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Time to let those jolly wassailers in!

November 30, 2010

One of the oldest continuing holiday traditions in Orange County is the two-night presentation of Wassail by the Chapman University Conservatory of Music – now in its 47th year!  The annual Wassail is this weekend, Friday and Saturday, December 3 and 4 at 6 p.m., and there are still some tickets available if you hurry. 

Wassail, wassail!

And what exactly IS this Wassail, some of you (probably newer folks) will be asking?  Your evening at this beloved event begins as you wander down a pathway of luminarias with Chapman carolers and musicians serenading you.  You’ll enjoy traditional hot Wassail drink and appetizers at a jolly gathering in the Beckman Hall lobby as you listen to more live holiday music.  Then the crowd moves upstairs to the Bush Conference Center (Beckman 404) to dine on delectable holiday fare as singing servants (all members of the Chapman choirs) entertain you. 

Finally, you’ll stroll to the Wallace All Faiths Chapel in the Fish Interfaith Center, where you’ll be charmed by a concert of holiday music presented by the University Choir and University Singers, Stephen Coker, music director and conductor; University Women’s Choir, Angel Vázquez-Ramos, conductor; and the Chapman University Chamber Orchestra, Daniel Alfred Wachs, music director and conductor. A Christmas carol sing-along rounds out the joyous evening. And to top things off, the “Hallelujah Chorus” finale will be conducted by Dean of the College of Performing Arts Dr. William Hall — for his 47th consecutive year!

Wassail -- warms the toes and the nose.

The word “wassail” is a contraction of the Middle English greeting wæs hæil, meaning “be healthy.” It came to denote a spiced hot punch or mulled ale that became popular during the medieval period.  Still a cherished tradition in Britain, “wassailing” involves groups of carolers going from house to house, to be greeted by offerings of drink and food.  Chapman’s Wassail retains some vestiges of a medieval look – check out the armor on the wall during the reception – but in most respects the Chapman event trends more toward the Victorian era, with carolers dressed in Dickens-era costumes and a sumptuous repast that either a medieval king or Queen Victoria would have been proud of. 

 Your ticket includes the reception, the dinner and the concert.  Tickets on sale now at $65 each – call 714-997-6871 to buy yours now.  Don’t wait – this event always sells out!

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