On the evening of Dec. 4, the Schola Cantorum Franciscana and Franciscan University Chorale performed their program “Advent Lessons and Carols” in Christ the King Chapel.
The evening was structured around nine “lessons” or readings from Scripture drawing from the Old Testament promises and prophecies of the coming Savior and the Gospel accounts of the birth of Christ. In between the readings were songs performed by the schola and chorale.
As attendees filed into the church at 7 p.m., they were treated to several prelude pieces by the Franciscan University Chamber Orchestra, and by the time the performance began, the chapel pews were filled with numbers far exceeding expectations and the number of available programs.
The audience was not disappointed by the evening’s performance. A lone voice opened the event with the first verse of “Once in Royal David’s City” before being joined by the full choir and eventually the organ and audience.
Highlights from the evening’s program included traditional carols “Ding! Dong! Merrily on High” and “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming,” Advent motet “Soon He Will Come,” Francis Poulenc’s polyphonic “Salve Regina” and African-American spiritual “O, Poor Little Jesus.”
The evening concluded with prayer and rousing renditions of “O Come, All Ye Faithful” and “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing.”
Junior Gwynne DiMarzio commented on the appropriateness of the Advent event, saying, “The Lessons and Carols was a beautiful way to reflect on and prepare for Christ’s coming.” She also loved the instrumental prelude pieces. “I was especially impressed with the Franciscan Chamber Orchestra, who I had never heard before.”
Junior Felicity Moran also enjoyed the performance and expressed her gratitude for the event: “Listening to the schola, especially during ‘O Come All Ye Faithful,’ was incredibly beautiful and uplifting. I’m so grateful the music department has events like this.”