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Six children have been selected to sing the solo portions of the traditional Moravian hymn "Morning Star" at the six Moravian and Moravian Theological Seminary Christmas Vespers services this December.
The Moravian College Choir, conducted by Paula Ring Zerkle, will be featured in the services that will be held December 3-5 and 10-12 in Central Moravian Church, Main and Church streets, Bethlehem.
Members of the Moravian College music department chose the following soloists to sing at the annual vespers program:
Lauren Strohl, 11, daughter of Zoeanne and Rodney Strohl, is a 5th grade student at S.S. Palmer Elementary in Palmerton, Pennsylvania. Lauren is the cousin of Heather Hillegass, a member of the Moravian College choir member. Lauren will be the featured Morning Star soloist at the December 3 service.
David Kemmerer, 10, son of Barbara Doyle Kemmerer and Donald Kemmerer, is a 4th grade student at Governor Wolf Elementary in Bethlehem. Both parents are alumni from the class of ’76. David will be the featured Morning Star soloist at the December 4 service.
Brett Wimmer, 11, son of The Reverend Mark Wimmer (’76) and Leesa Wimmer, is a 4th grade student at Quakertown Elementary. Brett will be the featured Morning Star soloist at the December 5 service.
Emily Gasda, 9, daughter of Larry and Elise Gasda, is in the 4th grade at Spring Garden Elementary in Bethlehem. Emily's mother is an alumna from the class of ’77 and former member of the Moravian College choir. Emily will be the featured Morning Star soloist at the December 10 service.
Elizabeth Brodt, 9, daughter of Ralph Brodt III (’75) and Christina Brodt, is in the 4th grade at Christ the King School in Coplay, Pennsylvania. Elizabeth will be the featured Morning Star soloist at the December 11 service.
Alex Sevilla Queen, 10, son of Alicia Sevilla and Clifford Queen, is in the 5th grade at Hanover Elementary in Bethlehem. Alex's mother is a faculty member at Moravian College. Alex will be the featured Morning Soloist at the December 12 service.
The Morning Star hymn is traditionally sung with a child soloist and each year auditions are held for the positions. Moravian Theological Seminary graduate Francis Florentine Hagen composed "Morning Star" in 1836.
The soloist, choir, and congregation join in singing the hymn as the church lights are dimmed and the beeswax candles are distributed by members of the college and seminary community. Moravian College’s tradition of celebrating the Christmas season with special vespers services dates back to 1742.
Liturgists for the six services will be Dr. Ervin J. Rokke, president of the college and seminary; Dr. David A. Schattscheider, dean and vice president of the seminary; J. Thomas Minor, library director for the college and seminary; Beverly G. Kochard, vice president for student affairs and dean of students; Dennis A. Domchek, senior vice president for administration; and Charles Norman, Chaplain of Moravian College. Presiding during the services will be J. Christian Giesler, Chaplain, Moravian College and Theological Seminary.
During the services, seminary students will read text from the New Testament, college students will read text form the Old Testament, and members of the faculty and administration will offer prayers.
The Christmas Vespers services are held for the immediate college community. Because of overwhelming demand, limited seating is available for the public by ticket only. A limited number of tickets are distributed to those making written requests months in advance.