November 28, 2023
By Camryn Manning, Opinions Editor
On Dec. 5, Ouachita musicians will bring their 25th annual “Service of Lessons and Carols” to the stage, where the great mystery of Christ’s incarnation in Christmas will be told through scripture and song. The Ouachita Singers, percussion ensemble members, flute choir, an Irish band, chamber chorus and faculty choir will be performing in this special event directed by Dr. Ian Aipperspach.
Aipperspach finds great favor and value in the event, especially with its ties to a spiritual belief.
“For me, it’s one of my favorite services of the Christmas season,” Aipperspach said. “It reminds me of who we are, whose we are and why we do any of this.”
The service will walk through the story of the Bible and how Christ came to die for all.
“It’s a service where we hear the Scriptures of prophecy and their fulfillment,” Aipperspach said. “First of the coming of Christ, then the birth of Christ and then his life and ministry. Finally, we talk about what we call the second advent of Christ, which is the return of Christ when he comes again to take us home to glory the final time.”
It will go into as much detail as in discussing the fall of man in the story of Adam and Eve, the promise given to Abraham, the prophecy of Isaiah, the appearance of Gabriel to Mary and Christ’s birth, life and death.
“We hear all of that in song,” Aipperspach said. “It culminates in what is called the great mystery of the incarnation, discussed in John 1, ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.’ We have the reminder of our hope, of our joy, of our salvation in Christ and then the return of Christ. We hear it all in scripture and songs sung by the Ouachita Singers and accompanying ensembles.”
Something new this year is the addition of a faculty and staff choir to the event.
“They are singing two numbers,” Aipperspach said. “It’s really neat to see that the enthusiasm that they have reflects that they want to be here and want to do this, and they represent fields from across the university which is really neat. It’s broadening our reach and saying, ‘Hey, there’s a place for everybody here.’”
Included in this choir are faculty from the voice department, the library, the registrar’s office, accounting, physics, history, administration, communications and retired professors including Dr. Joe Jeffers from the chemistry department and Dr. Ray Grenade from the library and history department. Numbering about twenty members, they will join with the Ouachita Singers in festivities.
Lessons and Carols will be held in McBeth Hall at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 5.
“Through this event you can always be reminded of the true Christmas story, that God humbled himself to be born and provide a life, ministry and death of salvation,” Aipperspach said. “Also, I think musically it’s great Christmas music to get into the feel of the season if you aren’t already. One of our pieces, ‘O Come, All Ye Faithful,’ the last stanza is a great encapsulation of Christmas in saying, ‘Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing.’ In a way, it bookends the service in showing our thankfulness for what Christ has done. There is a seat waiting for you!”