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First Lutheran to host Christmas Carol Sing

Published: Friday, Nov. 22, 2013 3:13 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Nov. 22, 2013 3:25 p.m. CDT
(BCR photo/Terri Simon)
Larry E. Peterson practices some Christmas carol selections on the organ at First Lutheran Church in Princeton. Peterson will accompany on the organ the church’s old-fashioned Christmas Carol Sing, set for 2 p.m. Dec. 8. The event is free and open to the public. No offering or collection will be taken.

PRINCETON — Other than a holiday tree and a nativity scene, there aren’t many things that generate thoughts of an old-fashioned holiday as do Christmas carols. From holly-jolly tunes like “Jingle Bells” to the quiet and beautiful versions of “Silent Night,” Christmas carols tie the masses together in a solitary celebration of Christmas.

When is the last time you got together with a group of folks and sang Christmas carols to bring in the holidays? When is the last time you leaned your head back, closed your eyes and listened to those around you belt out one Christmas carol after another — as memories of days gone by danced like visions of sugarplums in your head?

With those thoughts in mind, the congregation at First Lutheran Church of Princeton has organized its first old-fashioned Christmas Carol Sing. The event is set for 2 p.m. on Dec. 8 at the church, located at 116 N. Pleasant St. in Princeton. The event will run about an hour.

“This event will give you the chance to sing Christmas carols you know and love,” said Dick Dorsch, one of the organizers of the Christmas Carol Sing. “It’s going to be a folksy-type of event, not stuffy at all.”

Dorsch stressed the event is not a religious-based activity, rather a time for area folks to gather together and sing the Christmas carols they know and love.

“We’re looking at this as our gift to the community,” he said of the church’s wish to share the sounds of Christmas with area residents.

To help add to the festive spirit of the Christmas carols, Larry B. Peterson will accompany the crowd on the organ. Peterson is the director of music for Augustana College Campus Ministries and instructor of organ for the Augustana Department of Music in Rock Island. He holds a bachelor’s degree in music from Augustana and a master’s degree in music from the Eastman School of Music.

In addition to serving as director of music in various Lutheran congregations in Texas, Minnesota and Iowa, Peterson has served in leadership roles in several professional organizations. He has also been active as a recitalist and clinician; he is currently active in composition and frequently writes for the Augustana choral ensembles. The father of 10 children, he is currently the director of music and the organist at St. James Lutheran Church in Rock Island.

“I’ve seen (Peterson) before, and he lifted me out of the pew,” Dorsch said of the music that flows from Peterson on the organ.

Peterson, who came to Princeton a few weeks ago to get the feel of the organ at First Lutheran, said he’s excited about the Christmas Carol Sing.

“I think this will be fun ... It will be less of a concert, but more of a big family sing-a-long. This is a Norman Rockwell kind of thing,” he said. “I hope people will come and enjoy.”

Dorsch said there is no fee to attend, and no offering will be taken. Refreshments will be served in the church’s Fellowship Hall after the sing-a-long. The public is invited.

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