Although a traditional service based upon the university calendar has been celebrated in Weaver Chapel for more than 30 years, the Service of Lessons and Carols for Advent and Christmas combines "Advent Festival Candlelight Vespers" and "Nine Lessons and Carols" into one service, which offers a time of reflection for members of the Wittenberg and Springfield communities. Both the Nine Lessons and Carols and the current combined services were inaugurated by Professor of Music, University Organist and Director of the Wittenberg Choir Donald Busarow, and he continues to coordinate the event.
The combined service has been observed since 1999 and begins with the Service of Light, in which the chapel is enveloped in darkness and gradually illuminated by the lighting of hundreds of candles. University Pastor Rachel Tune prepares the chapel. Emily Heidrich, class of 2008 from West Chester, Ohio, will serve as cantor this year.
The nine lessons have begun with the carol "Once in Royal David's City" since 1983, and Busarow has used 194 scripture readers over the years. They include representatives from the clergy of the Springfield area, members of the Wittenberg faculty and staff, including President Mark H. Erickson, the president of the Wittenberg Choir and a child to represent the children of the community. A favorite tradition of the service is the Quempas Carolers, a tradition traced back to the 13th century, sung by soloists from the four corners of the chapel with candles as the only source of light.
Music will be provided by more than 125 musicians including the Wittenberg Choir, Busarow, director; the Wittenberg Handbell Choir, Professor of Music Trudy Faber, director; the Wittenberg Singers, Associate Professor of Music Joyce Wendel, director; the Wittenberg Flute Choir, Adjunct Instructor of Music Lori Akins, director; and the Wittenberg Chamber Orchestra will participate for the first time, Assistant Professor of Music Brandon Jones, director.
The Witt Series, formerly known as the Wittenberg Series, brings distinguished lecturers and performing artists of national and international prominence to the campus and local community. For more information about the Series, visit the university's Web site. To make special arrangements reserve a Series poster or become a friend of the Witt Series, contact Katherine Denney at (937) 325-3005 or via e-mail.
Written By: Phyllis Eberts
Photo By: Cristina Recalde '08
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