Lessons and Carols 2020


By: Vicky Carrasquillo

It’s that time of year again! CUC’s Lessons and Carols is back, and it looks just slightly different than it has in past years. President Dawn opened up with a message to the audience at home about how Christmas will look differently for us this year and how it’s been difficult to get through these challenges this year brought us. Even though this year has been hard, celebrating the birth of Christ is what we need to bring us joy and this show is where we can all do that, even virtually. If you would like to donate to help make these virtual concerts happen, please visit www.cuchicago.edu/give. 

The Handbell Ensemble opened up the concert with “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and it was a beautiful and festive piece. Tables were lined up in front of the altar and everyone lined up around them and performed together, properly masked and distanced. They later performed “Angels We Have Heard on High.”

“I Saw Three Ships” was a piece that was for the organ and harp, having their own moment in the concert. It was a very pretty and flowy arrangement, and the two were a perfect combination for Christmas. 

“Procession” was performed by Laudate and Kapelle. Everyone was separated in the pews throughout the chapel with a few performers walking up to the altar during the performance. It was a very triumphant and moving piece, and everyone produced great sound even with masks on. 

Gillian Norris performed a very beautiful solo during “Once in Royal David’s City” that was performed by all of the choirs combined. It was nice to see everyone come together and have everyone’s voices fill the chapel with beautiful sound. I love that even during a pandemic, and everyone may not be physically close together and even with mask-wearing, it has not affected the sound of people singing throughout the chapel as you are still able to enjoy the sound of music. 

The first lesson was The Curse and Promise of Eden from Genesis 3, followed by “Adam Lay Ybounden” performed by the Schola Cantorum. They produced a mighty sound, given their masks as well, and everyone did a great job.

The second lesson was Promise to Abraham from Genesis 22, followed by “That Younge Child” by A Ceremony of Carols.

The Child Who Is The Prince of Peace from Isaiah 9 was the third lesson, followed by “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” from the Service of Lessons and Carols from 2016. A video clip of this past performance was shown and it was interesting to really see how different this concert looks today and how filled the chapel was with people in past years. 

The fourth lesson, The Glory of Little Bethlehem from Micah 5 was followed by “Away in a Manger” performed by Kapelle with a solo by Christina Ray. 

The fifth lesson, The Annunciation from Luke 1 was followed by “O Lord, How Shall I Meet You” performed by Resonanz. Every member of this group was dressed in black, and the group consisted of musicians and singers. Everyone was masked as well, and the masks that the performers are wearing are particularly interesting. Every singer, no matter what musical group you belonged to, had special masks where there was extra room in the mask so that the mask sticks out and you have the room to take breaths and be able to sing without having something pressed up to your face so closely. 

The sixth lesson, The Holy Birth, from Luke 2 was followed by Mannerchor’s performance of “Von Himmel Hoch.” 

The Chamber Orchestra then performed a beautiful “Silent Night.”

The seventh lesson, The Shepherds from Luke 2, was followed by a clip of the 2018 Service of Lessons and Carols performance of “While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night.” 

The eighth lesson, The Wise Men from Matthew 2, was followed by Schola Cantorum’s performance of “The Three Kings” with a solo by Peter Stigdon. 

The last lesson was The Word Made Flesh from John 1, followed by the Chamber Orchestra’s performance of “The Holy Boy.” 

“O Come, All Ye Faithful” was a clip from the 2019’s Service of Lessons and Carols. This was the last of the old performance clips, which was a really nice addition to this concert to be able to show people who have never been to this concert before, what it looked like in the past. The chapel is filled with so many people from the CUC community and it’s a time where we all come together and celebrate the birth of Christ. 

The last piece, “Noel, Noel” was performed by all of the choirs as everyone came together for the finale of Lessons and Carols this year. Everyone was spaced out and held candles and sang to each other. This year was a very special concert that I’m sure no one will forget.