Seasonal Service Shines

The spirit of the holidays was in the air as audience members were entertained by the Lessons and Carols service last December 7 in the Cochran Chapel. The service has traditionally been one of the most popular of the year, with a large turnout including not only students and faculty, but also the general public. However, because of the winter weather and snowy conditions, many were prevented from attending. Beautifully decorated with wreaths and flowers, the Chapel provided a welcoming atmosphere for everyone to relax and escape from the cold winter day. The service began with a greeting from the chaplain Michael Ebner, who told everyone “to sit back and enjoy.” The prelude was performed by the bell choir, who gave off a very melodious sound that was synchronized and pleasant to listen to. Following the bell choir, the audience was graced by the beautiful voices of Fidelio, who sang a matin responsory in coordination with Father Francisco. The piece was harmonious and one of the most pleasurable of the afternoon’s program. The lessons and carols commenced after a call to worship, which emphasized that Christmas is much more than a date on a calendar, a holiday, or a celebration, but more a season of affirmation. The lessons were brief readings read by various students and faculty members, spoken with clarity and fortitude. A few of the aforementioned readers included Mrs. Sykes, Dr. Sturges, Stacey Naughton ’06 and Henry Manice ’05. Immediately after each lesson was a song, sung by the school choir and also accompanied by the congregation for a few of the selected pieces. The choir did an excellent job, with guidance from their conductor Chris Walter. Many of the chosen songs were joyful and melodious, while others had more of a strong and powerful resonance that was very succinct and refreshing. Many of the songs were familiar Christmastime favorites such as “Noel” and “Hark! The Herald Angel Sings.” However, the program was also spiced up by a traditional African song, which was very spirited and with a nice beat, set by the drummer, Ayo Adesanya ’05. Also accompanying the singers was Chris Li ’07 with a hand instrument. Well-rehearsed and gracefully sung, the piece was a nice addition to the performance. Some of the carols had soloists, all of whom stood out as exceptional vocalists. Soloists included Catherine Martini ’05, a member of Fidelio, as well as Amanda Senatore ’04, Katie O’Reilly ’04 and Angela Tenney ’05. Martini and Senatore were both accompanied by a harpist, singing with elegance to a traditional Irish melody. O’ Reilly began the next song, “Jesus Christ the Apple Tree,” with an a capella solo later joined by the rest of the choir. The last lesson was followed by “Go Tell It on the Mountain,” during which Tenney had her solo and proved to be an important asset to the school’s singing program. The service concluded with the benediction, sung by Fidelio, which was not surprisingly enough very graceful and harmonious. As the congregation walked out the Chapel doors, they were pleasantly surprised by the caroling of the Yorkies, outside amidst the whirling snow. The service brought some Christmas cheer to campus and all in all was an event well worth attending.