BJU festivities to usher in season of holiday cheer


Campus will be set aglow with Christmas lights during the annual Carol Sing and Lighting Ceremony Friday night. Photo: Photo Services

Tonight, hundreds of people from the community will join the BJU family for a night of Christmas activities to ring in the season of Christ’s birth.

The evening will kick off with the annual Christmas Lighting Ceremony at 6:30 p.m. in front of Rodeheaver Auditorium. This event, which typically attracts more than 3,000 people, began in 1988 under the presidency of Dr. Bob Jones III and has been a treasured campus tradition ever since. This year’s lighting ceremony will be led by Dr. David Parker of the Division of Music. The carol sing will feature both traditional and sacred Christmas carols, climaxing in the middle with the high note of “O Holy Night” when all the Christmas lights will be turned on, and campus will light up in a festive glow. BJU’s University Singers will support the crowd in song.

The lighting ceremony will be webcast, allowing people from all over the world to join in the festivities.

Following the lighting ceremony, BJU will offer two opportunities for additional Christmas music.

First, the Wind Band, led by Dr. Dan Turner of the Division of Music, will present a Christmas concert in Rodeheaver Auditorium from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. The concert is one of BJU’s biggest, typically drawing  about 1,500 people each year.

This year’s concert will feature world-renowned saxophonist Kenneth Tse. Tse will perform the solo part of two pieces: “Concerto after Glière” by Russian composer Reinhold Glière and “Madrid Inspiration” by Japanese composer Masanori Katoh.

The Wind Band will play a new piece, “Good Night, Dear Heart,” written by Dan Forrest. The concert will also include a few beloved Christmas carols and traditional band literature featuring student soloists.

Turner gave a hint about one of the Christmas songs the band will perform. “We’re doing one of our very favorite Christmas numbers,” Turner said. “It is a tongue-in-cheek treatment of a whole group of secular Christmas songs.”

The concert is free with open seating.

Second, WBJU will present a Christmas radio broadcast in The Den from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Dr. Heidi Campbell, manager of WBJU Campus Media, organizes the broadcast each year. “We want to help kick off the college Christmas season with a fun, interactive, happy Christmas student broadcast,” Campbell said.

The theme this year is “A College Christmas” and will be produced by the IQ radio staff with assistance by some students in the Fundamentals of Broadcasting class. Student IQ radio manager Joel Whited said he’s excited for this year’s program. “I think our theme this year will really connect with our student body,” Whited said.

The broadcast provides a special way to connect with BJU alumni and students’ families from around the globe. The night’s lineup will include contests, a talent show and traditional Christmas music. Lots of prizes will be available, and song requests will be taken all evening. You can tune into the broadcast by going to and entering the keyword “wbju.”