A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols

Friday, December 6, 2019 8:00PM
Glenn Auditorium

A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols
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A Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols

Heralding the beginning of the Christmas season, this candlelit choral concert has been a warm and welcoming Atlanta tradition for 84 years.

The Emory tradition established in 1935 continues with choral music from the Emory Concert Choir and University Chorus, and scripture with readings by special guests from the Emory community.

*Please note: This concert takes place at Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church*

Based on the traditional service at King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, England, the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols was drawn from sources ancient and modern by E. W. Benson, Bishop of Truro in 1880, and has been observed at Emory University since 1935. Performance of Christmas music by an Emory University Chorus has been a tradition since 1925, when it began under the guidance of legendary choral music director Malcolm H. Dewey. For six years the Glee Club presented its Christmas program at First Presbyterian Church in downtown Atlanta. After the completion of Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church, the Glee Club moved the program to the Emory campus in 1931 and adopted the Nine Lessons and Carols format for the service in 1935. Dewey remained as director until 1957.
In 1953 Emory College became coeducational, and this brought the first performance of the Women’s Chorale in 1955. The chorale joined in the Christmas service in 1960. William L. Lemonds became director of choral music in 1963 and introduced the singing of Once in Royal David’s City as the processional hymn. This has become one of many cherished traditions associated with the Christmas concert. Combining men’s and women’s voices since 1990, the University Chorus continues this long-standing Emory custom with its 94th annual service of Christmas music in 2019.