Follow Christ, Lead the Way

The Ohio Christian University Music Department shared an impactful message of Christ’s birth in its annual Christmas concert, Festival of Carols. The concert presented this story of glory to audiences of almost 500 on both Dec. 7 and 8 in the Ministry & Performing Arts Center. The performance is the university’s Christmas gift to the community with the hope that it blesses all who hear.

Dr. Dione Bennett served as the creative director for the evening and developed the theme of “Night of Glory” through the program of performances. The stage was also designed to capture the essence of the evening with warm, white strands of lights dangling from the ceiling creating the impression of a starry night. Two wide silvery ribbons also draped from the ceiling with a large star hanging above the orchestra.

“When you walked in it was like yeah, something spectacular is going to happen,” said Bennett, who serves as Ohio Christian’s director of choral & vocal activities. “I think of the music as a story… it’s just a feeling to how the keys go together. It’s a creative process, but it’s a divine creative process.”

The concert had several performances from members of the Ohio Christian University Chorale and the Circleville Choral Society. The orchestra was conducted by Professor Erin Meissner and consisted of both student musicians and local musicians. The blending of local and student talent is an enriching experience for Ohio Christian students who get the opportunity to serve with professionals with different backgrounds in a large performance setting.

The concert was preceded by a piano and harp prelude and was officially opened by a welcome and prayer from President Dr. Jon Kulaga. The concert included performances of worshipful pieces such as “Night of Glory” and “When the Christmas Baby Cries,” and included the humorous but much loved “Ding a Ding.” The audience also had the opportunity to participate, joining in the singing of “Angels We Have Heard on High,” “Joy to the World,” and “Silent Night.” The closing performance was a beautiful rendition of “We Have Come to Worship Jesus.”

“It was incredible, it was nothing short of amazing,” Bennett said. “I mean, I knew what was supposed to happen, and I was like ‘wow.’”

Many of those in attendance expressed a deep satisfaction with the event and could be heard afterwards discussing their favorite parts. Even many of those who participated in the concert and several faculty and staff members were deeply impacted.

“They’ve all started writing in and saying things,” Bennett said. “There were people who said, ‘thank you for just letting us be part of such a worshipful event’. I can only say, ‘to God be the glory.’”

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