Weaver Chapel was transported back in time last Friday, Feb. 4 for the University’s annual Candlemas service. No lights, no microphones; only candles and an all male choir singing medieval music.
The ceremony marks the presentation of Jesus in the Temple, one of the oldest festivals in the church’s Epiphany season. Emperor Justinian set the Feb. 2 date in 542, but this year the service had to be pushed back because of the ice storm.
In Roman times, the ceremony consisted of blessing candles, the namesake of the mass. That tradition continues today, and several candles were blessed in Friday’s service.
In addition to blessing candles, the mass features medieval music performed by the Schola Cantorum, a group of seven men from the Wittenberg Choir.
Junior Adam Paine, a tenor in the Schola Cantorum, thinks the service is a great experience.
“How often do you get the chance to do something the way it was done centuries ago? That time period is so far removed from ours that it’s rare actually connect with what people from then may have experienced.”
This was Paine’s third Candlemas service, and he said the music wasn’t hard to learn and a joy to sing.
“The way it’s written is meant to resonate and fill the whole space. The notes hang in the air when you sing, and when all you can see is from candle light, you feel like you’re somewhere else.”
Also, Wind in the Woods, a string ensemble from Yellowsprings, performed, playing songs from the 12th and 13th centuries on viola, recorder and crumhorns.
Reverend Anders Tune presided at the service and read a lecture written by Martin Luther. Tune explained that Luther would have experienced masses and heard music quite similar to what the audience experienced on Friday.
(Eric Werner / email@example.com)