Candles and Carols is a 57-year tradition that the School of Music, Theatre and Dance (SMTD) puts on each December.
“It started when a group of people would gather in Park Place Church and sing carols together,” Dr. Jeffrey Wright, the dean of the SMTD said. “Gradually, we began to add components from the department.”
According to Wright, it is an opportunity for the community to gather at the beginning of the holiday season and enjoy fellowship.
“Through the show, we are reminded of the central message of the Christmas story and its significance to us,” he said.
In the past decade, the dance department has become a significant part of the show.
“We had a growing, vibrant dance program,” Wright said. “We knew that people would love to see that on stage, so we found a way to incorporate that into the evening.”
This year, they will be dancing live to a piece sung by the AU Chorale.
Sophomore dance major Izabella Kelly-Rigney expressed that this event is strictly reserved for the underclassmen dance majors to have the opportunity to perform.
“Usually as a freshman, you don’t get to be in Fall into Dance,” Kelly-Rigney said. “So Erich Yetter uses Candles and Carols as the first big dance performance we do.”
With Kelly-Rigney entering her freshman year at the height of COVID-19, she hasn’t had the opportunity to perform live on the Reardon stage yet.
“I don’t know what it’s like to dance in college in front of my friends,” she said. “I’m really excited to be able to do that.”
Planning for this year’s show began at the end of last semester, and rehearsals have been going on for about a month.
“I have the pleasure of coordinating with all of the faculty, as well as the Reardon staff,” Wright said.
Senior musical theatre major Morgan Budd has performed every year in the show as part of AU’s Women’s Chorus (now Vola Voce) and Chorale.
“It’s a great way for the department to come together and feel as one,” she said. “It’s such a moving experience.”
The show will be live in Reardon Auditorium on December 3, 2021 at 7:30 p.m. It will also be live-streamed on the department’s Facebook and Vimeo pages. “Please come and experience the Christmas vibes with us,” Budd said. “If you’re a reminiscent senior like me, you don’t want to miss this opportunity to come together and be one.”