GWU’s Annual Festival of Lights Returns Dec. 1

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Community Invited to Holiday Celebration Featuring Music, Tree Lighting

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Gardner-Webb University’s annual Festival of Lights marks the beginning of the Christmas season for many families, shares Dr. Paul Etter, professor and chair of the music department. “It has become one of our most well-attended concerts,” Etter adds. “We enjoy doing this event, and people enjoy coming.”

This year’s celebration is Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. in Dover Theatre, located next to the Lutz-Yelton Convocation Center (LYCC) on GWU’s Main campus. Doors open at 6:15 for the evening festivities, which are free and open to the public. A tradition that began at GWU in 1985, the Festival begins with a performance by the concert choir and chorale, directed by Etter. A variety of music will be featured along with multiple instrumental ensembles—flute, brass, handbells and a new group that includes fiddle, mandolin, banjo, guitar and bass. GWU Senior Minister to the University, Dr. Tracy Jessup, and GWU Provost and Executive Vice President Dr. Ben Leslie will read scriptures of the Advent season, including the Christmas story from the gospel of Luke.

After the concert, members of the audience and the GWU community will follow a path of luminaries as they walk across campus to the Quad to sing “Joy to the World” before the official lighting of the campus Christmas tree. Then, guests walk back through the lighted path to the Tucker Student Center for refreshments. The handbell choir and brass quintet will play a selection of carols while guests enjoy apple cider, cookies and an opportunity to shop the Gardner-Webb Christmas Art Sale, open until 9 p.m. Students sell art they have created in their studio classes to generate money for the art department and the Art Club. The sale also features artwork by GWU professors and artists from the community.

Auxiliary aids will be made available to persons with disabilities upon request 48 hours prior to the event. Please call 704-406-4253 or email with your request.

Located in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb University’s purpose is to advance the Kingdom of God through Christian higher education by preparing graduates for professional and personal success, instilling in them a deep commitment to service and leadership, and equipping them for well-rounded lives of lasting impact, Pro Deo et Humanitate (For God and Humanity).