News

Redlands Presents the 61st Feast of Lights

The University of Redlands is set to present its 61st Feast of Lights, a service of worship celebrating the birth of Jesus in spoken word, tableaux, song and instrumental offering. The theme of this year's popular holiday tradition is "Renewing the Tradition," a title designed to note the rediscovery and revival of previous feast traditions.

The event will be held Dec. 5, 6, and 8 at 8 p.m. and Dec. 7 at 4 p.m. in the university's Memorial Chapel. Tickets are now on sale to the general public and are $19 and $27, with pricing based on the seat location.

The ticket office, which is located on the first floor of the Hunsaker University Center, is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The office also will be open Oct. 25 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tickets also can be purchased online at www.redlands.edu/events. Call the ticket office at 909-748-8881 for more information.

Although presentations have differed slightly from year to year, the basic theme over the course of the past 60 years has remained constant: The story of the birth of Christ and the symbolic message of the star of Bethlehem as it led the Wise Men to the stable.

At the service's conclusion, the traditional ceremony of candles, adapted from an ancient rite, symbolizes the spreading of the light of Christ's message by 12 apostles throughout the world.

This is a landmark year in the history of the event, as tradition is renewed with the passing of the baton to a new generation of young conductors.

Directorial duties performed over the last 30 years by recently retired University of Redlands professor Jeffrey Rickard will now be handled by the new director of choral activities, Nicholle Andrews, and conductors Co Boi Nguyen and Jean-Sébastien Vallée.

Some traditions will be renewed during this year's event. The traditional tableaux will be renewed with vibrant new costumes, staging and lighting to celebrate the diversity of Christian cultural traditions. This year's services will feature a new theatrical lighting system and new tableaux scenery that will incorporate recycled elements of the old structure.

The Feast of Lights has roots in Hanukah. Inspired by the Jewish Feast of Lights, the Bishop of Albany, the Right Reverend G. Ashton Oldham, created a liturgical candlelight procession as part of a seasonal service held during Epiphany at Albany Cathedral in New York State.

Impressed by the Albany event, organist and choirmaster, J. Williams Jones created a similar service in 1942 for the First Presbyterian Church of Rome, New York. The first California presentation of the feast was in December 1944, when it was celebrated at Calvary Church in Riverside using several choirs. \

With a presentation by the School of Music in 1947, Jones brought the feast to its present home at Redlands. That same year the tableau was added, marking the beginning of interdisciplinary collaborations with members from different departments within the university as well as with outside organizations.

From 1947 on, the maintenance department has provided outstanding assistance and cooperation in the mounting of the event. Beginning in about 1951, members from the theater department have lent their energies to several feast productions, including this year's celebration.

The feast has inspired many students and attendees. Serving as testament to such inspiration are the re-creations and reinterpretations of the Feast of Lights by University of Redlands alumni both in the U.S. and abroad. Some of the recreations have been done by well-known artists.

The feast has inspired many students and attendees. Serving as testament to such inspiration are the re-creations and reinterpretations of the Feast of Lights by University of Redlands alumni both in the U.S. and abroad. Some of the recreations have been done by well-known artists.

During its extensive history, the Feast of Lights has become, under the leadership of directors Jones and Rickard, one of the most recognizable and respected university traditions.

Its fame is nationwide and much of its music has been recorded. As stated by an early feast participant and University of Redlands faculty, the feast is "a tapestry of scripture, poetry, music and drama. Always recognizable at its core, it is ever new in the elements and changes that appear annually in its music, drama and overall structure."

Feast of Lights participants include: director Nicholle Andrews; chaplain John Walsh; choral conductor Jean-Sébastien Vallée; orchestral director Co Boi Nguyen; stage director Marco Schindelmann; costume and set designer Snezana Petrovic; costume assistant Deborah Bradford; lighting designer Kevin Palkki; and the Chapel Singers, Madrigal Singers, University Choir and the University of Redlands Orchestra.

Contact: Katie Ismael katie_ismael@redlands.edu  (909) 748-8387 (Phone)

Cogeneration Plant
Cogeneration Plant

The state-of-the-art power facility enables the University to produce a majority of its own energy and has reduced the campus’s carbon footprint by 33 percent.

Read More »