Traditional Service of Lessons and Carols Presented at Denison's Swasey Chapel
Posted: November 22, 2002
Denison University's Swasey Chapel will glow with candlelight as college and community members gather for a traditional "Candlelight Lessons and Carols" service at 8 p.m., Friday (Dec. 6). This service, jointly sponsored by the department of music and the Office of Religious Life, is the University's celebration of Christmas. The Collegium Musicum, a vocal ensemble directed by Christine Shumway Mortine, will provide special music for this service. This program is free and open to the public.
The program features numerous chants, liturgical vestments for the choir, choral music, congregational carol singing and biblical readings. The readings recall the story of humanity's fall from grace, prophetic visions of the coming of the Messiah and the birth of Jesus Christ. The service is conducted entirely by candlelight, which represents a first century Jewish custom that acknowledges the blessing of light.
Music that will be performed as part of the service will include "Verbum Caro" by Hassler, "Psallite Unigenito" by Praetorius and "Exultate Deo" by Palestrina, "all being bright and pontifical in style," according to Mortine. "The choir will also perform 'O Magnum Mysterium' by Thomas Luis de Victoria, a beautifully seamless and expressive work. From the 15th century, we'll sing 'Nowel syng we bothe al and som' accompanied by medieval cymbals and drum," said Mortine.
To represent the current century will be David Willcok's arrangement of "Ding Dong!--Merrily on High" and "Hush!--My Dear, Lie Still and Slumber" written by Stephen Caracciola, founding director of the Collegium Musicum. The congregation will join the choir in singing "O Little Town of Bethlehem," "O Come All Ye Faithful" and "Hark the Herald Angels Sing."
Readers for this year include President Dale Knobel, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Sam Thios, Professor and Chair of Religion David Woodyard, and students Jeryl Hayes, Anusha Jogi and Lis Imhoff. The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols was first held on Christmas Eve at Kings College Chapel in Cambridge, England, in 1918 and has become a beloved holiday tradition, not only at Cambridge but also at Denison.
The Collegium Musicum is a chamber choir devoted to the study and performance of Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque literature. Singers in the choir represent a diverse cross section of students from the University's many academic majors.
Denison University, founded in 1831, is an independent, residential liberal arts institution located in Granville, Ohio. A highly selective college enrolling 2,100 full-time undergraduate students from all 50 states and dozens of foreign countries, Denison is a place where innovative faculty and motivated students collaborate in rigorous scholarship, civic engagement and the cultivation of independent thinking.
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