JBU Cathedral Choir To Present 57th Annual Christmas Candlel

Siloam Springs, Ark (November 18, 1999) - The John Brown University Cathedral Choir will perform at the 57th annual Christmas Candlelight Services on Dec. 9, 10, and 11, in the Cathedral of the Ozarks on the JBU campus. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. for general seating, and the performances begin at 7:30 p.m. All performances are free and open to the public.

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, white lights, wreaths, and green boughs that create a festive atmosphere. Each year the audience is filled to capacity with visitors from Bella Vista, Fayetteville, Springdale, and Oklahoma.

Early arrivers are greeted by a traditional organ and brass prelude at 7 p.m. The Cathedral Choir, directed by Paul Smith, then presents a variety of Christmas choral selections that tell the story of the Christ Child, ranging in style from familiar Christmas melodies to African music. The University Chorus will present selections including a "four-hands at the piano" arrangement of "The First Noel" with Pachabel’s "Canon" and a Christmas spiritual entitled "Sweet Little Jesus Baby." Selections from the Cathedral Choir include John Leavitt’s "Hodie!" , "African Noel", and "Jesus, Jesus, Rest Your Head". Dr. Elizabeth Cochran, the newest member of the voice faculty at JBU, is the highlighted soloist, performing "The Wussex Carol." The musical selections are interspersed with Christmas reflections and Scripture readings.

"We seek to create an atmosphere of worship and try to stay away from the trap of entertainment substitutes," said Cathedral Choir director Paul Smith. "I believe that people are entertained to death and long to be led in worship that truly allows them to reflect on the birth of our Savior."

The worship atmosphere of the candlelight service lends itself to quietness. Therefore, JBU respectfully requests that guests consider not bringing small children to this particular program.

Since 1919, John Brown University, a nondenominational Christian university, has provided top-quality, Christ-centered higher education. The Cathedral Choir was established in 1942; since that time they have traveled extensively and developed a national reputation for excellence. The choir has performed often with the North Arkansas Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Paul B. Smith, conductor and associate professor of music at John Brown University is enjoying his thirteenth year with the choir. Quite active as a professional singer, Mr. Smith most recently has performed the baritone role in the Messiah with the Wichita Oratorio Society and chamber orchestra.

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