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Annual "Service of Lessons and Carols" features readings, choral anthems, and carols with a candle lighting ceremony, December 6, 2009.

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY—The annual “Service of Lessons and Carols,” a service of readings, choral anthems, and congregational carols, that culminates in a candle lighting ceremony, will be held at Vassar College in the Vassar Chapel on Sunday, December 6. This popular event, free and open to the public, will begin at 7:00pm. A free will offering will be taken to support Dutchess Outreach of Poughkeepsie, via the college's "Community Works" campaign (see http://communityworks.vassar.edu/). The doors will open at 6:30pm, with seating on a first-come, first-served basis.

College chaplain Samuel Speers said: “We encourage people to arrive early to this very popular event, which usually fills the almost 1000-seat Chapel to capacity.”

The program, sponsored by Vassar College Office of Religious and Spiritual Life and the Department of Music, will feature the Vassar College Choir, Vassar College Women’s Chorus, and the Cappella Festiva Chamber and Treble Choir. Singers from the Vassar Community will come together with these groups to form the Lessons and Carols Choir, an ensemble of 150 singers.
 
The featured soloist will be tenor Nathan Carlisle, a member of the Metropolitan Opera Chorus. The choirs are under the direction of Christine R. Howlett, assistant professor of music and director of choral activities at Vassar; and alumna Susan Bialek ’86, music teacher at Dutchess Day School in Millbrook, NY.
 
College organist and music faculty member Gail Archer will play the Gress-Miles organ. Archer is also the director of the music program at Barnard College, conductor of the Barnard-Columbia Chorus, and a member of the faculty at Manhattan School of Music.
 
Vassar students, and members of the faculty, administration, and staff will give the Advent and Christmas scriptural readings.
 
Two of the readings will be poetic selections—one from Thomas Merton, and the other, by Eamon Grennan, emeritus professor of English. Grennan an Irish poet, born in Dublin, and the prize-winning author of ten collections of poetry, will read his new poem, “Still Life with Christmas Decorations.”

About the Sponsors

The Office of Religious and Spiritual Life

The Office of Religious and Spiritual Life (RSL) helps students integrate lives of passionate commitment, embodied practice, and intellectual critique at Vassar and beyond. The RSL programs articulate a lively public role for religious imagination and ensure that opportunities for spiritual and democratic formation are part of the demanding and creative education Vassar offers.

The Department of Music

Music has occupied a place of prominence at Vassar College since its founding, in its curriculum, faculty, student activities, and facilities. Formed in 1865, the Department of Music offers an extensive program encompassing opportunities for majors and non-majors to explore performance, composition, history, and theory in depth. Students are encouraged to gain a broad perspective in several or all of these areas. With a student-to-faculty ratio of approximately eleven to one, and an average class size of 15, the department is able to support individual students as they work to realize their full musical potential.
 
Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations or information on accessibility should contact Campus Activities Office at (845) 437-5370. Without sufficient notice, appropriate space and/or assistance may not be available. Directions to the Vassar campus are available at http://www.vassar.edu/directions.
 
Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Thursday, November 19, 2009