Bells and voices to ring in holiday season for Fairmont community

Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Fairmont State University Community Chorus, the Cambridge Handbell Choir and the Children’s Choir of the First Presbyterian Church of Fairmont will present a traditional Service of Lessons and Carols at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 3, at the First Presbyterian Church.

The program is free and open to the public. A goodwill offering will be collected.

The service will consist of nine scripture readings that trace the story of the fall of humanity, prophecies of the coming Messiah, and the birth of Jesus. Musical selections will be interspersed throughout the program, including "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel," "Joy to the World," "O Come All Ye Faithful" and other well-known Christmas carols.

Readers for the service will include Fairmont State University interim president Stephen Jones, School of Fine Arts dean Robert Mild, Fairmont Mayor Tom Mainella and other community leaders.

“First Presbyterian Church is pleased to be in partnership with Fairmont State University for our sixth consecutive year, as we present a worship service that brings different members of our community together to celebrate the Christmas season,” said the Rev. Elise Neal, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church. “I look forward to hearing the many talented voices and the beautiful ringing of the Cambridge handbells. It will truly put you in the Christmas spirit.”

The FSU Community Chorus is directed by Sam Spears, director of choral and vocal activities at FSU. The Cambridge Handbell Choir is led by John Morrison, Director of Music at First Presbyterian and FSU faculty member. The Children’s Choir is directed by Betty Pat Lee. The ensembles will perform both together and separately. John Morrison will accompany the service on First Presbyterian’s majestic pipe organ.

The format of the Service of Lessons and Carols dates back to 1880, when it was first instituted at the Cathedral of Truro in England. It became quite popular among Anglican congregations, and it has since been adapted and used by churches around the world. The Fairmont service is modeled somewhat after the very well-known Service of Lessons and Carols presented by the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge. The service has been held yearly at King’s College since 1918. It is broadcast to millions of people around the world each Christmas Eve.

For more information about the service, please contact Sam Spears at 304-367-4118 or Sam.Spears@fairmontstate.edu.