OBU held its 83rd annual Hanging of the Green Christmas celebration Dec. 4 in Raley Chapel’s Potter Auditorium. The program featured a combined choir and orchestra performing Handel’s “Messiah,” as well as special recognition of outstanding seniors.
The University Ringers, directed by Dr. Patricia Nelson, associate professor of music education, performed pre-concert music in the Raley Chapel foyer. Dr. Mark Franklin, assistant professor of music, then performed “Noël” by L.C. Daquin on the organ for the procession of the choir.
OBU President Dr. Heath A. Thomas then welcomed guests to the event. Dr. Matthew Emerson, dean of theology, arts and humanities, delivered the advent reading of Isaiah 9:2-7. Two congregational Christmas hymns followed, “Joy to the World!” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” OBU Provost Dr. Susan DeWoody then shared a brief overview of the history of the Hanging of the Green on Bison Hill.
The first OBU Hanging of the Green ceremony was held in WMU Memorial Hall in 1937. After the singing of carols, representatives from all dormitories lit candles of goodwill 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.
DeWoody, along with Brandon Peterson, dean of students and vice president of campus life, then led the recognition of the outstanding seniors. Ten male and ten female students were nominated and selected by OBU faculty to be given the honor of hanging the green during the ceremony. The 2021 Hanging of the Green honorees included Nathan Henager, Samuel Anquoe, Landon Johnson, Emily Lawrence, Kyle Daughabaugh, Justin Koonce, Daniel Campbell, Sarah Dean, Laramie Snow, Morgan Krispense, Micah Hinson, Sanaa Boykins, Madelyn Willison, Lauren Jones, Tyler McPheeters, Zachary Young, Madison Stone, Andreja Peciuraite, Christopher Drew Trent and William Kohman.
After the 20 outstanding seniors were announced and the honorees hung the green wreaths around Raley Chapel, three choirs combined into one mass choir for the performance of “Messiah.” This group included members of the Bison Glee Club, the Bisonette Women’s Glee Club and the University Chorale, along with other members of the campus community. They were accompanied by an orchestra and the performance was conducted by Dr. Jim Vernon, chair of the Division of Music, Burton H. Patterson Professor of Music and professor of music.
The performance of “Messiah,” with music by George Frideric Handel and libretto by Charles Jennens, consisted of Part I and selections from Part II of the oratorio, including a combined total of 20 recitatives, airs and choruses.
Soloists for “Messiah” included Reinaldo Figueroa, Nicholas Stark, Cason West, Makalah Jessup, Ryleigh Andrews, Nathan Henager, Valarie Monteith, Laura Stewart and Makayla Freeman.
The final act of “Messiah” consisted of an invitation for all attendees to join the performance by standing and singing the “Hallelujah” chorus with the choir and orchestra.
The postlude, “Christmas Joy” by Dan Miller, was performed by OBU alumnus Jason Henson on the organ.
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