Despite a threat of rain, Lipscomb’s 12th annual Lighting of the Green carried on and gave back to students, faculty and the community by spreading some holiday cheer in front of the Bell Tower Tuesday night.
Amy Grant hosted the event, which featured special guest artists and choir students from the university and Lipscomb Academy.
Before the concert began, there was a “Christmas Marketplace” inside Allen Arena, complete with vendors, holiday treats and photo opportunities with Mr. and Mrs. Claus.
As host, Grant opened the concert discussing her partnership with summer camp Barefoot Republic. Through this partnership, Grant met Dave’s Highway, the Lipscomb-student band.
“Our first guests are students who were in the choir — someday they’ll be hosting this show — but they are a band called Dave’s Highway,” Grant said. “I got to know Erica, Delaney and Zach this summer when they come out to our farm and did the music for two weeks of day camp as part of Barefoot Republic.”
After Dave’s Highway played, series of performances from the Lipscomb choirs and more guests artists such as Grant, Matt Maher and Kim Keys performed.
Senior and public relations major Claire Grissom perfomed on stage as part of Lipscomb’s collegiate A Capella choir. Grissom said the choir practiced a couple of weeks after and during Thanksgiving to prepare for the concert, noting that she thinks the event is a good way to give back to the community and get everyone in the Christmas spirit.
“I love it! It’s so much fun,” Grissom said. “It’s a chance to be a part of the community with the Nashville artists like Amy Grant and Matt Maher coming in. It’s just a really great experience and such a great way to start the festivities of Christmas.”
After the main portion of the concert concluded, President Randy Lowry and his wife Rhonda Lowry then announced the winner of the Amy Grant scholarship award — sophomore and contemporary music major Ella McKelvey. This is the second year the award has been given, with last year’s scholarship awarded to Lipscomb student Sarah Wood.
“This is a wonderful woman studying contemporary music,” Rhonda Lowry said. “She is so wonderful and is so much in love with her art, that she wanted other students to have the art, and she knew that there were students who couldn’t afford to take piano lessons, so she has given her life to teaching piano lessons to students that could not afford it. Then she goes to teach it to those who can [pay] to help pay for her own education. She’s involved in non-profit work, and she’s a fine academic student at Lipscomb University.”
McKelvey had never met Grant before the night, but she accepted the award onstage with Grant, meeting her for the first time.
The show then continued with the annual lighting of the Christmas tree outside Allen Arena. Three Lipscomb student athletes, volleyball player Katy Bradley and cross country runners Sally Larson and Sandra Lee Ball, assisted President Lowry onstage with the lighting of the tree.
“12 years ago we started this tradition,” President Lowry said. Lowry noted that before the tradition of Lighting of the Green, Lipscomb’s way of giving back was by handing out frozen turkeys.
“This is a big improvement on that, and we get to celebrate this visual moment and this musical moment together.”
After a countdown to the 30-foot tall tree’s lighting, everyone in the audience was invited to sing the event’s traditional song “Silent Night” to close out the night and officially welcome the Christmas season.
Photos by Ben Davis and Charissa Ricker
Video by Tanner Allen, Ellen Butterfield and Brooke Dorris