It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas: Lighting ceremony to commence Christmas holiday on campus


Thousands of Christmas lights illuminate front campus at last year’s lighting ceremony. Photo: Photo Services

The BJU campus will soon transform into one of the most festive sites in Greenville. The annual Christmas carol sing and lighting ceremony will take place tonight on front campus, where more than 120,000 lights will be lit in festive fashion.

The evening will begin with a concert at 6:15 performed by the University Singers on a stage set up in front of Rodeheaver Auditorium.

Following the concert, the Christmas carol sing will begin at 6:30. Dr. David Parker of the music faculty will lead the audience in singing Christmas carol favorites, and Dr. Ken Renfrow (also of the music faculty) will accompany on the piano. According to Dr. Renfrow, the carol sing will include familiar, traditional songs that people enjoy.

“I think my favorite thing about the ceremony is just the whole hustle and bustle about the campus,” Dr. Renfrow said. “There are special things going on, and it’s just an exciting time on campus.”

Stage department production manager Mr. Rod McCarty and the student stage crew set up the platform in front of Rodeheaver, as well as the screens and projectors to display the words of the carols. Although the setup is an annual task for him and his crew, Mr. McCarty said it is rewarding when the event goes well and the Christmas story is shared with the community. “It’s a festive time, it’s a happy time, it’s a joyous time,” he said. “It’s nice and satisfying to see all those people there happy, smiling, singing.”

Not only will the evening be enjoyable for the university family, but tonight’s events are also a platform to share the Gospel. “It’s one of our biggest outreaches into the community,” Dr. Renfrow said. Many people from the Greenville area come to see the lights, yet they are presented with the truth of the Christmas story as well.

According to Dr. Renfrow, three tenors will perform “O Holy Night”: Andy Woodard, a senior Christian ministries major; Mr. Jason Rush, a staff GA; and Jae Jung, a master of divinity graduate student. According to tradition, once the song reaches its climax, the campus will be suddenly illuminated with thousands of twinkling Christmas lights.

Following the lighting ceremony, students may also choose to attend the Symphonic Wind Band Concert inside Rodeheaver or a performance of It’s a Wonderful Life at Performance Hall. Both events begin at 7:30. The WBJU staff will also be hosting its annual Christmas broadcast in the Snack Shop.

Students can also show off their grace and agility—or lack thereof—while ice-skating at the Greenville Rec skating rink.

The Student Leadership Council is sponsoring the event, which begins at 9:30 and ends at midnight. Tickets cost $15 and are available at Activities and Organizations.