Three months ago, it looked like the pandemic would end 21 consecutive years of "Christmas at PC," the Presbyterian College Department of Music's annual Christmas program. Because of concerns about safety, the Christmas tradition was on the verge of being canceled.
Then, the PC music professors found a way to continue the tradition. The music department decided to record the program this year instead of hosting it live on campus.
"Home for Christmas" will take place on Saturday, Dec. 5 at 7:30 and on Sunday, Dec. 6 at 3:00. The performances will air on Facebook.
"From a very pragmatic standpoint, more people are going to be able to participate," said music professor Dr. Christian Elser.
"What’s more, as the performance will be visible still after the livestream event, it’s something that folks can enjoy watching again, share with friends, or view at a time that is more convenient."
"Home for Christmas" will last a little more than an hour instead of an hour and a half, the length of Christmas at PC programs in the past.
This year's program will include Christmas classics like "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing!", "O, Holy Night," and a special rendition of "O Come, All Ye Faithful." The final number of the pre-recorded program will be a compilation of PC alumni singing "O Come, All Ye Faithful" as part of a virtual choir.
The rest of the program will be recorded in mid-November, before students return home for Thanksgiving. During the recording, and during all rehearsals leading up to it, students will follow the safety precautions that students have been following since they returned to campus in August.
"The arts are more necessary now than ever," Elser said. "We are living under a pandemic, economic uncertainty, and a polarized political environment along with all of our usual daily struggles.
"Producing something thoughtful, uplifting and beautiful, even under these unique circumstances is why we are moving forward with a Christmas program this fall."
Students have been practicing social distancing while performing in the chapel, Edmunds Hall, and on the loggia of Belk Auditorium. While Christmas at PC typically takes place in Belk Auditorium the performances will be recorded in Edmunds Hall.
The PC Department of Music is taking extra precautions in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Each of the performers will come into Edmunds Hall one at a time to be recorded. Spaces will be disinfected between each performance.
This year, PC President Bob Staton and physics professor Dr. Chad Rodekohr will read scripture during the program.
"Music encompasses the intellectual and spiritual in equal portions," Elser said. 'It helps create empathy, joy, and most importantly, hope. It speaks to our common humanity in a truly unique way."
To watch the 21st annual Christmas at PC, "At Home for Christmas," please visit PC's Department of Music Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PCDeptOfMusic. Even those without Facebook can watch the program.