by JOHN JACKSON, Staff Writer
Most Manhattan College students would be hard pressed to say they haven’t seen posters, signs, and online advertising for the school’s annual Festival of Lessons and Carols. This event has been highly anticipated by the college and was finally held on Sunday, December 5 in the Chapel of De La Salle and His Brothers. The Prelude of the show began at 4:00 p.m. and the Lessons and Carols began at 4:30.
The event was conducted by the college’s Performing Arts ensembles: the Manhattan College Singers, Orchestra, Jazz Band and the ManhaTONES. Around 100 students participated and they were led by Andrew Bauer who is Director of Music and Coordinator of Performing Arts.
This was a big production and took many weeks of practice. Senior Rebecca Taylor, who is the president of the orchestra, explained the amount of time goes into the performance.
“We practice once a week for the whole semester,” Taylor said. “As far as music for Lessons and Carols, you probably spend half the semester working on that.”
Taylor has been part of the Lessons and Carols since her freshman year. While she is used to the whole production from her prior three years, this year includes an uptick in responsibilities for her.
“Now that I’m president this year,” Taylor said. “I have more responsibility as far as making sure the orchestra is ready and together, but I’m pretty used to the Lessons and Carols.”
Some of the musical choices were “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “People Look East,” “Carol of the Star,” “The First Noel” and “What Sweeter Music.” They also performed “Dixit and Magnificat” by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, as well as “Believe” from “The Polar Express.”
“Silent Night” was played towards the end with the lights off and members of the audience holding lit candles.
The Lessons consisted of readings from the Bible. Verses were read from the book of Isaiah and the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.
Richard Satterlee, vice president of student life, gave a reflection of his life being born during Christmas time.
Father Maurice Moreau, O.F.M. Cap. and visiting chaplain from Sacred Heart Church in Yonkers, opened and closed the evening in prayer.
A change this year compared to the past were the ushers. Usually the ushers would be provided from the college’s dance team. They were successfully able to find replacements however, with the help of Student Government and Student Government President Dorian Persaud.
“Usually in the past we’d have the dancers be our ushers,” Siobhan Conner, treasurer of the singers club said. “But we had to get new people, so Student Government, Dorian, helped us out with that.”
Considering the size of the event and the amount of work put into it, it may seem like a daunting task for those apart of it. However, they also have a lot of fun with it.
“Rehearsal is a lot of fun,” Conner said when asked about her favorite part of the event. “But I think it’s working with Andy Bauer, who is our director of performing arts, but also he’s our conductor. He does voice lessons with us and he does vocal warm ups beforehand. And he really cares about the group and really listens to our suggestions and really helps us to be the best that we can be in the way that we want to be.”