Concert to share message of Christmas

Certain Augustana groups are keeping Christian Christmas traditions alive this holiday season. Augustana Campus Ministries, Chamber Singers and the Ascension Ringers will be performing at their annual event, “Lessons and Carols,” on Dec. 18.
The performance is filled with biblical verse, book-ended with carols and songs. While there are many holiday concerts at Augustana during December, nothing is quite as personal as the intimacy of the performance in Ascension Chapel, according to junior Daniel Walls.
“The chapel provides a nice contrast from other Christmas celebrations that happen in Centennial Hall,” said Walls. “You are able to feel much closer to the music and readings and other audience members and it makes it a much more communal experience.”
The concert serves as a staple for the Augustana community. While some might be opposed to the lessons and Christmas songs transitioning through the event, according to Geweniger, it is what makes the performance special.
“I like to think of it as a dialogue: sing a song of the season, hear a lesson of the season,” said Geweniger. “The music accentuates the spirit of the season, while the lessons give it meaning.”
This year will premiere the piece “Of the Father’s Love Begotten,” arranged by John Hurty, professor of music and director of the choral activities. Also being performed are classics like “Away in a Manger” and “Lo How a Rose.”
Both Hurty and Pastor Priggie collaborate for the event, matching music selections with the lessons.
“I pick the music each year and then Pastor Priggie looks at the musical selections and chooses lessons that fit with the texts of the music,” said Hurty. “That way, there is a very close relationship between the texts and the music throughout the service.”
The first performance starts at 4 p.m., but the candlelight service, which is often the favorite due to the heightened atmosphere, begins at 8 p.m.
The event serves as the final holiday Augie tradition to attend, as the Christmas at Augustana and Messiah performances are already over. Both the Chamber Singers and Ascension Ringers, led by Hurty and Larry Peterson, the director of music for Campus Ministries, respectively, will be performing.
“It’s a Christmas-heavy event,” said Geweniger, “but as an experience, it’s wholly spiritual.”