JBU Cathedral Choir to Present Annual Candlelight Service

Siloam Springs, Ark (November 27, 2000) — John Brown University Music Department will present the 58th annual Christmas Candlelight Service on Dec. 7, 8, and 9, in the Cathedral of the Ozarks on the JBU campus. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for general seating, and the service will begin at 7:30 p.m. All three services are free and open to the public.

Early arrivers are greeted by a traditional organ and brass prelude at 7 p.m. The Cathedral Choir, directed by Paul Smith, associate professor of music at JBU, will sing a variety of Christmas choral selections that tell the story of the Christ child, including several pieces from the Christmas portion of Handel’s Messiah. The Women’s Chorus will present selections including The Coventry Carol, Mary’s Little Boy Child with percussion and Gesu Bambino with flute. The musical selections are interspersed with Christmas reflections and Scripture readings.

The Christmas Candlelight Service is a community tradition that began in 1942, inaugurated by Cathedral Choir director Dr. Mabel Oieson. The service has been described as "JBU’s Christmas Card to Northwest Arkansas." The Cathedral of the Ozarks is decorated for the season with dozens of poinsettias, candles, wreaths, and green boughs that create a festive atmosphere. Each year the audience is filled to capacity with visitors from Bella Vista, Fayetteville, Springdale, Oklahoma and other parts of the country.

Smith, in his fourteenth year presenting the Candlelight Service, believes this is an opportunity that should not be missed. "We seek to create an atmosphere of worship and try to stay away from the trap of entertainment substitutes. I believe that people long to be led in worship that truly allows them to reflect on the birth of our Savior," said Smith. The worship atmosphere of the candlelight service lends itself to quietness. Therefore, JBU respectfully requests that guests consider not bringing young children to this particular program. Flash photography will not be allowed.

John Brown University is a private university with an enrollment of over 1,500 students from 46 states and 30 countries. JBU is a member of the Arkansas Independent Colleges and Universities as well as the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.