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Citadel News Service
28 Oct 2010

Christmas Candlelight Service returns for 73rd year in 2010

A holiday tradition that dates back to the 1930s, the annual Christmas Candlelight Service by the South Carolina Corps of Cadets will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 3, 4 and 5, 2010, in Summerall Chapel on The Citadel campus.

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The Christmas Candlelight Service began simply in the late 1930s – cadets would gather on the chapel steps and sing Christmas carols.

The Christmas Candlelight Service began simply in the late 1930s – cadets would gather on the chapel steps and sing Christmas carols for the faculty and staff and their families each evening during the holiday season. Under the leadership of then Citadel President Gen. Charles P. Summerall the singing was turned into two services, a Sunday service and a Monday candlelight service that combined caroling with performances by the Cadet Glee Club.

The service has grown in size and participation and is one of the Charleston community’s most anticipated holiday events.

Cadets coordinate the production with Nancy Lefter, director of chorale activities, organist Mark A. Bebensee, associate provost for academic affairs, and Cmdr. Mike Alverson, director of music. Cadets from the Protestant, Catholic and Gospel choirs, the Chorale, the Women's Ensemble and members of the Regimental Band take part in the annual celebration of the birth of Christ, observing the events of the Advent, the Annunciation, the Birth of the King, and Epiphany through Scripture lessons and carols. Traditional and international favorites are sung, and special highlights include the Procession of Lights, which marks its 25th year in 2010.

The hour-long program is free and open to the public. Donations are accepted. Flash cameras and video lights are not permitted inside the chapel. Guests are encouraged to arrive early to secure parking on campus and seating in the chapel. For more information, call 843-953-5049.

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