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A Christmas Service of Lessons & Carols, Thompson Memorial Chapel

Sat, December 4th, 2021
7:00 pm

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The annual Christmas Service of Lessons and Carols at Williams College will be held in Thompson Memorial Chapel. The service features choral music by the Williams Concert and Chamber Choirs, and the traditional reading of the biblical Christmas story.

This year, because of COVID restrictions, Lessons and Carols will be smaller than its pre-COVID grandeur. Please come for a quiet and reflective evening of Christmas and seasonal music performed by students from the Williams Concert and Chamber Choirs under the direction of Noah Horn, Visiting Artist in Residence and Director of Choral Activities.

Also, due to the pandemic, Lessons and Carols will be held for one evening only. At 50% capacity, Thompson Memorial Chapel will allow 300 attendees.  Griffin 3 will be open to seat an additional 60 people who’ll be able to enjoy the concert via a live YouTube feed. Unfortunately, congregational singing won’t be allowed this year.

There is no admission charge for the service but all are encouraged to bring an item of non-perishable canned or packaged food for local emergency food pantries. Collection boxes will be in the rear of Thompson and in Griffin 3.

Students, faculty and staff from the College, and members of the local community read the traditional “lessons” derived from the biblical Christmas story. Catholic Chaplain Bridget Power will offer A Prayer for the World and Chaplain to the College, the Rev. Valerie Bailey Fischer will offer a meditation on Luke 2. A free-will offering of money is received at the conclusion of the service. This year, the offering will go to support the work of the Berkshire Immigrant Center, who is partnering with Jewish Family Services to support resettling a group of Afghan refugees in Berkshire County.

Immediately following the service, all are welcome to an informal reception with tea and holiday cookies held upstairs in Paresky Center, outside the Chaplains’ Office in the Henze Lounge.

The service, modeled on the traditional Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols first held on Christmas Eve in 1918 at King’s College Chapel in Cambridge, England, has been described as one that “presents the Christmas story in an ambiance of mystery, splendor, hope and joy.”  The Service of Lessons and Carols has been a beloved holiday tradition at Williams since the 1960’s.

Important Notice: Lessons and Carols is open to all. To attend, everyone must wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status. Attendees must show either a Williams ID, or vaccination card to enter the venue. Venues are restricted to 50% capacity for now.

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