Students and faculty prepare for annual Christmas program

by Damon Wenig business manager

Since 1954, the MBI music department has been ushering in the holiday season with a festive Christmas time tradition — Candlelight Carols. Each year, Candlelight Carols features the Moody Chorale, the Men’s Collegiate Choir, the Symphonic Band, the Women’s Concert Choir and Bell Ensemble and the Candlelight Carols Drama Company.

Thousands of people fill Moody Church to catch the sparkle of the season expressed through a variety of music, drama, multimedia and lighting.

The tradition started nearly 60 years ago as a small caroling event to showcase some of the group’s seasonal music. As each year came, crowds grew, and so did the production.

Today, these three show productions draw more than 10,000 people annually from all around the country. It is also aired on Moody Radio several times over the holiday season for millions of listeners.

In the last several years, the music department has expanded the creativity of the production by adding drama and various forms of multimedia. This year’s drama, “This Changes Everything,” is an original work written by communications professor Kelli Worrall.

The story is set in December of 1941 at a radio studio in New York City and follows a radio drama cast as they produce their annual Christmas show. While the characters are surrounded by the turmoil of World War II, they share their radio show about the nativity from the perspective of the people staying at the crowded inn. “The script sheds light in a broken world of chaos,” said Josh Cirre, sophomore communications major.

However, Candlelight Carols is more than anyone of these single expressions of creativity. Betty-Ann Lynerd, Women’s Concert Choir conductor and music department professor, said, “Candlelight Carols is not solely a music program. It’s not a drama, dance or special events program. It is an amalgamation of components that come together. This is why it is so unique.”

To professor Ronald Denison, Candlelight Carols has two prime purposes: “It showcases the gifting and dedication of our student body, and it clearly presents the gospel in a non-threatening way.”

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