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SMC choirs to sing Christmas carols

Alex Winegar | Thursday, December 12, 2013

This Sunday, the 28th annual Lessons and Carols event will take place at the Church of Loretto at 7:30 p.m., sponsored by Campus Ministry, the Department of Music, the Department of Communication, Dance and Theater and the Church of Loretto.

Regina Wilson, assistant director of Campus Ministry, said Lessons and Carols is a gathering of prayer that was started by the Church of England. Readers recite scripture, and Saint Mary’s and the Church of Loretto’s choirs sing sacred songs of the season, she said.

“The readings and lessons are readings that we carefully select based on theme,” Wilson said. “This year we picked readings that convey or represent images of Mary. And they aren’t all scripture. For instance there’s a lovely poem by Hildegard Von Bingen that we’ve used several times and that we are going to read again this year,” she said.

The event begins with a procession of the choirs singing a congregational song. Readings and lessons with either choral or congregational signing alternate, Wilson said. The choirs include women’s choir, liturgical choir, collegiate choir, Loretto choir and Hand Belle Choir. A candlelight ceremony featuring “Silent Night” closes the event, she said.

“We invite different people from the College to do the readings. We have seven different lessons and readings,” she said. “… Of the seven readers there are two faculty members, one student, two sisters, a couple of ministers so it is a representation of the College.”

The readings often relate back to the mission of Saint Mary’s and to the Sisters of the Holy Cross, Wilson said.

“It is very connected with the mission of the sisters of the Holy Cross so the readings often have something to do with justice,” she said. “And this year in particular to Mary and justice to Saint Mary’s to some of the thematic elements.”

After participating in Lessons and Carols in 2012, sophomore Maria Wesler said she chose to participate for a second year as part of women’s choir because the event was a lovely experience.

“[The Church of Loretto} is just so beautiful,” Wesler said. “The way you can hear everyone sing in there and [the way it] echoes is gorgeous,” she said.

Saint Mary’s students also recognize the importance of keeping tradition and the value it has for the College, Wesler said.

“It’s a part of maintaining the culture and also maintaining the values of Saint Mary’s,” she said. “I would say Lessons and Carols would probably be a good part of the Saint Mary’s tradition because it does keep alive the certain values that our school holds sacred like religion.

Wilson said she believes the event is a celebratory occasion for the community to be in prayer together.

“I find it to be an experience of prayer,” she said “… There are a lot of people that have been coming for years. This is their advent thing to participate in.”

Contact Alex Winegar at awineg01@saintmarys.edu