St. Luke’s To Celebrate Holidays With Musical Events
Music and the Christmas season tend to go hand-in-hand, and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church is celebrating this relationship with multiple events throughout the month of December.
The Rev. Luke Fodor said that singing and music during the holiday season helps create community.
“My perspective is there is nothing more musical than Christmas,” he said. “You hear bells everywhere you go. There’s a desire to burst into song. Music has been part of the liturgy of Christianity since the beginning and singing together creates a community, along with heightening our understanding of community.”
The church’s first musical event is this Saturday, Dec. 9. The event, called “Christmas by Candlelight,” begins at 7 p.m. at the church, 410 N. Main St. It features the Chadakoin Chamber Ensemble that will be singing with the church’s minister of music, Loren Masanque. The songs will be focused on the Baroque period from 1600 to 1750, and feature songs from well-known names like Vavaldi and Bach. There will also be a few Christmas favorites and the event will be candlelit.
The Christ Carol Pub Crawl begins at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 19. The event begins at The Pub, 209 N. Main St., and before the carolers travel to the Cherry Lounge, Brazil Lounge and the Beer Snob.
Fodor said the event is to spread cheer.
“If people want to come and eat before that they can,” he said. “We will have booklets for everyone and go from place to place. Loren (Masanque) will be our acapella instructor. A pub crawl is maybe a less invasive way of caroling than the regular caroling at people’s houses and it gives us the opportunity to celebrate the holidays and gather together.”
Fodor said all are welcome to participate. They will be singing traditional carols along with a few “silly songs.”
On Christmas Eve there will be another event featuring the Chadakoin Chamber Ensemble. The traditional celebration that night at the church will begin with a prelude event of Lessons in Carols, which is set to allow people to go through the traditional Christmas Story with the addition of songs. Everyone is welcome to attend and sing, and afterwards the church goes into the traditional Christmas Eve Liturgy. The event begins at 10:45 p.m. at the church.
Handel’s Messiah Sing Along takes place on Friday, Dec. 29, at 7 p.m. Also featuring the Chadakoin Chamber Ensemble, the sing along welcomes some out of town guests for solo performances. The performance is the 29th and the orchestra rehearsal is the 28th.
“It allows the community to come together in a low stakes environment,” Masanque said. “It allows us to meet people where they are. It lets us celebrate our own humanity and the humanity of Christ’s life. It can speak to anyone who comes.”
One last musical program for the church is the launch of the Ron McEntire Choral Scholars program. Masanque said that money was set aside in Ron McEntire’s name for the church to use and, after discussion, it was decided to honor him in the form of a scholarship program.
Four high school students will become choral scholars with St. Luke’s, and they will be exposed to and get to create their own sacred music. The students will get to be involved in St Luke’s liturgy of music, including singing in the choir and their own solo performances. They will also get a one hour lesson with Masanque, a letter of recommendation and a $250 stipend. If interested in applying visit stlukesjamestown.org or email Masanque at email@example.com.
Masanque said people should come to any or all of these events to help improve their spirits if needed during this season.
“One of the things people expect around the holidays is a rush of emotions,” Masanque said. “Sometimes it’s hard for some people and singing has been proven to help. You move when you sing and it sends a message to your brain that you are happy and healthy and safe.”
Masanque added that there is often a slump after Christmas day, which is why the last event was planned for Dec. 29.
Fodor said the events might motivate people to get out.
“It’s easier to stay at home, and it takes energy to muster getting out in the world,” he said. “There is an awe that motivates us and these events bring collective effervescence, which is the most impactful kind of awe. These community events help us celebrate and we want everyone to come be a part of the great story. When you show up the story gets better.”
Masanque added that no matter what, everyone is welcome.
“You will find a home here,” he said. “We want you to be here, not so we can put on these events, but because we want you to find a community and be a part of helping that community move forward Post-COVID. We will hold a space for that.”