September 10, 2002
The first time I attended the School of Music's combined choirs Christmas concert in Jones Concert Hall was memorable.
The hall was packed with people from the community as well as from Baylor. The lights in the hall had been turned low and from the back of the auditorium, in walked the 300-plus choristers, holding lighted candles. Their voices rising in splendid harmony, they moved down the outer aisles, filled the stage and surrounded the seated audience. As breathtaking a vision as it was to be in the midst of those candlelit faces, I closed my eyes and let their music transport me. Those hundreds of pure, perfect voices uplifted me till it was easy to imagine I was in the presence of all the angels in heaven singing God's praises. As I sat there, eyes closed and tears slipping down my cheeks, I worshiped. It was one of the best Christmas gifts I've ever received.
Many of you have your own special memories of Christmas at Baylor. The campus shares its best for this holiest of seasons -- from the twinkling lights at dusk that outline Pat Neff and the carillonneur's ringing of Christmas favorites to the spectacularly decorated tree in the Bill Daniel Student Center and the concerts provided by the School of Music. And if you've ever heard the Chamber Singers in Armstrong Browning Library, you always will carry Baylor Christmas in your heart.
In this issue, we bring those memories back to you in our pictorial feature starting on page 34. We hope it helps prepare your spirit for the holiday season.
As we were putting this issue together in early August, Christmas was a long way off. Instead of being lulled by the dog days of summer (which start early and last a long time in Texas), the Baylor community suddenly was jolted into hyperactivity when President George W. Bush announced he would hold his Economic Forum here in August. In Waco, we've grown accustomed to swirling helicopters and circling military jets when the president is at his ranch in nearby Crawford -- but even we were agog at the level of activity that preceded the forum. White House advance teams came in throngs and worked long hours with Baylor personnel to ready the campus for the occasion. By the time you get this issue of Baylor Magazine, you will have seen coverage of the event, but what you won't have seen is what happened behind the scenes. Look for "the rest of the story," as Paul Harvey says, beginning on page 6.
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