History of the Candlelight Carol Service
In 1964, under the direction of Robert McGill, the Hendrix College Choir began presenting a service of lessons and carols, modeled after the annual Christmas Eve service at King's College in Cambridge, England. The Candlelight Carol Service has since become an important Hendrix tradition. Each year over 1,200 people attend one of the four on-campus performances during the last week of classes. Immediately following final exams, the Choir tours the region, performing the service at United Methodist churches in Arkansas and neighboring states. Repertoire featured in the Candlelight Carol Services changes yearly, and includes works from the 15th century to the present day.
Enthusiasts of organ music greatly enjoy the service, which features Hendrix College organist Timothy Allen performing works on our splendid two-manual organ, constructed in 1997 by Little Rock organ builders Nichols & Simpson, Inc. (you can read more about the instrument
We are pleased to announce the winner of the 2016 Candlelight Carol Competition: Gentle Mary Laid Her Child, by Connecticut composer Alan MacMillan. His carol will receive its premiere at the Candlelight services this December. Mr. MacMillan's work was selected from over 45 submissions. The selection committee included Dr. Karen Griebling and Dr. Andrew Morgan (both of Hendrix College), Bridget Yelk '17 (Hendrix music major), Dr. Matthew Mehaffey (University of Minnesota-Twin Cities), and Dr. Dominick DiOrio (Indiana University). For further information about the competition, please send your questions to
In 2015, Hendrix College launched the competition in order to give a world premiere at the Candlelight Carol Services each year. The inaugural competition had over 85 composers from three continents submitting works for consideration. Edmund Jolliffe, of London, was selected as the 2015 winner. His carol, A Christmas Lullaby, was premiered by the Hendrix Choir and was recently accepted for publication by Oxford University Press.