The Northwestern State University Chamber Choir will present a candlelight service of “Lessons and Carols” Tuesday, Dec. 4 at 7:30 p.m. at the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception at 145 Church St. in Natchitoches. Admission is free and open to the public. Dr. Nicholaus B. Cummins will conduct the Chamber Choir. This is the 28th consecutive year the NSU Chamber Choir has presented this service.
The “Lessons and Carols” is a service based upon a century-old tradition established at Kings College, Cambridge, in England, where it is performed every Christmas Eve to standing room only crowds and broadcast worldwide on the BBC. “Lessons and Carols” consists of nine lessons, readings for both the Old and New Testament of the Bible, all related to the Advent and birth of Christ. Following each lesson, the choir singing a text that relates to each of the readings. During the carols, altar servers light a variety of candles, which remain lit throughout the service. Gradually, the church is transformed from darkness into light as the Service concludes in a festive recessional.
The premier vocal ensemble at NSU, the 36-member Chamber Choir is comprised of the top vocalists at Northwestern State. Each December, the Chamber Choir performs their “Lessons and Carols” service at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, which has become a Natchitoches tradition. The ensemble has sung at state ACDA and LMEA conventions, performed by invitation at Carnegie Hall, and recently placed second in the Laurea Mundi Budapest Choral Competition earlier this year.
The choir has been invited to participate in the Ave Verum International Choral Competition in Baden, Austria on May 31-June 2, 2019. NSU’s Chamber Choir was one of 10 choirs chosen from around the world along with ensembles from countries including Russia, Slovakia, Czechia, Ukraine, Hungary and Italy. Northwestern State’s ensemble was the only choir from the U.S. selected for the competition.