Lessons and Carols: A withstanding holiday tradition

Lessons and Carols: A withstanding holiday tradition

by Melissa FathStaff Writer

The annual Lessons and Carols will be performed in the Smith Chapel on Dec. 9. There will be two showings, one at 2 p.m. and the other at 5 p.m.

According to www.kingscollege.com, the official Web site for King’s College and Seminary, Lessons and Carols is a prayer service, originating from The King’s College in Cambridge, England, which includes nine biblical passages from the Bible and a narration of the nativity story. It was first held at The King’s College, the Christmas Eve of 1918. There after, the service became traditional for their student body.

“[The service] is based on the Anglo-Christian celebration before the students at The King’s College went home for Christmas,” Professor of Music Dr. Michael Patterson said.

Not only is the service attended by students at The King’s College before they go home, its also broadcast on the radio. According to the Web site, the service first aired in England in 1928 and has been broadcast annually ever since. In the early 1930’s, BBC began broadcasting the service on overseas programs. It’s estimated there are millions of listeners worldwide.

The site also notes that Lessons and Carols was first composed by Eric Milner-White, the king’s dean and former army chaplain. The chaplain arranged the service in hopes of coming up with a more creative way of worshiping.

The service was first directed by Arthur Henry Mann, an organist from 1876-1929. Some revisions of the service have been made since, including rearrangement of the lessons. However, the service has always begun with the hymn “Once in Royal David’s city.”

The program will have many parts of Simpson community participating.

“[The ceremony includes] the chapel, religious life and the Music Department, lead by Chaplan Carl Gravander,” Tim McMillin, instructor of music and Simpson choir director said. “The service also includes] congregational hymns between readings.”

Lessons and Carols isn’t just a prayer service. A huge portion of the Music Department is involved in it, including chorale, choir, Madrigal and a jazz ensemble.

Not only is the ceremony a time of prayer and reflection, but it is also a time when the Simpson Music Department is able to showcase some of the many musical talents on campus.