Rockhurst Rings in Holidays with Ceremony of Lessons and CarolsDecember 4, 2013

Rockhurst’s 30-voice student choruses and instrumental ensemble of strings, winds, percussion and piano under the direction of Timothy L. McDonald, Ph.D., will perform the 23rd  annual Ceremony of Lessons and Carols at 7 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7, in St. Francis Xavier Church.

Rockhurst’s is one of many choirs all over the world that embraces the Christmas tradition began nearly 100 years ago in King’s College Chapel at the University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England. The chapel choir introduced “Ceremony of Nine Lessons and Carols,” which interlaced specifically chosen music with biblical readings to tell the Christmas story.

Chosen to complement the biblical readings, this year’s musical selections will include the sublime medieval plainchant “Creator alme siderum” and the program’s signature finale, the hauntingly beautiful 21st-century setting of “O Holy Night.” The program will also feature the French “Pat-a-Pan” and “Masters in This Hall” and the Celtic dance-like “Bethlehem Morning” and “Shepherd’s Joy.”

Admission to the concert is free, but a donation of a nonperishable food item, a child’s toy or a grooming product is requested. Last year, hundreds of neighborhood families benefited from these contributions.

Following the concert, a candlelight procession will lead audience members from the church to a complimentary post-concert reception in Massman Hall on the Rockhurst University campus.

St. Francis Xavier Church is located at 1001 E. 52nd St. in Kansas City, Mo. Be a part of this season’s joyous holiday tradition and register your attendance by calling 816-501-4828.

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