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
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 bit.ly/hdxcandle2018 beginning November 19.
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 www.hendrix.edu.