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Students Will Be the Focus of Catawba's 28th Annual Service of Lessons & Carols

November 6, 2015

Category: Events, Music, Students

lessonscarols.jpg"O Babe So Small," an original song written and composed by a Catawba College student, will be among the selections offered during the College's 28th annual Service of Lessons and Carols. Members of the Salisbury-Rowan and college community are invited to attend the Service in the beautifully decorated Omwake-Dearborn Chapel on two different evenings, Monday, November 30, and Thursday, December 3.

Traditionally offered as Catawba's gift to the community, the Service of Lessons and Carols is based on the historic ritual that originated at King's College in Cambridge, England. It 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.

This year's service will feature a variety of musical styles, including that of Catawba student Emily Buchanan of Mint Hill whose "O Babe so Small" is an unaccompanied song for the mixed choir voices of the Catawba Singers. Buchanan, who was home-schooled from kindergarten through 12th grade, graduated from Central Piedmont Community College with an Associate in Arts degree in 2013. She transferred to Catawba in the fall of 2014 and is an Elementary Education major with a Music minor. She credits her active church life and the singing ability of her parents as factors that encourage her own musical pursuits.


Buchanan, who taught herself to play piano at age 5, says she still plays and composes primarily by ear, and has a passion for writing children's stories and novels and illustrating these. Her interest in composing began when she composed original songs as "scores" for the stories she wrote. At Catawba, Buchanan is active in Catawba's Student N.C. Association of Educators, the Catawba Singers, the Catawba Chamber Choir, and the Catawba PRIDE Marching Band (playing bass drum and the electric keyboard).

Dr. Phillip Burgess, Catawba's director of choral activities and assistant professor of Music, will be the principal conductor of the 70-voice Catawba Singers who will be joined by the Catawba Chamber Singers and Catawba's PopAC. The PopAC group will offer a most requested piece, "Mary did you know?", and a moving arrangement of "Silent Night" as performed by Pentatonix.

Past congregational favorites will again feature prominently on the program, including Victoria's "O Magnum Mysterium," Britten's "This little babe," and Hanby's "Who is He in Yonder Stall?"  Other composers represented in the service will be Handel, Rutter and Randall Thompson. Members of the congregation will be invited to participate in singing traditional carols of the season included in the program.

choir-burgess.jpg  Burgess directs the Catawba Singers

Two Catawba students will conduct selections during the service as part of Catawba's music education process. They are Hunter Safrit of Rockwell and Robert Thornton of Durham. Accompanists for the service include Matthew Brown, organ, and Jacob Hahn, piano. Prelude music for brass and organ will precede the 7 p.m. service and will begin at 6:30 p.m. each evening. Dr. Stephen Etters, associate professor of music, will direct prelude offerings by the Catawba Chamber Brass. The liturgist for the service will be Dr. Kenneth Clapp '70, Catawba chaplain and senior vice-president.

Shuttle service to the Omwake-Dearborn Chapel will be offered beginning at 5:30 p.m. from the Robertson College-Community Center, Ketner Hall and Shuford Stadium parking lots on campus. After the Service, the shuttle will also be available to return guests to their vehicles.

Tickets for both the November 30 and December 3 Service of Lessons and Carols are free to the public, but required for all who plan to attend. Requests are limited to up to four tickets per individual. Tickets can be reserved through the Catawba College Development Office by calling (704) 637-4396. Beginning Monday, Nov. 16, tickets will be available for pick-up in the Development Office between 1 and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or at a will call table on the nights of the Service. Note that the college will be closed for the Thanksgiving holiday beginning at noon on Nov. 25 through Nov. 27, and will reopen Nov. 30.

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