This year will bring a different type of Christmas Eve. Here’s what is happening:
Soldiers in World War I impulsively laid down their weapons and sang carols together on the battlefield 100 years ago this Christmas Eve, December 24, 1914. In memory of this famous “Christmas Truce,” and in honor of those seeking peace throughout the world, the bells of University Circle’s carillon will join a global musical event by playing the carol best known to English- and German-speaking troops a century ago, “Silent Night,” this Christmas Eve, December 24, 2014, at 7:14 p.m., or 19:14 in military time. The McGaffin Carillon is located at 11205 Euclid Avenue, in the block between Severance Hall and MOCA Cleveland.
All are invited to bundle up and listen to this playing of the carol from the Church of the Covenant lawn and parking area and Case Western Reserve University’s north campus. Members of the Church of the Covenant Choir will lead singing of the carol afterward. From 7:30 to 8 p.m., University Circle Carillonneur George Leggiero will play a recital of other carols mentioned in soldiers’ diaries and letters about the experience. Enjoy cocoa and cookies from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.
This is part of the project “Bells for Peace,” in which carillons throughout Europe, North America, Australia, and elsewhere will play “Silent Night” at 19:14 in their time zones. Leggiero’s 7:30 p.m. recital precedes an 8 p.m. prelude and carol sing and 8:30 p.m. candlelight service at the Church of the Covenant.
The Christmas Truce involved vast portions of the war’s Western Front, including German and Austro-Hungarian troops with British, French, Belgian, and Russian forces. Soldiers on both sides observed an impromtu ceasefire, tentatively emerging from their trenches, singing carols, trading gifts from their care packages, and wishing one another well in the other’s language as best they could, with at least one Christmas day makeshift soccer game documented. Bells for Peace is part of the larger Christmas Truce and Flanders Peace Field Project, whose center is the little city of Messines, Belgium, near where a soccer game took place.
See you along the Trail.