The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Meadows, Perkins host annual Christmas carol performance

It was chilly Thursday, but inside Perkins Chapel the annual Christmas worship service of Nine Lessons and Carols sponsored by Perkins School of Theology and Meadows of School of the Arts provided a warm and cozy holiday hideaway.

Singing choirs, readers and two graceful dancers, Jan Sabastian and Kay Quisenberry from the Dayspring Dance Ministry, retold the story of redemption in Jesus Christ through scripture and song. The chapel’s chandeliers cast a pleasant light on the faces of the people who came to hear the Christmas music, which carries the season’s charm for many.

“I’ve always believed that the re-telling of the birth of Christ is important to the spirit of Christmas,” junior finance major Ashley Kelly said. “More of our society should be aware of the true meaning of the holiday, and this service is the perfect way to teach it.”

On Christmas Eve in 1880 the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols originated in the ancient cathedral of Truro in Cornwall, England. Today the service is almost exactly as it was back then, with a few changes to allow for the service to take place at any time around Christmas, rather than only on Christmas Eve.

Professors Grady Hardin and Loyd Pfautsch established the Christmas Worship Service at SMU in 1959. Since then the tradition has been passed down through many directors. Professor Michael Hawn has collaborated with Meadows for this service since 1992.

Dean William B. Lawrence of Perkins School of Theology and Associate Dean Marjorie Procter-Smith attended both services Thursday while, professors Abraham Smith and Isabel Docampo presided.

The service consisted of nine readers who took turns reading short excerpts from the New Testament pertaining to the birth of Jesus. Following the readings, two choirs sang carols.

Hawn, associate professor of church music, directed the Seminary Singers, who delivered many carols originating from Africa, Asia and Europe. George Baker, assistant university organist, played the organ joining Jeffrey Kauffman on handbells accompanying Sunghwan Lee and Caela Wood’s vocal solos.

“It was really fantastic that they incorporated carols from all over the world,” Steven Cox said. “My girlfriend wanted to come and I thought it was just going to be another Christmas service, but I had a great time. It was very well done.”

The Meadows Women’s Chorus, directed by Timothy Seeling and Pamela Sulak, sang at the afternoon service, while the Children’s Chorus of Greater Dallas, led by Cynthia Nott, sang at the evening ceremony. They sang selections from Benjamin Britten’s “Ceremony of Carols.”

Jason Biggs, a Meadows alum, couldn’t help but admire the hard work that the performers put into the ceremony.

“Music is really important to me when it comes to feeling something deeply. This service reminded me about how important the meaning of Christmas really is,” he said.

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