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Lessons and Carols captures true spirit of season

December  02, 2010

Sam Schlouch
Senior Communication Director
(309) 794-7833

The Augustana Chamber Singers and the Office of Campus Ministries present Lessons and Carols at 4 and 8 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 16,  in Ascension Chapel, 820 38th St., Rock Island.

No tickets are required for this seasonal gathering, which will feature Scripture readings, congregational hymns and music by the Augustana Chamber Singers and the Ascension Ringers handbell choir.

"Lessons and Carols is a sanctuary for the soul amidst the hustle and bustle of shopping and holiday parties," said Larry Peterson, campus ministries' music director.

Lessons and Carols is a tradition that began at Augustana more than 25 years ago. As Augustana's year-long sesquicentennial celebrations draw to a close, the service will be an especially meaningful opportunity to reflect on the enduring messages of hope and salvation that Christ's birth brings.

The readings for this year's service will be drawn from the classical Lessons and Carols service of the Anglican Church. The Christmas story, according to the Anglican tradition, begins with the story of the fall, which sets the context for God entering human form. From here, the Christmas narrative progresses to prophetic announcements of Christ's coming, the story of His birth in the manager and, finally, the more abstract enunciation of His place as "the Light of all people" in John 1:1.

Between the readings, the Augustana Chamber Singers and Ascension Ringers will perform a variety of traditional hymns and other Christmas arrangements. The service also will include several congregational hymns led by Larry Peterson. At the end of the service, audience members will be invited to sing "Silent Night" by candlelight, one of the evening's most cherished traditions.

Augustana's handbell choir is under Larry Peterson's direction. The Chamber Singers is a small a cappella choral ensemble directed by Dr. Jon Hurty of the music department. A low brass group also will perform as a part of the evening's festivities; the musicians will play in the lobby outside the chapel after the 4 p.m. service concludes and before the 8 p.m. service begins.

Lessons and Carols does not require reservations. Those interested in attending, however, are advised to arrive 20 to 30 minutes before the service begins because seating is limited.