News Center

2018 Candlelight Carol Services to Feature Two World Premieres

CONWAY, Ark. (November 12, 2018) – The 2018 Hendrix College Candlelight Carol Services will include the world premieres of two compositions. 

The first premiere is the winner of this year’s Candlelight Carol Competition, On Christmas Night All Christians Sing, composed by Charles West of Plymtree, England. West’s piece, a creative reworking of the well-known Sussex Carol, was chosen from more than 75 submissions. A committee including Dr. Miguel Felipe (University of Arizona), Dr. Ann Howard Jones (Professor Emerita, Boston University), and choir members Noah Adams ’19 and Blythe Bull ’19 made the selection. 

West studied classical and jazz piano at a young age, but went on to have a successful career in the medical profession and has renewed his passion for music since retiring. He now works as a composer and conducts two choirs in England. His music has been performed by choirs in the U.S., Czech Republic, Hong Kong, and England.

Now in its fourth year, the competition welcomes composers of any age or nationality to submit works for consideration, and offers a $1,000 award for the winner. Information regarding next year’s competition will be posted in February. Past winners of the competition, which began in 2015, include Gentle Mary Laid Her Child by Alan MacMillan, A Christmas Lullaby by Edmund Jolliffe, and Behold, I Come by Janet Wheeler.

“We look forward to continuing our tradition of offering new carols for the Christmas season,” said Dr. Andrew Morgan, conductor of the Hendrix College Choir.

The second premiere comes from Hendrix College’s organist, Timothy Allen: Love Came Down at Christmas, which the choir will sing after the ninth and final scripture lesson. Allen’s work incorporates poetry by A.E. Housman and Christina Rossetti in a musical setting that borrows from the Love Came Down hymn tune, while taking inspiration from the music of French composer Francis Poulenc (1899-1963). 

Since its inception more than half a century ago, the Hendrix Choir’s Candlelight Carol Service has come to hold a special place in the hearts of many throughout the Hendrix community. The service shares many features with the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols celebrated each Christmas Eve since 1918 at King’s College in Cambridge, England. The nine lessons, taken from Old and New Testaments, weave a narrative from Adam’s fall into sin, through the prophecies of Christ’s coming, and culminating in Christ’s birth. The carols performed between each lesson change yearly, and offer opportunities for reflection, exultation, and celebration. Additional selections for this year’s service include A Hymn to the Virgin by Benjamin Britten (1913-1976) and Lux Arumque by Eric Whitacre (b. 1970).

The 2018 Candlelight Carol Service will take place on campus in Greene Chapel November 29, 30, and December 1 at 7:30 p.m., and December 2 at 4 p.m. The choir will then make tour stops December 13 at First United Methodist Church of Bentonville, and December 14 at Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church in Little Rock. Both tour services begin at 7:30 p.m. All Candlelight Carol Services are free and open to the public, though reservations are required for the on-campus services. Reservations may be made online at   beginning November 19.

About Hendrix College

A private liberal arts college in Conway, Arkansas, Hendrix College consistently earns recognition as one of the country’s leading liberal arts institutions, and is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges. Its academic quality and rigor, innovation, and value have established Hendrix as a fixture in numerous college guides, lists, and rankings. Founded in 1876, Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. To learn more, visit