Annual Christmas Service of Lessons and Carols at Williams College

Media contact: Noelle Lemoine, communications assistant; tele: (413) 597-4277; email: [email protected]

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., November 20, 2012—The annual Christmas Service of Lessons and Carols at Williams College will be held at 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, December 1 and 2, in Thompson Memorial Chapel.  As always, the identical services will feature choral music by the college’s Concert and Chamber Choirs, congregational singing of familiar carols, and the traditional reading of the biblical Christmas story.

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

The service offers a rich array of seasonal music.  The repertoire of the Williams Concert and Chamber Choirs includes arrangements of familiar carols and settings of Christmas texts spanning four centuries—from Tomas Luis de Victoria to William Walton—all conducted by Katie Gardiner, interim director.  Organist Edwin I. Lawrence will be joined by his undergraduate organ students in playing the Prelude (which begins at 3:40 p.m.).

Christmas poetry, prose, and prayers round out the service.  Students, faculty, and staff from the college and 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 each service, this year for the benefit of relief efforts in the aftermath of hurricane Sandy and also for a student-organized international humanitarian venture.

The service, 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 ambience of mystery, splendor, hope and joy.”  The Service of Lessons and Carols has been a beloved holiday tradition at Williams since the 1960’s.

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

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