Concert and Chamber Choirs

Service of Lessons and Carols

The annual Service of Lessons and Carols at Williams College will be held on Saturday, Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. and on Sunday, Dec. 9 at 4 p.m., in the Thompson Memorial Chapel. The services will present traditional carol singing and Nativity readings for a special musical celebration.

The Williams Concert Choir will perform, along with vocal soloists and instrumentalists, under the direction of Bradley Wells. Music will include Bach’s Cantata BMV 191, and the "Gloria in excelsis Deo" and "Dona nobis pacem" movements of Mass in B Minor. Several organ students for the Prelude will join organist Edwin I. Lawrence, and the Williams Handbell Choir will play the festive Postlude after the service. In addition, Alexander Schumacker ’08 will conduct the world premiere of his piece "My Cathedral."  

Students and members of the community will read the traditional Christmas lessons and Chaplain to the College Rick Spalding will deliver a meditation.

A free-will offering will be received at the conclusion of the service for the benefit of a local charity. All are welcome to bring an item of non-perishable canned or packaged food for local emergency pantries.

The Christmas Service of Lessons and Carols has been described as one that "presents the Christmas story in an ambience of mystery, splendor, hope and joy." It was instituted at Williams College in the mid-1960s by the Rev. John Eusden, then Chaplain and professor of religion, in collaboration with Professor of Music Kenneth Roberts. The service is modeled on the traditional Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, first held on Christmas Eve in 1918 at King’s College Chapel in Cambridge, England.

Admission is free and tickets are not required, but seating is limited. Please call the Chaplain’s Office at 413-597-2483 for more information.