North Park University Invites You to Celebrate Advent with Lessons and Carols

Festival of Lessons and Carols
The Lessons and Carols service will include performances by North Park University's University Choir, Chamber Singers, Gospel Choir Touring Ensemble, Women's Chorale, and Lessons and Carols Orchestra.

School of Music ensembles joined by community youth musicians

CHICAGO (November 27, 2013) — North Park University will present its popular Festival of Lessons and Carols Sunday, December 8, at Our Lady of Mercy Church in Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood. The event, themed “O Holy Night!” will feature more than 200 musicians from the University, the People’s Music School Youth Orchestras, and the Chicago Children’s Choir – Albany Park Division.

Drawing from an Advent tradition that originated in 19th-Century England, services of lessons and carols pair Scripture readings with Advent and Christmas music and carols. “The annual Festival of Lessons and Carols is a highlight for the North Park University community, and the School of Music looks forward each year to bringing together our ensembles in such a joyous way to celebrate this special season,” said Dr. Craig Johnson, dean of the University’s School of Music.

This year’s festival theme is one of reverence and awe, said Dr. Julia Davids, the Stephen J. Hendrickson Assistant Professor of Music. “From the prophecy, to the birth of Jesus, through the arrival of the Wise Men, people who attend can expect a musical journey through Christmas,” she said.

North Park University students, faculty, and staff, along with members of Our Lady of Mercy Church, will present Scripture readings. Performers will include University Organist Margaret Martin and University musicians in five ensembles: the University Choir, Chamber Singers, Gospel Choir Touring Ensemble, Women’s Chorale, and the North Park Lessons and Carols Orchestra.

In addition, student musicians from the People’s Music School YOURS Orchestra at Hibbard Elementary School and the Chicago Children’s Choir – Albany Park Division, will join University musicians for the service. “We are honored to be able to collaborate with the Chicago Children’s Choir and the People’s Music School Youth Orchestras the for the event,” Johnson said.

“This is a wonderful event that brings the community of Albany Park together,” said Youth Orchestra Albany Park Director Carolyn Sybesma. “It is an enriching experience for our YOURS Orchestra students to work together with North Park and to engage in their community through music. In addition, the event gives our students the opportunity to get to know college students that live in their neighborhood, which raises personal aspirations and goals for their futures.”

Musical selections will include well-known songs, as well as pieces by contemporary composers. Vocal pieces will be sung in English, Latin, and Spanish. Among the program’s highlights will be the Gospel Choir Touring Ensemble’s collaboration with the Chicago Children’s Choir on “Jesus, Oh What a Wonderful Child,” and a combined performance of “O Holy Night” featuring all of the ensembles and orchestra together.

The Festival of Lessons and Carols is presented by the University as a free event open to the community. However, because of limited seating, attendees are asked to reserve general admission tickets online. More than 800 people attended in 2012.

The event will begin at 4:00 pm. The Chicago Children’s Choir and People’s Music School YOURS String Quartet from Hibbard Elementary School will perform a recital at 3:30 pm, prior to the festival service. Our Lady of Mercy Church is located at 4432 North Troy Street, Chicago, approximately one mile from the North Park University campus. Parking is available in the two church lots and on the street.

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