2010 Christmas Worship Service offers a fresh approach to an SMU tradition

Stock photo of a Christmas wreathC. 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theme this year rather than the ‘Nine Lessons’ structure, which has done well for us since 1992 but seems a little outdated now.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.

For more information, visit the Perkins website or contact Michael Hawn, 214-768-2348.

Beloved traditions kick off SMU holiday season

Celebration of Lights

SMU welcomes the holiday season with the Student Foundation’s annual Celebration of Lights at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 2 on the University’s main quad. More than 100,000 decorative lights will fill the trees and luminarias will line the sidewalks during a night of caroling and a holiday performance by SMU’s Voices of Inspiration. In addition, President R. Gerald Turner will follow a decades-old tradition of reading the Christmas story from the New Testament. A reception in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom will follow the lighting of the SMU Christmas tree.

On Dec. 6, SMU’s Perkins School of Theology offers its traditional Christmas Service of Lessons and Carols in Perkins Chapel at two different times: 4 p.m and 8 p.m. Originating in a cathedral in Cornwall, England, in 1888, the service is the retelling through scripture and song of the story of redemption through Jesus Christ. Performers include the Perkins Seminary Singers led by Michael Hawn, director of sacred music; and the Meadows Women’s Ensemble conducted by Pamela Elrod, director of choral activities. Christopher Anderson, associate professor of sacred music, will serve as organist. Music includes pieces from Western and world music traditions as well as selections from Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols.