It’s Saturday, and I am wrapping up the end of a crazy week! Not as much homework as last week…but still very eventful.First, on Sunday we had our annual Deutsche Weihnachten, or German Christmas, service. As the name indicates, it’s a tradition that involves a Christmas service entirely in German. And when I say entirely, I mean that includes all hymns sung by the congregation, all songs sung by the choirs (the Concert Choir, Men’s Chorus, and Women’s Chorus), the sermon, and all the scripture readings. Literally the only parts of the bulletin that were in English was the part telling people where their offering was going (Mennonite Central Committee disaster relief) and the part warning people not to spill their candle wax after lighting their candles and singing “Stille Nacht.” It’s something unique that I have really come to find gets me in the Christmas spirit!But that is not all that helped get me in the Christmas spirit this week! Tuesday night the Concert Choir had the privilege of performing with the Wichita Symphony Orchestra for the Christmas Pops concert. As much as it may have been hard to fit this into my busy schedule, it ended up being a lot of fun, and I was glad we had the chance to do it. The concert included us singing four songs with the orchestra, including “White Christmas,” “In Adoration of the Child,” “O Holy Night,” and a musical rendition of the poem “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.” There was a guest soprano soloist who sang with us on a couple of the songs and did a couple of songs on her own with the orchestra. At the end, there was an audience sing-along with the orchestra with several popular Christmas carols. Unfortunately, I was unlucky enough to get sick starting on Wednesday and had to take it easy for a couple of days. Somehow I was able to pull it together enough to sing my solo in the Messiah Sing Friday morning. The Messiah Sing is another Bethel tradition that is always on the last Friday before finals. Everyone meets in the Bethel College Mennonite Church (Bethel students & faculty along with a few community members) and sings the Messiah, accompanied by Bethel’s orchestra. I have had the opportunity to be a soloist all 3 years I have been at Bethel.
Then in the evening we had our annual Christmas Gala! It’s kind of like the college version of high school prom. Everyone dresses up for a formal dinner in the cafeteria.
Some people have dates, but it’s also perfectly acceptable to go with a group of friends. After the dinner there is always a jazz concert featuring Bethel’s two jazz ensembles, a reception with snacks and drinks at the President’s house, carriage rides, and a dance.
After the busy-ness of the past week, gala was a much-needed respite. Now onward to finals week!