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Citadel News Service
9 Nov 2015

The Citadel's 78th Christmas Candlelight Services Dec. 4 - 6

Come one, come all, come early!


CHARLESTON, S.C. – One of Charleston's longest and most memorable holiday traditions is the Christmas Candlelight Service at The Citadel's historic Summerall Chapel. The services, which are held for the community and for visitors to Charleston, feature Christmas music performed by members of the South Carolina Corps of Cadets.

This will mark Chaplain Joel Harris’ final services as he is retiring at the end of the year. Harris joined The Citadel in 2009 as the director of religious activities after serving more than 20 years on a variety of assignments for the U.S. Army. A 1972 graduate of the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York, Harris’ last assignment before retirement was as chief of operations for the U.S. Army Europe Chaplain. When he was selected for promotion to colonel in September 2008, he chose instead to retire and accept the opportunity to lead religious activities at The Citadel.

“The Citadel’s Candlelight services are always the highlight of my year,” said Chaplain Harris. “After 20 years as a chaplain, I’d thought I’d seen the best possible, to include our services at West Point, but all paled in comparison to the performance our Citadel cadets put on. It’s been an honor to be present as our cadets and community come together to celebrate Christmas year after year in such a spectacular setting.”

Cadets who are part of the Protestant, Catholic and Gospel Choirs, join their talents with The Citadel Chorale and members of The Citadel Regimental Band, to create an unforgettable Christmas celebration. The 2015 services will take place Dec. 4 – 6 at 7:30 p.m. with prelude music beginning at 7 p.m. performed by The Citadel Brass Ensemble led by Cmdr. Mike Alverson, and the Chapel Accompanist, Patti Harris. 


Part of the grandeur of the celebration includes the poinsettias that cover the front of the chapel, provided by Citadel families, faculty and staff, as well as neighbors from throughout the Charleston community in memory or honor of a loved one.

Anyone can purchase a poinsettia for $12 in honor of a loved one, making the services even more meaningful. To place an order, please call (843) 953-5049, or mail a letter with the name of the loved one(s), the name of the donor, and a check made payable to the Summerall Chapel Association, to Clarice Starks, Summerall Chapel, MSC #2, 171 Moultrie Street, Charleston, SC 29409 or delivered to the chapel office. The flowers can be picked up by the purchasers on Tuesday, Dec. 8.

There is no admission fee and there is no reserved seating. Therefore, early arrival is highly suggested.

Achieving excellence in the education and development of principled leaders
Media Contact:
Kim Keelor-Parker
(843) 953-2155

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