The 2017-18 Wittenberg Series continues at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 8, with the annual Lessons and Carols for Advent and Christmas service at Wittenberg University’s historic Weaver Chapel. The event is free and open to the public, with pre-service music beginning at 7 p.m.
The theme of the service is “On this Still and Silent Night” based on a choral piece of the same name. Music will be provided by more than 100 musicians, including the Wittenberg Choir and the Wittenberg Singers directed by Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Erik Zinter, the Wittenberg Chamber Orchestra directed by Associate Professor of Music Brandon Jones, and the Wittenberg Handbell Choir directed by Adjunct Instructor of Music David Crean, who will also serve as organist for the service, while Adjunct Instructor Laurie Smith, piano, will accompany the choirs.
The chapel will be prepared by David B. and Carol Matevia Endowed University Pastor Rachel Tune. Readers were selected from faculty, staff and the community. Among this year’s readers for the service will be President Mike Frandsen and spouse, Sharon Frandsen; Ryan Maurer in University Communications, along with spouse, Heather Maurer, and their son, Joshua; Rev. Adam Banks, pastor to First Baptist Church in Springfield; and Maklayne Vitovich ’19, president of the Wittenberg Choir.
As in past years, the ceremony begins with a Procession of Light, at which time the chapel is enveloped in darkness and gradually illuminated by the lighting of hundreds of candles. The music for the opening procession uses the metaphor of Jesus as the rose of love, which does not fade. The choirs will sing “The Flower of Love” in the darkened sanctuary, alternating with a series of “change rings” by the Wittenberg Handbell Choir on “Lo, How a Rose e’er Blooming,” as Weaver Chapel slowly becomes illuminated.
Other choral music in the 2017 Lessons and Carols for Advent and Christmas service includes “Noel,” a piece in the African tradition by Brad Holmes and a set of carols, including two choral selections, "Carol of the Drum" and "Patapan," and "Carol of the Bells" performed by the Wittenberg Handbell Choir.
Other instrumental music will John Rutter’s “O Waly Waly”, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and “Still, Still, Still” for orchestra. Among the pieces the Handbell Choir will play during the pre-service music are “Fantasy on ‘Il est Ne’,” “A Christmas Carillon,” and a composition by Wittenberg graduate Angelique Gabrielle ’17, “Wings of Peace.”
The service will conclude with a second lighting of the candles as the choir sings “Night of Silence,” during which the congregation joins in for “Silent Night.” Crean will play a postlude by David Wilcocks, “Finale on ‘Hark, the Herald Angels Sing.”
Now in its 35th year, the Wittenberg Series brings distinguished lecturers and performing artists of national and international prominence to the Wittenberg campus and Springfield community. To make special arrangements, request a Series poster, or become a friend of the Wittenberg Series, contact Lisa Watson at WatsonL4@wittenberg.edu. All Wittenberg Series events are free and open to the public.
Additional 2017-2018 Wittenberg Series Events:
- Monday, Jan. 15, 2018: Martin Luther King, Jr. Convocation, 11:15 a.m., Weaver Chapel, featuring Bernadette Evans '89, community activist and author. Q & A, 3:30 p.m., 105 Joseph C. Shouvlin Center for Lifelong Learning.
- Monday & Tuesday, Feb. 5-6, 2018: Visual Arts Residency, 7:30 p.m., Springfield City School District's John Legend Theater at The Dome with documentary filmmaker, Elisabeth Haviland James. In celebration of Black History Month, there will be screenings of the films Althea (Monday) and The Loving Story (Tuesday).
- Wednesday, March 21, 2018: IBM Endowed Lecture in the Sciences, 7:30 p.m., Bayley Auditorium featuring evolutionary biologist Dr. Sean B. Carroll. Colloquium, 4 p.m., Bayley Auditorium.
- Monday, March 26, 2018: William A. Kinnison Endowed Lecture in History, 7:30 p.m., Weaver Chapel, featuring Annette Gordon-Reed, Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History at Harvard University and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family.
For more information on the Wittenberg Series, click here.