news-category: Performing Arts

Gardner-Webb’s Department of Music Ushers in the Christmas Season with Festival of Lights

The stage in Dover Theater with the choir and orchestra.

Community Joined the Annual Musical Celebration and Official Lighting of the Campus Christmas Tree

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Gardner-Webb’s annual program to welcome the Christmas season—Festival of Lights—featured performances by GWU music groups, the reading of the Christmas story and carol singing. Additionally, for the first time in the celebration’s history, the GW Orchestra participated in the program.

Dover Theatre was filled to capacity for the event that featured a student conductor, multi-ensemble joint performance, and seasonal favorites. President Dr. William M. Downs welcomed the audience and gave the opening prayer. Vice President and University Chaplain for Christian Life and Service Dr. Josh Parrot presented the Old and New Testament readings and offered the closing prayer.

The musical program began with Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24 performed by the Gardner-Webb Orchestra. Selections included “Noel,” by the GW choirs; and performances of “Deck the Halls in 7/8” and “How Great our Joy” by the Webb Chorale, the GW choir for treble voices.

The audience joined in the music by singing the traditional carol, “O Come, all ye Faithful.” Then, the GW Choirs and the GW Orchestra presented the beloved Christmas carol, “Angels from the Realms of Glory.”

The evening’s performance concluded with the singing of “Silent Night,” led by Department of Music Chair Dr. Aaron Rice.

Afterward, the large audience joined the procession along a luminaria-lighted path to the front of Tucker Student Center to participate in the lighting of the campus tree by Downs and his wife, Kim. The Gardner-Webb Marching Bulldogs dressed in festive attire provided music for the ceremony. Then, everyone enjoyed refreshments in Tucker.

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to nine colleges and schools, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at

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