Candlelight Carol

Candlelight Carol Home

History of the Candlelight Carol Service 

In 1963, 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 here).

Hendrix College Candlelight Carol Competition

We are pleased to announce that composer John Madden, of Newchuch, Wales, has been selected as the winner of this year's Carol Competition. Composers were asked to compose a new setting of William Blake's A Cradle Song, from his Songs of Innocence. Mr. Madden's setting of the poem was selected from over 65 submitted works by composers around the world. The committee who selected his piece included music major and Hendrix Choir tenor Michael Crippen, Jr., Dr. Andrew Morgan, Dr. Elizabeth Swanson (University of Colorado-Boulder), and Dr. Gene Peterson (California Baptist University). As in years past, the winning composer receives a $1,000.00 prize, plus up to $300.00 in travel reimbursements to attend a service performance. 

Past competition winners have included Behold, I Come by Janet Wheeler, Gentle Mary Laid Her Child by Alan MacMillan, and A Christmas Lullaby by Edmund Jolliffe. Competition judges in previous years have included Dr. Ryan Board (Pepperdine University), Dr. Deanna Joseph (Georgia State University), Dr. Stephen Caldwell (University of Arkansas), Dr. Dominick DiOrio (Indiana University), and Dr. Matthew Mehaffey (University of Minnesota).