Lessons and Carols a Simpson tradition

Lessons and Carols a Simpson tradition

by Steve LovittStaff Writer

Simpson College’s music department will host its annual holiday event, Lessons and Carols, on Sunday, Dec. 13 with services at 2 and 5 p.m. in Smith Chapel.

“The service is modeled after the Service of Lessons and Carols held annually at King’s College Chapel in Cambridge,” Tim McMillin, instructor of music and director of choral activities, said. “They began the tradition in 1918. Simpson College has been performing its Service of Lessons and Carols since the 1970s.”

This year audience members will get more than just a standard music concert during Lessons and Carols.

“We will feature a few appropriate movements from Part One of Handel’s Messiah this year,” McMillin said. “Musical selections by Palestrina, Benjamin Britten and John Rutter will also be featured. So, there will be a great variety of beautiful music.”

The service is a musical collaboration featuring the College Choir, Women’s Chorale, Chamber Singers, Madrigal Singers, the college organists and a brass ensemble. It also involves various readers from Chaplain Fritz Wehrenberg faculty and administration at Simpson College and the Chaplain.

Nine traditional Bible passages are read during the service with music that illuminates the themes of the readings surrounding them. Well-known congregational carols are also sung.

“This is Simpson College’s Christmas greeting to our community,” McMillin said. “It is gratifying to see members of our community gather and experience the event. For me, personally, it always marks the real beginning of the season.”

Choir members find this event to be very rewarding and an exciting start to the Christmas season.

“The most rewarding thing about Lessons and Carols is to look out into the audience and see the joy and happiness on so many faces,” senior choir member Lauren Hartman said. “If they feel the spirit of Christmas-love, peace and giving-that makes the entire experience worthwhile.”

Students appreciate the event with finals right around the corner and everyone heading home for break.

“Lessons and Carols really puts me in the mood to get through finals and then go home and spend time with family and friends,” sophomore Jennie Darrow said. “The choir members do such a great job. Lessons and Carols really makes me proud to be part of the Simpson community.”

According to participants, experiencing a live event like this really moves people and puts things into a perspective of what is important in life.

“It’s been a great delight to be a participant in Lessons and Carols all four years I’ve been at Simpson,” Hartman said. “It’s a beautiful Christmas tradition that reminds me, and hopefully all who attend, of the real meaning of Christmas-the birth of Christ and the hope and peace found through Him.”