Ask older alumnae of Rowland Hall what their favorite tradition is, and many will name Candle and Carol. Modeled after the English Lessons and Carols services of the late 19th century, the Rowland Hall evening program began in 1917 as a celebration of the holiday season. Traditionally held in St. Margaret's Chapel, and later at St. Mark's Cathedral, the service includes music, scripture readings, and dances performed by students.
This December, Rowland Hall will present its 100th Candle and Carol service. In preparation for the celebration, Interfaith Chaplain Jeremy Innis and Director of Ethical Education Ryan Hoglund sought ways to honor our school's history while engaging as many members of the community as possible. They brought back the candle processional, a much-loved part of the service eliminated in recent years for practical reasons, including safety—it will be staged with small battery-powered candles this year. Alumna Jodie Ray Hunt '58 will be giving one of the evening's readings, and Mr. Hoglund and Mr. Innis, along with Director of Events Mary Anne Wetzel '01, hope that many local alumni will attend.
"This is the largest group of current students we've ever had participate," Mr. Innis said, noting that Candle and Carol was traditionally an Upper School program and including the Lower School chorus, Middle School orchestra, and Middle School choir is new this year. "Every choir in the school will join together to sing Bach's 'Break Forth O Beauteous Heavenly Light.' It should be really special."
Guests will be able to enjoy a photo display of Candle and Carol memories, as well as a reception hosted by Home and School. Mr. Hoglund hopes that people leave the service with a sense of our community's longevity and that they feel "a part of something built on tradition, but continually evolving." He and Mr. Innis also emphasized the importance of giving during the holiday season—this year Rowland Hall is collecting donations for recently settled refugees via the International Rescue Committee's Light One Candle initiative.
The 100th Candle and Carol service will celebrate tradition and give everyone at our school—young and old, religious or not—an opportunity to come together and share in the power of art and music. If everything goes as planned, it may echo the sentiments expressed in Rowland Hall's 1945 yearbook: "Candle and Carol is our most impressive service of the year. Amid the boughs of pine trees and the dim light of candles, the mellow voices of the students float out to add beauty to the festive season."
Candle and Carol takes place 7 pm December 7 at the Cathedral Church of St. Mark, 231 East 100 South in downtown Salt Lake City. Parking is limited, and guests should plan to arrive early.