OBU hosted its annual Christmas Chapel Wednesday, Dec. 1, in Raley Chapel’s Potter Auditorium. The event is a perennial campus favorite, featuring musical performances by various student groups, comedy, funny videos, caroling and more. Students, employees and guests alike wear their favorite Christmas sweaters, shirts, hats and more, to add to the festive atmosphere of the service.
Kirt Henderson, director of student success, emceed the chapel with hilarious lighthearted jabs and OBU-centered jokes. Numerous university musical groups gathered to perform Christmas numbers for the chapel attendees. This year’s event was especially meaningful to the campus community, since it was missed last year due to adjustments made to the fall 2020 academic calendar during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Henderson opened the service with a quick introduction, a few Christmas carols sung with the audience and a few jokes to set the tone for the festive event. The University Chorale then performed “A Haitian Noel” under the direction of Dr. Louima Lilite, McGavern-Montgomery Professor of Music.
University Ringers then performed “Carol of the Bells” and “Chatter with the Angels.” The group is directed by Dr. Patricia Nelson, associate professor of music education.
519 Collective, a jazz-influenced gospel ensemble, then performed “What Christmas Means to Me,” including a surprise three-kazoo serenade by vocalists Nic Stark, Emily Day and Makayla Freeman. Dr. Stephen Sims, assistant professor of music, worship leadership, directs the group.
Henderson then shared a funny video featuring four OBU professors who were tested on their knowledge of pop culture and slang in order to determine which of them was the “coolest.” The Bison Glee Club, also under the direction of Sims, then performed “Variations on ‘Fa, La, La.’”
Following another humorous emcee segment about the top four songs on Bison Hill this year, in the vain of a “Spotify Wrapped” playlist, the Bison Jazz Orchestra performed “Jingle Bells,” featuring Brock Brown on vocals. The group is under the direction of Dustin Higgins, adjunct professor of low brass.
Henderson followed this performance with a funny presentation of his nominations for the new face of OBU with pictures of well-known students on campus and reasons why they should represent OBU on social media. This was followed by a performance of “Cradle Hymn” by The Bisonette Glee Club under the direction of Dr. Kelsey D’Emilio, assistant professor of music.
Rachel Stewart, logistics coordinator for the Global Outreach Center, then recited the biblical story of Christmas. The OBU Gospel Choir followed, concluding the service with a performance of “Emmanuel.” Brock Brown directed the group and Makalah Jessup was the soloist.