Choir concert, candle light services set

Published 9:42 am Thursday, December 15, 2016

First United Methodist Church will celebrate its 82nd Annual Choir Concert and Candle Lighting Service at 5 and 7 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 18, and at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 19.

Concerts will be in the church sanctuary at 310 N. Main St., Mocksville. The public is invited to be a part of this Davie County tradition. Nursery care will be provided for young children at each service.

First Methodist Church was organized in 1833, three years before Davie County was formed from Rowan County in 1836. The church had just turned 100 years old in 1934 when Jane Hanes Crow, a member and town resident, attended a candle light service at Salem College, where she was a college student.

First Methodist had a service in which Christmas carols were sung by the choir and church members. Miss Crow came home from college for Christmas holidays and told her mother, Mary Hanes Crow, and her aunt, Blanche Hanes Clement, about the candle lighting service at Salem College that had made such an impression on her. Her mother and aunt suggested that First Methodist’s Christmas carol service conclude with everyone in the church lighting a candle and processing out of the sanctuary singing “Silent Night” as was done at Salem College.

The church members liked the addition of the candles and, thus, a tradition was born, a tradition that will be observed for the 82nd time in 2016.

After some years the Christmas carol service transitioned to a more formal concert of Christmas music by the Chancel Choir, but the lighting of candles and procession out of the church has not changed since 1934.

Today, after eight decades, the Christmas Concert and Candle Lighting Service are a highlight and tradition of the Christmas season for hundreds of Davie residents, so much so that three identical services are presented each year.

The church sanctuary, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is adorned with dozens of poinsettias, a huge Christmon tree, and lighted by candles. After the choir ends the concert by singing the majestic “Hellelujah Chorus” from Hendel’s Messiah, the choir and congregation join together in singing “Silent Night” and lighting individual candles, just as it has been done for the last 82 years. Members and visitors leave the church holding their candle as Christmas carols are sung.

Outside the church there is an ethereal glow from dozens of lighted luminaries as individuals make their way to the nativity scene on the church lawn.

Even though this service is filled with traditions more than 80 years old, there is a new addition or two this year.

Leonard Rowe, renown baritone, will sing “Jesu Bambino.”

Frank Voltz, well known harpist from Winston-Salem, will play two solos on the harp as well as a 15-minute prelude before the services begin.

Lou Ann Wilson, soprano, is singing “What Songs Were Sung.”

Barbara Basham is the director of the Chancel Choir; Tommy Dunn is organist; Marc Stone is pianist. The Rev. Dr. Glenn Myers is pastor.

The public is invited to any of the three services of this Christmas tradition of many Mocksville and Davie County families.