December 3, 2023, marks the 85th presentation of the Williamsport Music Club’s annual CHRISTMAS MUSIC BY CANDLELIGHT. The only year missed was 2020 due to COVID 19.
The service, held on the first Sunday in December, is the club’s Christmas gift to the community.
The first such service was at the First Baptist Church in 1937. The beautifully decorated sanctuary was the setting for boys in choir robes serving as ushers with members carrying lighted red candles and processing to “Adeste Fideles” as the congregation joined in the singing of the hymn.
For the next three years the service was held at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and in 1941 was moved to First United Methodist where it remained until 2014.
From then to the present, Pine St. United Methodist Church has been its home.
During the earlier years they fondly remember Miss Eva Buck’s cornet introduction to the first hymn, Mrs. John R. Kauffman III ringing her swiss bells, their own string ensemble, and three vocal ensembles: Juvenile, Junior (Student) and Senior — all of which appeared regularly to capacity audiences.
It is interesting to note that the last remaining charter member, Dorothy Jacobs Streeter, died in 2012, 75 years after she capably served as chairperson of the very first service.
Also, Mary Landon Russell, another charter member and well-known and beloved pianist and teacher who died in 2008, played numerous times at services throughout the years.
The oldest living member, Jane Keyte Landon, has served many times so well as piano soloist or accompanist, too.
Traditionally, a free will offering at this service is given to a local charity. This year is the American Rescue Workers.
As they present their 85th CHRISTMAS MUSIC BY CANDLELIGHT service on December 3rd, at 4:00 p.m., all are welcome to enjoy our musical gift to the community.