This weekend, the 18th annual Christmas concert, “A Festival of Carols,” (FOC) will be held in-person at Goshen College in Sauder Concert Hall.

The featured ensembles are the GC Choirs — Voices of the Earth, Vox Profundi and Chamber Choir — the Goshen College Symphony Orchestra (GCSO), GCSO Brass and the GC Community School of the Arts Shout for Joy children’s choir.

Brian Mast, executive director of the Music Center and conductor of the GCSO, noted the significance of the return of live music: “This tradition is an important part of our offering to the community, and it just didn’t feel right not being able to perform live last year.”

Tickets for this popular event have always been reserved seating, as the tickets generally sell out. This year, however, Mast says that there is hope for those who still want seats.

“Because of the pandemic, there will likely be more seats available this year, as some of our patrons are not comfortable in large groups yet,” he said.

Scott Hochstetler, professor of music and conductor of Chamber Choir and Vox Profundi,   commented on the social function of the event. 

“For many of our audience members, our event signals the start of Christmas,” said Hochstetler. 

He said: “From the very opening child soprano solo in ‘Once in Royal David’s City’ to the ending climactic chords of ‘O Come, All Ye Faithful,’ Festival of Carols is a spiritual experience that you don’t want to miss!”

Joel Yoder, a senior chemistry and molecular biology double major who plays violin in the orchestra, feels comfortably challenged by the program. 

“The preparation is a bit frantic, like it usually is,” he said. “But since there are a lot of pieces used from year to year, it isn’t too stressful.” 

Though eager for the event, Yoder highlights one misfortune: “The orchestra really wanted to play ‘Sleigh Ride,’ but we were vetoed by the higher-ups. If there is widespread student support, maybe it will happen in the future?”

Ana Yoder, a first-year environmental science major who plays the violin in orchestra, also noted the missed opportunity: “I’m sad, and Brian is sad, and the whole orchestra is sad that we couldn’t perform ‘Sleigh Ride’ at the end of FOC … maybe someday that will be a possibility. We can only hope.”

COVID-19 precautions for this performance include the following: Face masks must be worn at all times while indoors regardless of vaccination status. Either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test (within 48 hours of the concert) is required for entrance into the venue.



Dec. 3, 2021 @ 7:30 pm

Dec. 4, 2021 @ 7:30 pm

Dec. 5, 2021 @ 4:00 pm


Sauder Concert Hall

Tickets: $15. Available at the Box Office (open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday to Friday) or by phone at (574) 535-7566. 

Tickets are reserved seating. Patrons are advised to purchase tickets as early as possible. The Sunday performance will be live-streamed to the public from Sauder Concert Hall.

GC students can get discounted tickets for the performances by stopping by the GC Box office in the Music Center and showing their ID.