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Kansas Wesleyan University

Kansas Wesleyan University’s annual Christmas by Candlelight concert is one of Katie Comley’s favorites.

“Christmas by Candlelight highlights not only different groups from high schools in the [Salina] community, but it’s all the ensembles,” said Comley, a 2018 graduate of Sterling High School. “I enjoy listening to and singing with my colleagues.” 

Additionally, choirs from Salina High School South, Salina High School Central, Southeast of Saline and Sacred Heart will perform. 

The performance is Sun. Dec. 5 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. in Sams Chapel on the campus of Kansas Wesleyan University in Salina. The concert is free; no tickets or advanced reservations are required. Doors will open one hour prior to each performance and the event will be streamed at

The Wesleyan Chorale and Philharmonic Choir perform alongside KWU’s Symphonic Orchestra at the annual event. 

“It’s also fun to sing with an orchestra,” Comley said. “It’s so powerful. Having an orchestra with you augments the experience – it’s magical.” 

There is a little extra magic this year, as the concert returns to an in-person format. In 2020, the performance was recorded and streamed.  

“In-person performances makes a world of difference,” Comley said. “Singing for an empty room and performing well can be a challenge. We as musicians feed off the audience and the community members [during a live performance].” 

Comley is a Music Education major.  

“I’m a choir nerd, I came for the choir,” said Comley, who was in choir all four years at Sterling High School. “We have different professors now, and they’re just as excellent.” 

This spring, she will student teach in Saline County, and graduate in May. Upon graduation, she said she plans to teach for a few years.  

“I want to take a bit of time to decide what I want to specialize in within the musical field before I enter a masters program,” she said.  

Story by Karen Bonar