BETHANY, W.Va. – The Bethany College Choir, under the direction of Assistant Professor of Music David J. Rudari, will present its annual Christmas Program at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 3 at Bethany Memorial Church. This year’s program will be a presentation of The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, held in conjunction with the Advent celebration events at Bethany Memorial Church and the College’s annual Holiday Celebration through the office of Student Life.
The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols is a traditional format for a Christmas worship service and has been part of the Bethany College Choir’s Advent and Christmas programming since the 2002-03 academic year. It relates the story of Man’s fall from grace, the promise of the Messiah and the birth of Jesus though a series of nine short Bible readings mingled with the singing of Christmas carols and hymns. The best-known version has been presented every Christmas Eve since 1918 at King’s College in Cambridge, England, featuring performances by the renowned Choir of King’s College.
Youth, local officials and a variety of clergy often participate in presentations of The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, making them true community celebrations. This service adheres to that tradition by featuring resident clergy, community members, the Mayor of Bethany, members of the Bethany Memorial Church Board of Directors, and officers of Bethany College along with members of the Bethany College Choir. Special musical accompaniment will be provided by Judith Y. Allison, Organist at Bethany Memorial Church, and Bethany College senior Casey R. Gray of Wheeling, W.Va., Organist and Organ Scholar at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Wheeling.
“Lessons and Carols has always been an opportunity to gather in celebration,” Rudari said. “As a Christian community, Advent is a time for us to prepare and reflect at the beginning of the Church year. As an academic community, it is an event that marks the near-completion of our academic work and the respite of Christmas, as we go our separate ways to celebrate with our families and friends. It affords us the chance to pause and reflect upon how blessed we are and share those blessings with others.”
The event is open to the public with no admission charge. There will be a reception following the program.
Bethany College is a small college of national distinction located on a picturesque and historic 1,300-acre campus in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia. Founded in 1840, Bethany is the state’s oldest private college.