“by Jocelyn Anderson”
Lessons and Carols has been an important tradition for Rocky Mountain College. It is an event that many people look forward to, including RMC students, faculty and staff, as well as Billings community members.
Rocky Mountain College’s Chaplain, the Rev. Kim Woeste, has played a major role in organizing Lessons and Carols. From working with First Presbyterian Church, selecting readers for the lessons, to leading the congregation when Lessons and Carols is held, Woeste’s role is crucial for this event’s success.
Every year, Lessons and Carols seems to go smoothly, leaving the participants and the audience extremely grateful for her hard work and dedication.
For the Rocky Mountain College choir, Director Steven Hart has been at the forefront of this concert for years. Without him, this concert wouldn’t have as much of an impact on the community.
His upbeat energy, passion for music, care for the choir members, and appreciation for the audience is evident not only through Lessons and Carols, but all of his concerts. The choir members themselves are also deeply affected by this concert. It truly is a mix of emotions ranging from excitement and joy to bittersweet and even melancholy. Freshmen, sophomores, and juniors normally feel the former. For seniors, they normally feel both the former and the latter. This concert is so powerful that it’s hard for seniors to say goodbye to performing in it. Although they can come back as alumni to sing the opening, which is an amazing opportunity, it’s different performing just one song as opposed to nine or so.
For the audience members, there is something powerful and exhilarating when hearing the entrance song, “Personent Hodie.”
It’s the mixture of the brass instruments, the organ, and the choir’s procession up to the altar that sends chills up almost everyone’s spines. It truly is reverent and euphoric in every sense of the words. The room is electric, filled with people who are excited to celebrate the holiday season. This song is seen as the “kickoff” to the holiday season for the audience to then sit and listen to music and lessons about the story of Christ’s birth.
Unfortunately, any words that are put to this concert simply don’t do it justice.
If you would like to experience the magic of Lessons and Carols for yourself, please attend on Dec. 8 at First Presbyterian Church at 3 p.m. or 7 p.m.