C. Michael Hawn, University Distinguished Professor of Church Music and director of the Sacred Music Program in SMU’s Perkins School of Theology, is planning a change-up for this year’s Christmas Worship Service. The annual service takes place at 4 and 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 2, 2010 in the University’s Perkins Chapel.
The popular service, usually celebrated in the tradition of A Service of Nine Lessons and Carols since 1992, has been modified this year for what Hawn considers a “fresh approach” to an annual SMU tradition.
“This year’s services offer a tapestry of song and prayer on the theme ‘and on earth peace…’ with selections from around the world,” Hawn says. He notes that three of the four canticles from the book of Luke mention peace.
“Drawing especially from the Canticles of Zechariah (Luke 1:68-79) and of the Angels (Luke 2:14),” Hawn adds, “the choral and congregational song will view the Advent season through various perspectives on peace.”
As for the changes, Hawn noted that the Nine Lessons program had become “predictable” and that it was time for something new.
“It’s going to have more of a theological theme this year rather than the ‘Nine Lessons’ structure, which has done well for us since 1992 but seems a little outdated now. It will still have the same feel this year, but I don’t think it will be as predictable this time.”
Musicians for the service include the Seminary Singers, directed by Hawn, and the Meadows Chorale, directed by Pamela Elrod, director of choral activities in SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts. Christopher S. Anderson, associate professor of sacred music, will serve as the organist for these services.
Guest instrumentalists including a marimba ensemble, percussion, and trumpets will join the singers in presenting music by Bernstein, Britten, Hogan and Bach as well as composers from Argentina, Taiwan, Israel, Palestine and Zimbabwe.
The worship services are free and open to the public, with free parking available on Bishop Boulevard.