Catawba College Music Offers 30th annual Service of Lessons & Carols Nov. 27 & 30
November 3, 2017
Catawba College's Music Department will mark the start of the holiday season by offering its 30th annual Service of Lessons and Carols. The public is invited to attend the Service in the beautifully decorated Omwake-Dearborn Chapel on two different evenings – Monday, November 27 and Thursday, November 30 – and this year, tickets will not be distributed or 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, the Abernethy Physical Education or Ketner Hall on campus. 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.
At Catawba, the 2017 Service of Lessons and Carols continues the tradition established by longtime Music Department faculty member, Rosemary Kinard. Choral selections for the Service will be a blend of traditional favorites and new arrangements. Benjamin Britten's "This little babe," sung by the women of the choir, and "Who is he in yonder stall?" sung by the men of the choir, have become the perennial favorites of Service attendees and are the most requested selections by audiences and students alike.
Dr. Steve Etters and the Catawba Chamber Brass will present selections for brass and brass and organ beginning at 6:30 p.m., 30 minutes prior to the start of the Service. Prelude offerings will include traditional and contemporary music of the season.
In the Service that begins at 7 p.m., several of the choral selections to be offered have a distinct Appalachian and Southern character. "Brightest and best," sung by the Catawba Singers, will be accompanied by a small bluegrass ensemble of Catawba students.
In a reflection of southern gospel heritage, the choir will perform a gospel arrangement of "Lo, how a rose e'er blooming," accompanied by jazz saxophonists Seth Pittman and Elliott Miller.
Catawba freshman music education major Savannah Nunn of Lexington, N.C., will be featured with her own arrangement of "Jesus, the light of the world," again sung by the Catawba Singers with soloists.
Student conductors Katie Zobel and Gregory Florio will conduct two pieces on the program that they have selected and prepared. Catawba College students like Zobel and Florio have a unique opportunity to choose a cognate in conducting at the undergraduate level. These students conduct the various choirs in daily rehearsals.
The 75-minute service will feature the 80-voice Catawba College Singers, and the smaller Chamber and PopAC choirs. Readers for the various scripture lessons have been chosen from the faculty and staff of the college.
Accompanying the singers this year will be Mr. Jacob Hahn and Ms. Susan Trivette on piano, and Mr. Steve Stringer, organ. Dr. Phillip E. Burgess, associate chair of the Music Department and director of choral activities, will direct the ensembles. Dr. Kenneth W. Clapp, chaplain and senior vice president, will serve as worship leader.