By Anthony Hinkelman
Immaculate Conception Church in Fayetteville hosted the annual Advent Lessons and Carols, an ecumenical gathering of choirs throughout the Fayetteville-Manlius area, on Sunday, Dec. 5. Typically more than a dozen choirs participate.
In preparation for Christmas, Advent carols were sung with a combination of group performances and solos. Scripture readings were also read in relation to the Advent season.
Sister Monica Zmolek, OSF, expected a sizable crowd, up to 700 or more people, a size that only the Immaculate Conception church can hold in the area. Sister Monica is a parish minister at Immaculate Conception.
“The choir alone takes up a quarter of the church,” she said.
The celebration is a small part of what used to be the St. Nicholas Festival. The festival honored St. Nicholas’s giving nature to instill those same values for the coming of Christmas.
“In a way it combated the material things that were going on during Advent,” explained Sister Monica.
Twenty years in, the festival retains only the carols and readings, but still sticks to its same purpose, promoting the giving nature of Christmas.
The carols are performed with this in mind, through varying solo and choir songs. “Once in David’s Royal City,” for instance, is usually sung by a young boy, according to Sister Monica. “O come, O come, Emmanuel,” however, is delivered by a full chorus.
In the spirit of Christmas, participants bring in canned food that is donated to the Fayetteville-Manlius food pantry.