By Maureen Ragner
On the second-to-last week before the end of the semester, Trinity Chapel was shaken from top to bottom by strong voices and loud instruments proclaiming Christ’s birth.
As a yearly occurrence, the music brought people from all walks of life to Bethany’s campus to take in the festivities. They filled their ears with the joyous sounds of college students using their God-given gifts to thank him for what he has done, for not only those present, but for every soul on earth.
Christmas at Bethany was held Nov. 30-Dec. 4. Trinity Chapel was filled with choral, string and orchestral music following Christmas themes, and was accompanied with readings from the Bible that pertained to the celebration of Jesus’ birth.
The concert is a tradition of Bethany’s that has been around since the early 1930s. It has gone through some changes since its beginnings. Initially a choir-only concert took place in the old chapel, where the Bethany Bookstore is today, and the concert moved to Trinity Chapel in the mid-90s, when the Concert Band joined in the festivities. This was only possible because of the Ylvisaker Fine Arts Center, as well as Professor Dennis Marzolf ’s involvement with the choir and the Christmas at Bethany concert since the 1980s.
The concert and string bands came together this year for the pre-service music, which included such recognizable songs as Mannheim Steamroller’s rendition of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” and Handel’s “Overture to Messiah.”
“The Overture is my favorite,” said freshman Emily Van Asperen, “because it is complicated and majestic.”
The audience was invited to participate as well, with the included Christmas hymns. The choir, band and audience even performed two songs together at the beginning and end of the program, which has become an annual tradition: “O Come O Come Emmanuel” and “O Rejoice Ye Christians Loudly.”
“I love when we sing ‘O Rejoice’ every year,” said sophomore Diana Gilsrud. “I love it when the trumpets come in and everyone sings together.”
Not only do the performers have their own personal favorites to play and sing, but the audience members have their own favorites out of the performed pieces as well.
“It was glorious,” said Edgewood Resident Manager Paul Agenten. “‘Bell Carol’ was my favorite piece.”
As the halls fall silent and the end of the semester approaches, the sound of Christmas continues to ring in the ears of those who attended and performed at the traditional event.