OBU will present its 78th annual Hanging of the Green Christmas program Saturday, Dec. 5, at 7:30 p.m. in Raley Chapel’s Potter Auditorium. The community is invited to attend the celebration, titled “A Service of Lessons and Carols.”
The first OBU Hanging of the Green ceremony was held in WMU Memorial Hall. After the singing of carols, representatives from all dormitories lit candles of good will from the candle there and carried the light to their own houses. The custom of Hanging of the Green has continued, though it moved in 1945 to the newly completed Brittain Hall Library, in 1957 to the University Auditorium, and in 1961 to Raley Chapel.
This year’s program theme is based on The Festival of Lessons and Carols, which has been presented annually on Christmas Eve in King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, England, since its inception in 1918 following World War I. The service symbolizes the bond between the academic community and the city, the peace within the whole church, and the joy and worship of all Christians. The theme revolves around the loving purposes of God revealed through the words of the Bible and the musical offerings.
In the traditional Cambridge service, the lessons are read by members of the academic community, progressing from a young chorister to the bishop. In that spirit, this year’s lessons will be read by members of the OBU academic community, beginning with the student body president and culminating with a faculty member who joined OBU in 1976.
University Ringers will welcome guests with pre-service music in Raley Chapel lobby and will likewise perform “O Come All Ye Faithful” during the procession of choirs. Susan Ballweg will perform both the prelude, featuring “Angels We Have Heard on High,” and the postlude, “Joy to the World,” on organ. OBU Professor of English Dr. Sidney Watson will welcome the audience and narrate throughout the program, and OBU President Dr. David W. Whitlock will lead a time of prayer. For the orchestral overture, the OBU/Shawnee Community Orchestra will perform “Festia de Navidad” by Dan Goeller.
The performers for this year’s Hanging of the Green include the Bison Glee Club, University Chorale, University Ringers, Brass Choir, Shawnee Honor Choir, OBU/Shawnee Community Orchestra and Bisonette Glee Club. Soloists will include Rebecca Ballinger, assistant professor of voice, and Emily Day, eighth grade student in the Shawnee Honor Choir.
Various classic Christmas songs and carols will be performed during the evening, including beloved favorites such as “I Saw Three Ships,” “Away in a Manger,” “Carol of the Bells,” ‘We Three Kings of Orient Are,” “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” and “Silent Night.”
Outstanding seniors will be recognized during the evening. Honorees include Jeremy Bernhardt, a biochemistry major from Sperry, Oklahoma; Nolan Cannon, a cross-cultural ministry major with a minor in philosophy from Elgin, Oklahoma; Jeffrey Cherry, a biology major from Choctaw, Oklahoma; Walker Cross, a biblical studies major with a minor in education from Shawnee; Rachel Evans, a nursing major from Newalla, Oklahoma; Dillon Gardner, a finance major from Shawnee; Bruna Gomes, a marketing major with a minor in Spanish from Gainesville, Texas; Graeson Griffin, a musical arts major with an emphasis in piano and physics minor from Shawnee; and Anna Jones, a double major in religion with a biblical languages emphasis and anthropology from Richmond, Virginia.
Additional honorees include Molly Marietta, a biochemistry major from Watts, Oklahoma; Rachel McCloy, a nursing major from Stinnet, Texas; Mason McCormick, a church music major from Midwest City, Oklahoma; Meg Reeder, a communication studies major from Shawnee; Wookjin Sim, a marketing major from Busan, South Korea; Hannah Slater, a family and community services major with a minor in psychology from Burkburnett, Texas; Andrew Thomsen, a secondary education in social studies major with a minor in sports management from Midwest City, Oklahoma; Victoria Thrutchley, a musical arts major with an emphasis in violin from Frisco, Texas; Britton VanBuskirk, a double-major in cross-cultural ministry with an emphasis in orality studies and history from Moore, Oklahoma; Hannah Vick, a computer science major from Tuttle, Oklahoma; and Robert Walker, a biblical languages major with a minor in cross-cultural ministry from Ponca City, Oklahoma.
Following the student recognitions, the hanging of the green will commence with a Christmas prayer by Carrie Myles, executive director of the Milburn Center and director of academic advising, as well as a candlelight recessional.
Current SGA President Truett Ross will begin with the first lesson during the program. Faculty participating in the readings throughout each lesson include Dr. Nichole Jackson, assistant professor of nursing; Dr. Cherith Tucker, assistant professor of mathematics; Dawn Westbrook, assistant professor of nursing; Dr. Timothy McCollum, assistant professor of anthropology; Dr. Benjamin Myers, Crouch-Mathis Professor of Literature; Ford Mastin, track coach and assistant professor of kinesiology and leisure studies; Dr. Linda McElroy, professor of kinesology and leisure studies; and Dr. Warren McWilliams, Auguie Henry Professor of Bible.