Last night the holiday season arrived on campus complete with lights, food, music, and good fellowship.
In the late afternoon, on our way to the annual Holiday Dinner, Rick and I joined in the SGA Tree Lighting. We could hear the carol singing as soon as we left Sweet Briar House. Walking down Chapel Drive, toward the lighted tree, the Chapel backlit against the sunset, the singing students — well, it was simply spectacular. It was a mild and clear evening and as you can see several horses joined in the festivities. What you can’t see, because I’m not that good a cell-phone photographer, is that many of the horses, like their riders, were dressed for the occasion in reindeer antlers, santa hats, and other seasonal tack.
From there, it was off to Prothro for the Holiday Dinner. Nearly 150 members of the faculty and staff, with family members and guests, joined the students for an ample and traditional meal. There was ham, and roast beef, and turkey, and dressing, and gravy, and mashed potatoes, and green beans, and fresh rolls, and probably a great deal more that I simply didn’t have the capacity to try.
On the dessert table — buche de noel, various pies and pastries, little tiny cakes, and lots and lots of whipped cream. Standing at the doorway, welcoming all to the feast, I especially enjoy the festive outfits. (My personal favorite may have been the red and green striped “Santa’s Elf” boot socks that several students were sporting, although I didn’t get a good picture of those.)
And then, back to the Chapel for the Vespers service, the first led by new Chaplain Dori Baker. All of it was lovely — the greenery and candlelight, the swelling tones of the organ, the traditional readings — but I have to say that I was replaying the processional in my ear’s memory all night long. The more than 60 members of the choir performed an arrangement of a South African hymn accompanied by a drum ensemble led by music professor Jeff Jones. (Professor Jones was the arranger as well.) There was no way in the world to listen to that music without swaying and smiling and singing along. . .