KWU hosts Christmas by Candlelight

Written by on December 4, 2023

By Elijah Resano / Staff Writer

Last Friday, the Kansas Wesleyan University Department of Music held the annual Christmas by Candlelight event, with this year’s theme being: “Prince of Peace.”

This year highlights the differences in how the spirit of Christmas is enjoyed by cultures from around the world. Select songs taken from cultures in Europe, South America and Africa were brought to the audience by the large ensemble of performers. The show consisted of performances in choral and orchestral music to dramatic theatre performances.

A short video showing different individuals from Kansas Wesleyan saying the word “peace” in their native tongue was also shown to amplify this year’s message of bringing peace to the world.

Performers rehearse Christmas by Candlelight the day before show day. / Photo by Elijah Resano


The format of this year’s event contrasted with that of previous years. A conglomerated group, consisting of the KWU Orchestra, Philharmonic Choir and Wesleyan Chorale, Coronado Elementary School Choir, Sacred Heart Choir, Salina Central High School Free Spirit, Salina South High School New Dawn and Southeast of Salina Madrigal Singers, created a soothing harmony of music that brought the warmth of Christmas to the audience.

According to Dr. Leonardo Rosario, KWU Director of Strings and this year’s Producer/Music Director for Christmas by Candlelight, the reason for this decision was to ensure that everyone got heard in an equally impactful manner and to prevent a competition-like event.

“We would invite those schools to come, the choirs, and we would highlight [Salina] Central, Salina South, and then Southeast [of Saline], they would always sing something by themselves,” Rosario said. “This year we’re doing everything together, all the pieces that we’re singing. I think it will be more impactful to the kids that are participating as well as the audience. We tried to avoid this to be like a choir competition like it was in the past. I didn’t want this to happen.”

Rosario mentioned that he is proud to include other forms of media in this year’s Christmas by Candlelight. The inclusion of theatre performances as well as dance, and the combination of the different groups performing together plays well into the theme of peace. It evokes a sense of togetherness that the world badly needs at a time when multiple crises occur.

“There’s a lot of things that we’re doing differently, but for me, the most important one is that we’re trying to highlight music from different countries, so there’s a touch of diversity. I think that everything we’re trying to do is upbeat and highlighting different cultures. Our title is Prince of Peace, especially with what is going on in the world this year, I think that the message we’re trying to bring is relevant. I hope that its something that the audience relates to.”

Christmas is a celebration that is uniquely celebrated by different people from around the world. This year’s Christmas by Candlelight highlights just that. 

“We hope that with everything involved, we can touch hearts and we can start to bring peace to the world.” Rosario said.

Christmas By Candlelight can be rewatched here:


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