Williams College to Present Annual Christmas Service of Lessons and Carols

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., November 19, 2013—The annual Christmas Service of Lessons and Carols at Williams College will be held at 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 7 and 8 in Thompson Memorial Chapel.The identical services feature choral music by the Williams Concert and Chamber Choirs, congregational singing of carols, and the traditional reading of the biblical Christmas story.

There is no admission charge for the services, but all are encouraged to bring an item of non-perishable canned or packaged food for local emergency food pantries.

The Williams Concert and Chamber Choirs will perform an array under the direction of Brad Wells, director of choral/vocal activities. Following on from their acclaimed November concert of choral works by Icelandic composers, the Choirs will perform several haunting and harmonically rich Icelandic Christmas pieces at the service. And, as always, the congregation will have the opportunity to join in singing many beloved traditional carols. Organist Edwin Lawrence will be joined by several organ students in playing the prelude, which begins at 3:40 p.m.

Students, faculty, and staff from the college as well as members of the local community will read the traditional “lessons” derived from the biblical Christmas story. The Rev. Rick Spalding, Chaplain to the College, will deliver a meditation; and Fr. Gary Caster, Catholic chaplain, will serve as liturgist. As always, a free-will offering of money will be received at the conclusion of the services, in support of local and international charities.

The service, which is modeled on the traditional Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols first held on Christmas Eve in 1918 at King’s College Chapel in Cambridge, England, has been described as one that “presents the Christmas story in an ambiance of mystery, splendor, hope, and joy.” The Service of Lessons and Carols has been a beloved holiday tradition at the college since the 1960s.

Parking is available in the lot behind Thompson Memorial Chapel, on Hopkins Hall Drive.


For building locations on the Williams campus, please consult the map outside the driveway entrance to the Security Office located in Hopkins Hall on Main Street (Rte. 2), next to the Thompson Memorial Chapel, or call the Office of Communications (413) 597-4277. The map can also be found on the web at www.williams.edu/map

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