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Hendrix College Choir Candlelight Carol Services set for Dec. 5-8, 19-20 in Conway, Batesville, North Little Rock


CONWAY, Ark. (November 15, 2019) – For more than half a century, the Hendrix College Choir’s Candlelight Carol Service has held a special place in the hearts of many throughout Arkansas and the broader Hendrix community. The 2019 Candlelight Carol Services will continue this beloved tradition while also introducing new music to those who attend. Services in Greene Chapel on the Hendrix College campus will take place Dec. 5-7 at 7:30 p.m., and Dec. 8 at 4 p.m.; reservations for the on-campus services may be made online at beginning at 9 a.m. Nov. 22. All performances are free and open to the public, though limited seating makes reservations required for the on-campus services. 

This year, the choir will make tour stops Dec. 19 at First United Methodist Church of Batesville and Dec. 20 at First United Methodist Church of North Little Rock. Both tour services begin at 7:30 p.m. and do not require reservations.

In-person attendance is not the only option for those wishing to experience the Hendrix College Choir Candlelight Carol Service. The service will be streamed live from Greene Chapel at on Friday, Dec. 6 and Saturday, Dec. 7.

The Candlelight Carol Service at Hendrix 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 the lessons change yearly, and offer opportunities for reflection, exultation, and celebration. Selections for this year’s service include works by Abbie Betinis (b. 1980), Ola Gjeilo (b. 1978), Daniel Pinkham (1923-2006), and Elizabeth Poston (1905-1987), among others.

One of this year’s musical selections is the piece chosen as the winner of the 2019 Candlelight Carol Competition, A Cradle Song, composed by John Madden of Newchurch, Wales. Madden’s piece, a thoughtful and beautiful work for choir and organ based on poetry by William Blake, was chosen from more than 65 submissions. A committee including Dr. Gene Peterson (California Baptist University), Dr. Elizabeth Swanson (University of Colorado-Boulder), and choir member Michael Crippen Jr. ’20 chose the winner. 

Now in its fifth year, the competition welcomes composers of any age or nationality to submit works for consideration, and offers a $1,000 award. Past winners of the competition, which began in 2015, include A Christmas Lullaby by Edmund Jolliffe, Behold, I Come by Janet Wheeler, and On Christmas Night All Christians Sing by Charles West. Information regarding next year’s competition will be posted in February.

“We enjoy the ability to offer new carols for the Christmas season, while honoring this long-running tradition that connects generations of alumni to Hendrix,” said Dr. Andrew Morgan, conductor of the Hendrix College Choir.

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

Photo by Nelson Chenault, Dec. 2, 2018