The Catholic University of America will begin the Advent and Christmas seasons with its annual Light the Season tree lighting and the Christmas Concert for Charity, hosted by the Rome School of Music, Drama, and Art.
The campus community will gather Dec. 1 at 5:30 p.m. to light the campus Christmas tree in the third floor atrium of the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center.
Mackenzie Garrity, assistant director of Campus Activities, said the lighting is, “an important traditional event, not only for the university itself but because Light the Season serves as one of the waves within an important force that brings together the university community during this whirlwind time of year.”
This celebration includes remarks from University President Peter Kilpatrick and Father Aquinas Guilbeau, O.P., University chaplain and vice president of Ministry and Mission, followed by performances by Catholic University’s acapella groups. Attendees will also receive a complimentary ornament.
The annual Christmas Concert will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Great Upper Church. This free, annual concert draws standing-room-only crowds.
The concert will consist of performances by the Catholic University Choir and Symphony Orchestra under the musical direction of Murry Sidlin, professor of instrumental music and conducting.
President Kilpatrick said, "Our Annual Christmas Concert serves as a testament to the exceptional talents of our students. We eagerly anticipate filling the Basilica with the sounds of the seasons, creating an atmosphere of joy and unity."
Donations from this year’s concert will support The Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts here in the D.C., area, a charitable organization deeply committed to prayer, services to the poor, education, and healthcare. Their tireless efforts span continents, providing vital services ranging from education, in countries like India, Italy, Albania, and Argentina, to essential medical care in places like Haiti, Iraq, and Kenya.
The concert will be a celebration of festive seasonal music for choir and orchestra. Featuring more than 100 singers and musicians, the concert program will include selections from popular classical composers like Handel and Vivaldi and more Christmas holiday favorites. The concert will wrap up with an exciting medley of carols and, per tradition, a sing-along with the orchestra and choir.
Olivia Buckley, a senior musical theatre major, has participated in the concert since her first year at the University. Buckley said she prioritizes the concert along with her courses, calling "it important to make time for practicing my art because it's what brings me the most joy in my life.”
Buckley said she tells community members, “Even if you don't think choral music is ‘your thing,’ give the Christmas concert a try. The music is truly moving even for people who wouldn't normally listen to this genre, and it truly puts you in the Christmas spirit. I promise, there's a few Christmas carols in there, too.”
In addition to the tree lighting and concert, the campus will come further alive with events and activities sure to warm the heart and fill the soul, including:
Dec. 5 at 4 p.m. in the Nest Event Space
The Center for Cultural Engagement invites all to come learn about holiday traditions from around the world and sample different cultures' tasty dishes.
For a full list, visit the University’s Christmas activities page.