas season will be sung by the congregation. Traditional choral favorites, including “Salvation is Created,” “Who is He in Yonder Stall,” and the beautifully melodic “This Christmastide” will all be featured.
Catawba’s PopAC will sing two arrangements by Michael W. Smith, “Ancient Words” and “All Is Well.” Catawba’s Chamber Choir will perform Dan Forrest’s “There is Faint Music,” and a new arrangement by Dr. Phillip Burgess, “Song of Mary the Mother.” A highly reflective and introspective piece, the “Song of Mary the Mother,” continually asks the listener to imagine what Mary was like. The piece was originally written as a carol for use in a Christmas pageant for Woodside Church in Flint, Michigan. While a graduate student at the University of Michigan, Dr. Burgess was the Director of Music at Woodside Church and worked closely with the song’s composer, Lenore Lanterman.
The Pentatonic arrangement of “O Come All Ye Faithful” will feature numerous soloists in a high energy choral version.
Student conductors Gregory Florio and Katie Zobel will lead the women and men of the choir in pieces that they have selected and prepared. Jacob Hahn and Stephen Stringer will accompany the ensembles on the keyboard. Several student instrumentalists will also accompany the choir on violin, bass, guitar and percussion.
Dr. Kenneth W. Clapp, chaplain and senior vice president, will serve as worship leader.
For those who are unable to attend, Catawba will offer a livestream broadcast of the December 6th Service on the College’s YouTube channel beginning with Prelude Music at 6:30 p.m.