As they have every year since 1959, members of the SMU community will be joined by friends from around Dallas for Advent worship on Thursday, December 5 at 6 p.m.
This year’s worship will mark three milestones: the 60th anniversary of Perkins’ Master of Sacred Music (MSM) program, the 80th anniversary of the Seminary Singers, and the 60th anniversary of the Advent service itself. Advent was first celebrated in Perkins Chapel in 1959, a tradition continued every year since.
This year’s guests include three choirs led by alumni of the MSM program. Each will perform an anthem, and all three choirs will gather to perform Jane Marshall’s “Song of Simeon.” Marshall, who passed way in 2019, had many ties to SMU and Perkins. The choirs are from Dallas area churches: Northaven United Methodist Church (choir directed by Stephanie Rhoades, M.S.M. ’96); University Park United Methodist Church (directed by Mark Pope, M.S.M. ’99); and Grace Avenue United Methodist Church of Frisco, Texas (directed by Laurie Hanson Roberts, M.S.M. ’90, and Bill Roberts, M.S.M. ’92). Worship will follow the classic “Lessons and Carols” format, plus a reading of one of Martin Luther’s sermons.
“Our service will focus on the legacy of Advent and Christmas worship here at SMU,” Marcell Silva Steuernagel, Assistant Professor of Church Music and Director of the Sacred Music Program at Perkins. “This legacy revolves around the idea of a community gathered to ‘await together’ the coming of the one who is Emmanuel. As we wait, we sing our expectation together. Because of this the service is not a ‘concert’ in presentational format, but participatory. Attendees will have the opportunity to hear anthems performed by MSM alumni and to sing several Christmas hymns as well.”