December 07, 2011


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By Kathryn Kopchik

LEWISBURG, Pa. — The Emmy-nominated "Bucknell Candlelight Christmas" service will air on local PBS station WVIA this holiday season on Dec. 21 at 7 p.m., Dec. 22 at 10 p.m., Dec. 23 at 8 p.m., Dec. 24 at 7 p.m., and Dec. 25 at midnight and 10 a.m.

As air times may be subject to change, viewers should check local listings.

Set in Rooke Chapel, the program features the Rooke Chapel Choir and the Rooke Chapel Ringers under the direction of William Payn, director of choral studies at Bucknell, and other musicians.

Recorded in 2009 and nominated for an Emmy last year, the program opens with the traditional procession, the song "Once in Royal David's City," and familiar carols including "Go Tell it on the Mountain," "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen," "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" and "Stille Nacht," sung by the Rooke Chapel Choir. The Rooke Chapel Ringers use traditional English handbells to perform a wide variety of sacred and secular music. The program closes with a traditional ringing-in of Christmas and the candlelit recession.

Begun in 1964
The interdenominational service was begun in 1964 by William McRae, founder of the Rooke Chapel Choir and Bucknell professor emeritus of music. The choir and bell ringers represent major fields of study at Bucknell.

The Choir has gained international recognition for its creative interpretations of some of the most significant sacred repertory from the past five centuries. The Ringers, organized by Payn in 1983, have participated in festivals in New York City and in Wales, England, West Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

The Candlelight Service of Carols attracts capacity crowds to Rooke Chapel for performances every December. Every four years since 1987, a PBS production of this annual holiday service has received national distribution by the Central Education Television Network. The production, which has received the Iris Award and Emmy nominations in 1996 and 2004, is aired each year by PBS stations throughout the United States.

Contact: Division of Communications