Lillenas Music premieres Christmas musical at Carnegie Hall
Lillenas Music, a subsidiary of The Foundry Publishing, premiered its Christmas musical “Then Christ Came” at a sold-out Carnegie Hall in New York City, New York, on 20 November 2023 during the 13th annual Christmas in New York concert.
The musical, arranged by Cliff Duren, was performed by the FBC Woodstock Worship Choir, which featured 200 members plus an accompanying orchestra. An 85-piece children’s choir also performed in part of the musical.
According to Lillenas Music Director Mark Parker, the producer and organizer of the event at Carnegie Hall reached out to Cliff Duren to see if there was anything that he was working on that might fit the event. Duren offered up, “Then Christ Came.”
“He developed this product with [this stage] in mind,” Parker said. “So, we were thrilled that Lillenas had an opportunity to premiere a musical at Carnegie Hall.”
Parker was thrilled to see how the Carnegie Hall crowd turned the event into a worship experience.
“Among the sold-out auditorium were 250 people from the UN (United Nations) at this concert,” Parker said. “It was extremely worshipful. It was a sanctuary at that point.”
“Then Christ Came” is scheduled to be available for the 2024 Christmas season.
Lillenas Music is approaching its 100th anniversary in 2024. It was founded by longtime Nazarene pastor, also hymn and songwriter Haldor Lillenas in 1924. The Foundry Publishing (then Nazarene Publishing House) purchased the company from Lillenas in 1930. Lillenas Music is the only remaining denominationally-owned music publishing company.
Since its founding, Lillenas Music has provided the denomination with Wesleyan-Holiness-focused music arranged in various ways. From choral arrangements to modern arrangements of hymns and quick tabs available for popular worship music heard on the radio, Lillenas has also produced five musicals just this calendar year.
While many churches have moved to praise bands for Sunday worship, Parker acknowledged that many churches still have choirs.
“There are still a lot of choirs out there,” Parker said. “So, from the choir of ten to 200 and Carnegie Hall, we want to meet those needs.”
Lillenas was heavily involved at the 30th General Assembly and Conventions in June 2023. According to Parker, 13 songs used were Lillenas titles, specifically Wesleyan-Holiness-themed songs. Recently, Lillenas embarked on a hymns project to re-arrange classic holiness-focused hymns.
“I’m pleased we’re here nearly 100 years later and looking to see how we can continue to serve the Church,” Parker said.
For more information on Lillenas Music, click here.