Today was the last Convocation of the semester, which in the fall is always the Messiah sing. The tradition of gathering in Bethel College Mennonite Church for an hour of singing Handel’s Messiah with the community as the chorus goes back a quarter century. The music department supplies most of the work for this venture. The chamber orchestra and Karen Schlabaugh on the harpsichord supply the accompaniment, student conductors lead most of the pieces, and students perform the solos. It’s always fun to hear different people singing the solos, some of whom don’t frequently do solos in for events like this. I’ve had the privilege to play in the orchestra for this tradition the past two years and it has turned into one of my favorite parts of the holiday season. It’s a fantastic piece of music to play because we don’t play any of the really difficult parts and since everyone in the room is either conducting, singing or playing it’s very low pressure. In the midst of preparations for finals week, it’s a great way to let go for a little while and enjoy the holiday spirit.
Bethel College is a four-year, private, primarily residential, liberal arts college. Students may participate in campus spiritual life, fine arts activities, sports and more than 50 clubs and organizations. Bethel’s academic buildings, including its historic Administration Building, the Krehbiel Science Center and the James A. Will Family Academic Center, are clustered around the Green, an open grassy area where students gather. The college year consists of fall and spring semesters, a January interterm and a summer term.