Luminaries, Chorus Concert Will Welcome Christmas Season At Limestone On Saturday, December 7

Charles Wyatt
Luminaries, Chorus Concert Will Welcome Christmas Season At Limestone On Saturday, December 7

A holiday tradition that goes back over three decades, the Limestone College Luminaries, will enchant those who come to campus during its annual Christmas celebration set for Saturday, Dec. 7.

The luminaries, which will be lit by 5 p.m., will be placed on the front campus, and portions of College Drive and other areas near the College for the 35th consecutive year.

The Limestone tradition dates back to 1984 when the late Les Gregory, a former staff member and graduate of the College, arranged for 200 luminaries to be lit in honor of retired professor Lucy G. Wheeler. Since Gregory's inception, the luminaries have grown to over 10,000 candles and the event has grown into one of the most anticipated nights of the year at Limestone.

The luminary event is now organized each year by Limestone’s Athletics Department, with student-athletes filling the white bags with sand and candles, placing them on and around campus, and lighting the candles.

The tradition of Christmas luminaries dates back at least to early 17th-century Spain. In one version of how it started, people burned cedar boughs along town paths, symbolically lighting the way to Bethlehem for Mary and Joseph. A slightly different version suggests that luminaries were intended to brighten the way for the Magi. The tradition is a feature of numerous Christmas festivals in the American Southwest.

The Limestone Luminaries will be held on the same night that the Limestone College & Community Chorus performs “Holy Silence, Holy Sound” at Fullerton Auditorium.

Admission to the 7 p.m. concert is free and the public is invited to attend.

The 18-member chorus – conducted by Dr. Gena Poovey, Professor of Choral/Vocal Music Education and Director of Choral Activities at Limestone – includes 10 students from the College and eight members of the local community. Accompanist will be Limestone Professor of Music Dr. David Thompson.

The concert format is one of “lessons and carols,” and the music will include many favorite Christmas tunes, old and new. Visual images will be incorporated to recall holiday traditions at Limestone College from over the years and to celebrate festivities of the present.

The audience will hear familiar tunes such as “Sing We Now of Christmas,” “Children Go Where I Send Thee,” “Joy to the World,” and “Good Christians All Rejoice.” Other well-known carols arranged with new twists will include “O Little Town of Bethlehem” and “Keep Silence.”

In addition, a new gospel style piece, “Walkin' Down the Road to Bethlehem,” and a favorite piece from the “Godspell” musical, “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord,” will give the audience the toe-tapping moments that everyone anticipates during a holiday concert.

Various instrumental accompaniments will include flute, trumpet, and clarinet, all performed by students from the Limestone College Department of Music.

“We are excited that this year's concert will include some fresh musical ideas and some visual surprises,” Poovey said. “The performance will take place on the most beautiful evening of the year – the night of the luminaries at Limestone. Guests will arrive just as the outdoor candles are being lighted, and we all will exit the concert to witness the Limestone neighborhood in its full holiday glory. We invite all the citizens of Cherokee County and the Upstate to attend. This is a concert and a night that no music student, no music teacher, and no music lover in the area should miss.”