For more than 30 years, the university held a traditional service before combining the Service of Lessons and Carols for Advent and Christmas to include "Advent Festival Candlelight Vespers" and "Nine Lessons and Carols" in 1999. The service offers a time of reflection for members of the Wittenberg and Springfield communities. The Nine Lessons and Carols, and the current combined services were introduced by Professor of Music, University Organist and Director of the Wittenberg Choir Don Busarow, who continues to coordinate the event each year.
The ceremony begins with the Service of Light, in which the chapel is enveloped in darkness and gradually illuminated by the lighting of hundreds of candles. The chapel is prepared by University Pastor Rachel Tune. Amanda Marenchin, class of 2010 from Ashland, Ohio, will serve as cantor for this year's service.
Since 1983, the nine lessons have begun with the singing of "Once in Royal David's City," performed in 2009 by Joyce Partyka, class of 2010 from Lowell, Ind. In addition, a solo rendition of the holiday classic "O Come, All Ye Faithful" will be performed by Brien Sewell, class of 2010 from Greenville, Ohio.
Busarow has used more than 200 different scripture readers since the service was first performed. This year's scripture readers include Vice President for University Advancement Brenda Duncan, Fulbright Scholar in Residence Matselisa Mapetla, Professor of Education Robert Welker, Department Assistant, History and Philosophy Margaret DeButy, Vice President for Student Development Sarah Kelly, Assistant Professor of Music Jessica McCormack and Marenchin, who is also president of the Wittenberg Choir in 2009-10. The Rev. Wendell Hakal of Rockway Lutheran Church in Springfield will represent the clergy of Springfield, and William Thompson, son of Professor of History Amy Livingstone, will represent the children of the community.
A favorite tradition of the service is the Quempas Carolers, which dates back to the 13th century. Soloists Rachel Kaufman, class of 2010 from West Lafayette, Ind., Jennifer Smathers, class of 2011 from Arlington, Va., Sheila Herlihy, class of 2011 from North Royalton, Ohio, and Becca Zajac, class of 2011 from Livonia, Mich., will sing from the four corners of the chapel with candles as the only light source.
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, Adjunct Instructor of Music Basil Fett, director; the Wittenberg Flute Choir, Adjunct Instructor of Music Lori Akins, director; and the Wittenberg Chamber Orchestra, Assistant Professor of Music Brandon Jones, director.
The Witt Series brings distinguished lecturers and performing artists of national and international prominence to the Wittenberg campus and Springfield community. For more information about the Series, visit the university Web site www.wittenberg.edu. To make special arrangements, reserve a Series poster, or become a friend of the Witt Series, contact Jeannine Fox at (937) 327-7470 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by: Ryan Maurer
Photo by: Erin Pence
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