Carols by Candlelight offers free annual celebration through music | News, Sports, Jobs

Courtesy Dave Lewis

The popular Utah Children’s Choir to perform at Carols by Candlelight. Courtesy Dave Lewis

Ask just about anyone who celebrates Christmas what helps get them in the spirit, and one answer will be given over and over again. The music—both what they sing and hear.

To make this Christmas season brighter, the Provo Community Congregational United Church of Christ, located at 175 N. University Avenue, will be hosting the 44th Annual Carols by Candlelight event for two nights this year.

The Christmas celebration will be at 7 pm on Sunday, Dec. 11, and Monday, Dec. 12, in the church’s historic sanctuary. Doors open at 6:30 pm with a Carol-In at 6:45 pm

All community members are invited to attend. The evening will include music provided by the Utah Valley Interfaith Choir, Utah Children’s Choir, Heritage Bagpipes, vocalist Serena Kanig Benish, accompanists Kalynne Wise and Heidi Rodeback and pianists Brittney Kirk and Lisa Tensmeyer Hansen. Narration will be by award-winning songwriter, playwright and broadcaster Steven Kapp Perry, along with his wife Johanne Frechette Perry, a private school drama teacher.

Additional messages will be provided by Kapp Perry and Pastor Alex Brown. The night will also showcase over 130 beautiful crèches, or nativities.

Courtesy Dave Lewis

The Heritage Bagpipes will perform at Carols by Candlelight.

Carols by Candlelight began in 1978 and has become a tradition spanning now over four decades. Long-time Provo residents Shirley and Monroe Paxman, now deceased, started this now-beloved event at their home with an evening of scripture, carol singing and, of course, candle lighting to celebrate of the birth of Jesus Christ.

Word quickly spread about the Paxman’s holiday event. As its popularity grew, Carols by Candlelight became too large to house within their home and sought a larger venue. The Provo Community Church became part of this tradition as hundreds came to be experience the spirit and magic of the evening.

Now, under the artistic direction of David Lewis, planning for the event begins a year or more in advance, with participation from various talented performers, groups and narrators from a range of backgrounds within Utah Valley.

The Provo Community Church was founded in 1891 by members from varying religious backgrounds coming together for a stronger presence in a growing Utah Valley community.

The church has grown from a humble Sunday school class to a well-known church and community center in downtown Provo. The church is currently raising funds to repair, restore, renovate and expand this community cornerstone to help the church remain an open and continue its mission as an affirming-faith organization as it persists as one of the only places for inspirational secular community gatherings in downtown provo

Courtesy Dave Lewis

The Utah Valley Interfaith Choir, a yearly part of the ongoing tradition, will perform again at Carols by Candlelight.

Donations and more information about the campaign can be found at

The public congregation celebrating Christmas at Carols by Candlelight.

Steven Kapp Perry and his wife, Johanne, will narrate the 2022 Carols by Candlelight.


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