20th Christmas at PC Rings in the Season for Clinton
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Clinton this year. The city’s official Christmas tree is up beside the train tracks downtown, and the light poles on Main Street are decorated with bells, stockings and other symbols of the Christmas season.
It’s beginning to sound a lot like Christmas too. If you made it out to Belk Auditorium on the PC campus last weekend -- or if you were driving down South Broad Street and listened closely on Saturday, Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 2 at 3 p.m. -- you could hear those from the community and beyond bringing in the Christmas season with song.
Folks from right here in Clinton, those who drove from as far away as Wilmington, N.C., and St. Augustine, Fla., and PC students all sang “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing!” and O Come, All Ye Faithful” in unison.
The audience joined the PC Choir in the more traditional Christmas song, a Huron carol called “‘Twas in the Moon of Wintertime” too. The songs were all part of Christmas at PC, the annual Christmas performance that PC has hosted for the past 21 years.
The three songs represent what the annual concert is all about: A time for the college and the community to come together as one to ring in the Christmas season.
“Each and every year I hear very kind people tell me that their Christmas season truly begins with attending one of the performances on the first weekend of December,” said Dr. Ron Davis, the chair of PC’s music department and director of Christmas at PC.
Davis has been a part of the Christmas concerts since 2004. In the past, he’s played the piano and the organ. He’s also conducted the men's choir and the handbell choir. This year was Davis’ first time directing the entire performance.
Davis started working on shaping the concert for the community back in the late spring. That’s when the Department of Music began considering themes and looking at a repertoire for this year’s show. This year’s Christmas at PC was called “and the angels sang.”
The year’s selections struck a nice balance between traditional and popular, which has been a challenge each year.
“Shaping a program which captures the essence of the season without becoming maudlin, sentimental, or bowing to the pressures of becoming more secular in approach is a challenge faced for many years by my predecessor, Dr. Porter Stokes, and, of course, by me this year,” Davis said.
The concert hit the right notes with performances by PC’s choirs, handbell choir and a Christmas orchestra. Readings from Matthew and Luke complemented the music.
Dr. Jack Presseau has attended every Christmas at PC performance. The former PC religion professor drove down from Hendersonville, N.C., to attend this year’s show.
“You could see the spirit and excitement in the students’ voices,” he said. “It was a well-selected program with a good variety. It wasn’t in your face, but it was acknowledging that it was a high holy day for the Christian church.”
The students, including Hannah Davidson, a senior from Clinton, began working on the concert in August.
“Although there is a lot of time and hard work that goes into making this concert possible,” Davidson said, “the end result always amazes me, and I know the local community enjoys the performance as well.
“It's always nice to look out in the crowd and see people that I know from my community coming to support me and PC.”
Nine months is a long time to work on a performance that lasts nearly two hours. But it’s worth all the hard work to share such an important message during a concert that is distinctly Clinton.
“While the lights and trees may already be lit by performance time,” Davis said, “the spirit of Christmas at PC is the event which brings to mind the real reasons we celebrate Christmastide -- the coming of a child who brings salvation to the world.”
About PC: Presbyterian College is between Columbia and Greenville, in the college town of Clinton, S.C. At PC, we’re noted as much for our challenging academics as we are for our one-of-a-kind mascot: the Blue Hose. Our students are one-of-a-kind too: They bring their own interests and abilities to campus and pursue them with gusto. Students customize their education by choosing from 50-plus majors and pre-professional programs. They’re taught and mentored by a faculty whose #1 priority is their students’ success. Students research, intern, and study abroad. And they get involved on campus, a place defined by honor and ethics. PC prepares students to be fulfilled personally and professionally so they can contribute to today’s global society.