Jim's Blog: Observations and Perspectives

The Lights Are Turned On


An Annual Event We’ve Grown to Love

The first Friday of each December marks an event in Greenville, SC, that my family and I have grown to love. It was one of the first things we experienced after we moved into the area in 2010.

“You must get to see the turning on of the lights,” said our friend, Derek. “It’s a great celebration!” He was referring to a half-hour of singing of carols open-air on the campus of Bob Jones University.

It’s generally a week or so after Thanksgiving each year that it takes place. Organized as a special event to which everyone is welcome, regardless of their association or otherwise with the school, at the event members of the University Choir sing,  a few soloists perform, and many of the old favorite Christmas carols are sung by the one or two thousand bystanders. Large overhead screens prompt the words (with some images to tie in with the theme of the songs), and amplified piano music helps the music along.

On the Twelve Days of Christmas

A favorite for our son, Matthew, is “The Twelve Days of Christmas.” This is always carefully managed, with various people-types in the audience assigned the different verses–such as the freshmen, seniors, juniors, the choir, men only and women only, andthose standing on the bridge or other locations each taking a part.

As well as there being a short address from the President of the University each year, there is always the turning on of the lights. There has been intensive preparation for this–there are 100,000 light bulbs clustered around the campus, involving 3,000 feet of garland–these are turned on at a point during the singing of “O Holy Night.” Especially prominent is a column of light that shines up from near a nativity scene at the campus main gate.



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