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News Release

Morning Star Soloists Chosen for Moravian College Christmas Vespers Program

Four 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 Dec. 4-6 and 11-13 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:

Katherine Gardner, 10, daughter of Martha and Randy Gardner, is a 5th grade student at High Point Elementary School in Pasadena, MD. She is the granddaughter of Sue Schafer, an employee at Moravian College. Katherine will be the featured Morning Star soloist at the December 4 and 5 services.

Thomas Kingston, 10, son of Leslie and Richard Kingston of Bethlehem, is a 5th grade student at Moravian Academy. His father is a Moravian College alumnus. Thomas will be the featured Morning Star soloist at the December 6 service.

Joshua Thomas, 9, son of Linda and Russell Thomas of Nazareth, is a 5th grade student at Shafer Elementary School. He is the brother of Ellen Thomas Saylor, a Moravian College student. Joshua will be the featured Morning Star soloist at the December 11 and 12 services.

Katie White, 11, daughter of Tammy and Jesse White of New Tripoli, is a 6th grade student at Northwestern Middle School. She is the cousin of Jennifer Coffin, a Moravian College student. Katie will be the featured Morning Star soloist at the December 13 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; Bettie Smolansky, interim dean of the faculty; Robert Huth, former 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.