Signature and Special Events in Music

Music has always played a central role at Mount Holyoke College. All incoming students learn to sing the Alma Mater with the Glee Club, the Family and Friends concerts are a highlight for visitors each Fall, and no commencement is complete without the Baccalaureate Concert. Over our almost two centuries of history, the music department has developed unique musical traditions that are now central to campus life.

Signature Events

These signature events are the highlight of an ensemble's annual calendar and celebrate through music, the many facets of life at the college.

A group of singers in the fall leaves

Family and Friends Weekend Concert

Each October, the Music Department contributes two concerts to the festivities surrounding the Annual Family and Friends Weekend.

Friday night kicks off the fun with a free Jazz Ensembles concert at Chapin Auditorium, followed by a dessert reception.

On Saturday the Choral Ensembles and the Symphony Orchestra join forces to present a diverse selection of repertoire at Abbey Chapel, culminating with a combined work featuring the Family and Friends Choir. All family members and friends are invited to participate in a fun and engaging rehearsal to sing together and learn the combined piece the morning of the concert.

A group of students in costumes outside Abbey Chapel

Monster’s Ball

Monster’s Ball is Mount Holyoke College's annual Halloween dance party! The concept is simple: come costumed and dance to waltzes and polkas by the Waltz King himself, Johann Strauss Jr. In between, enjoy featured film scores that are a part of each year's theme. The event is held in our own Abbey Memorial Chapel, artfully decorated in cobwebs and other creepy objects!

The view from the Abbey Chapel balcony during a Vespers concert

Holiday Vespers

A cherished tradition at Mount Holyoke celebrating light and togetherness on a cold December night.

Learn more about Vespers
A cutout image of Mount Holyoke founder Mary Lyon

Mary Lyon Concert

Instrumental music has been at the core of Mount Holyoke College since our founding. Mary Lyon moved a piano into Seminary Hall almost as quickly as she shelved the library’s first books. She believed instrumental music taught young women discipline, provided students with language in a different chord, and — most importantly — she understood that music has the power to console a troubled heart and uplift the human spirit.

The Mary Lyon Concert commemorates the central role of music in Mount Holyoke College's history by celebrating the contributions of women musicians and women in general, through music. The programming gives voice to the often under-represented work of women in music.

Four students singing on stage during a performance of the Big Broadcast

The Big Broadcast!

A re-creation of a live 1940's radio show featuring the Mount Holyoke College Big Band, Vocal Jazz, and Chamber Jazz Ensembles.

Discover The Big Broadcast
Scene from the 2018 African Opera

African Opera Series

Mount Holyoke College and Five College students collaborate with professional musicians and choreographers in operatic adaptations of African Mythology.

Learn more about the African Opera Series
A graphic image of sonic waves

Sonic Vanguard

A speaker series that explores the work of some of the most active creators and scholars of music today.

Learn more about Sonic Vanguard
Composite image of the speakers at Mellon NAIS.

Mellon NAIS Series

This series of panel discussions  explore the performance practice issues regarding the performance of the world’s first opera fully sung in Chickasaw, Jerod Impichchaachaacha’ Tate’s Shell Shaker.

Learn more about the Mellon NAIS Series

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Contact Us

The Music Department offers a program exploring the history, theory, literature, performance and cross-cultural study of music.

Tracie Rubeck
  • Academic Department Coordinator