December 9, 2023 // Diocese

Luers Highlights Spirit of Christmas with Lessons and Carols

When one attends the Lessons and Carols Concert at Bishop Luers High School, they should expect to be drawn in by the beautiful sacred music, Scripture readings, and artwork in the school’s Chapel of St. Francis of Assisi. This annual Bishop Luers tradition is a concert revolving around nine Scripture passages and nine hymns pertaining to each passage. Each of the lessons provides a reflection on the true reason of the Christmas season, and it is a unique opportunity to hear the Bishop Luers High School Choir mixed with BLHS alumni voices.

Photos by Georgia Lieb
Members of the Bishop Luers Choir perform a Lessons and Carols Concert in the school’s chapel in 2022.

Karlene Krouse, Chair of the school’s Performing Arts Department, came up with the idea for the school to perform Lessons and Carols in 2016. She worked on this project during the fall to make Christ the focal point of the Advent and Christmas seasons, following the guidelines of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops when selecting the music and Scripture passages. Krouse directed the first concert on December 19, 2016. That first performance led to another, and it soon became an annual tradition at Bishop Luers. In the 2017-18 school year, Krouse handed on the concert responsibilities to Choir Director Kris Andorfer, who had also been involved with the program since the beginning.

Krouse has continued to be involved, playing piano for the show for the past five years. Last year, she invited BLHS alumni to participate in the event alongside current students. Her favorite part about Lessons and Carols, she told Today’s Catholic, is “Listening to the Gospel message and the story of Christmas through the words of Our Lord.”

Andorfer has continued with the program ever since. “It’s a special performance after the hustle and bustle of the semester for the high school kids,” he said. “It’s a nice chance for stillness and intimacy and helps calm us down for break and Christmas.”

Lessons and Carols is an intimate concert – a combination of a performance and a prayer service. Andorfer chooses one student to read the Scripture passages between each hymn, someone who is a leader among their peers. The songs range from hymns to contemporary choral music. No microphones are needed in the chapel, as it is acoustically resonant. Andorfer himself performs “Every Valley” acapella from Handel’s “Messiah,” surprising the audience with the operatic qualities in his voice.

When asked what he enjoys about the concert, Andorfer said: “It is really fun to use my craft a little differently and see the reaction of the kids. It’s cool, it’s like being a part of the team. It really showcases our whole department, too.” It is a group effort, as Krouse plays the piano and Band Director Adam Hanke performs on the acoustic guitar.

Jan Serrani, Campus Minister at Bishop Luers, has attended Lessons and Carols and said she has had a great experience. “Lessons and Carols is inspiring because the choir tells a story based on Scripture,” she said. “This elevates my Advent journey. It’s a wonderful celebration for the entire family to enjoy during the Advent season!”

The 2023 Lessons and Carols Concert will be held on Sunday, December 10, at 3 p.m. in the Bishop Luers chapel. It is free and open to the public.

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