Oklahoma Baptist University will present its 79th annual Hanging of the Green Christmas program Saturday, Dec. 3, at 7:30 p.m. in Raley Chapel’s Potter Auditorium. The community is invited to attend the celebration, which will feature a presentation of Handel’s “Messiah.”
The first OBU Hanging of the Green ceremony was held in WMU Memorial Hall. After the singing of carols, representatives from all dormitories lit candles of good will 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.
The performers for this year’s Hanging of the Green include the Bison Glee Club, directed by Dr. Christopher Matthews, dean of the Warren M. Angell college of fine arts; University Chorale, directed by Dr. Brent Ballweg, Burton H. Patterson professor of music and director of choral activities; University Ringers, directed by Dr. Lee Hinson, professor of church music and worship and music; the Bisonette Glee Club, directed by Dr. James Vernon, professor of music; and OBU/Shawnee Community Orchestra, directed by Dr. Jim Hansford.
Soloists will include Rebecca Ballinger, assistant professor of voice, soprano; Rebecca Ambrosini, professor of voice at Southern Nazarene University, alto; Dr. Louima Lilite, associate professor of music, tenor; and Dr. Stephen Sims, assistant professor of music, bass.
The University Ringers, conducted by Hinson, will welcome guests with pre-service music in the Raley Chapel foyer. Dr. Carlos Feller, flute, and Dr. Mary Chung, assistant professor of piano, will provide some pre-concert music inside Potter Auditorium.
Mathews will lead the choral processional in “Joy to the World.” Dr. David Whitlock, president of OBU, will welcome the audience and lead the opening prayer.
A group of outstanding seniors, nominated and voted upon by OBU faculty, will then be introduced and recognized. The honorees include Zach Clark, Oklahoma City; Morgan Taylor Groves, New Castle, Colorado; Noah Golaboff, Harker Heights, Texas; Kathleen JoAnn Houston, Fort Worth, Texas; Isaac Gray, Shawnee, Oklahoma; Ashley Rae King, Yukon, Oklahoma; Chase Lanphear, Kansas City, Missouri; Hannah Evans, Chandler, Oklahoma; Jinny Parra, Santiago, Dominican Republic; and Elyse Sumie Kini Kusakabe, Makawao, Hawaii.
Additional honorees include Brynden Pitzer, Edmond, Oklahoma; Quentesa R.M. Garraway, Lacey, Washington; Cody Soots, Owasso, Oklahoma; Elise Jones, Tulsa, Oklahoma; Clay Smith, Bedford, Texas; Hannah Cantrell, Fort Gibson, Oklahoma; Dakota Unruh, Elk City, Oklahoma; Bethany Meraz, Oklahoma City; Michael Vetter, Marburg, Germany; and Kenna Stanton, Lawton, Oklahoma.
Following their introduction, the hanging of the green will commence, led by Dr. Michael Travers, associate provost and associate dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Dr. Stan Norman, provost and executive vice president for campus life, will read scripture from Isaiah 9:6-7 and Luke 2:8-14.
The combined choirs and orchestra will then perform all of part I and selections from part II of George Frideric Handel’s “Messiah.” Ballweg will conduct the performance.
Dale Griffin, assistant vice president for spiritual life and dean of the chapel, will lead the benediction. The evening will close with a postlude on organ by Dr. Ron Lewis, professor emeritus of music, as he performs “Festival Prelude on Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” by Neil Harmon.
For more information about the Division of Music at OBU, visit www.okbu.edu/fine-arts/music/.