Coordinating the Christmas Festival with Debbie Clark
By Madison Kobe ‘18
One of the most popular traditions at Carthage is the Christmas Festival held in the A. F. Siebert Chapel. The Festival features pieces performed by multiple choirs, bands, and the orchestra, as well as combined performances. Every year there is a rush to get tickets starting October 1. Because tickets go so fast, those unable to attend are able to watch the Festival stream live online. The Christmas Festival is one of the largest attractions Carthage hosts, spanning over three nights, December 2-4, 2016. I have worked as an usher at the Festival for the past two years, and I will be helping again this year, but as Box Office since we have a new ticketing system! Though I have been involved, I was never aware of all the hard-work that goes into creating the Festival, until I talked to Debbie Clark, the Assistant to the Campus Pastor, about it some more.
How long has the Christmas Festival been a Carthage tradition?
The Christmas Festival has been taking place for more than 20 years!
How long have you been coordinating the Christmas Festival?
This will be my 15th year as Festival Assistant.
What is your favorite part of the Christmas Festival?
My favorite part is the candle lighting…it chokes me up every year, no matter how many times I stand in the balcony. It’s an indescribable feeling to be standing with more than 1,300 lighted candles raised in the air, as we join the ensembles in singing Silent Night.
What is the biggest challenge of coordinating Christmas Festival?
My biggest challenge is ticketing. There are never enough tickets for everyone who would like to attend. This year we had distributed all tickets by the first week in November, which means for the next three weeks I’ve said had to say “I’m sorry, we are full” over and over again. Sometimes these are guests who have called and attended for years and now, because of timing, they will not be able to attend. It makes me a little sad…so I’m always anxious for the weekend to arrive so we can get on with the festivities.
What one thing would you change about the Christmas Festival, if anything at all?
I’m not sure if there’s anything I would change…unless it would be that I could assure that every person who wanted to attend could attend…but that would probably require more concerts, and I think hardly any of us would be up to working or singing for more!