by Emily Harrison Weir
The holiday season is nearly here, and with it will come one of Mount Holyoke College’s most cherished traditions—Christmas Vespers.
At 4 and 7:30 pm on Sunday, December 7, the poinsettias will be blooming; the candles will be lit; and there’s likely to be a line of attendees stretching around the corner from the College’s Abbey Chapel. (The doors open 35 minutes before each concert.)
Everyone will gather for the annual holiday-inspired concert best known for its candlelight procession and Christmas carol singing. More than 100 Mount Holyoke students will take part as seven performing ensembles present holiday offerings.
They are: the Glee Club, Chorale, and Chamber Singers, directed by Lindsay Pope; the Jazz Ensembles, directed by Mark Gionfriddo; the Symphony Orchestra, directed by Ng Tian Hui; the English Handbells group, directed by Emily Wells; and the Flute Choir, directed by Alison Hale.
This year’s eclectic program will include works by Leroy Anderson, J. S. Bach, Johannes Brahms, Maria Cozzolani, Gabriel Fauré, Mark Gionfriddo, Felix Mendelssohn, Arvo Pärt, R. Murray Schafer, and Peter Tchaikovsky, as well as folk songs from Israel, the Republic of Georgia, and Norway.
The campus Vespers concerts are free and open to the public.
Vespers will also be performed in New York City on Friday, December 5, at 8 pm in St. Bartholomew's Church in Manhattan. Tickets for that concert, which is sponsored by the Mount Holyoke Club of New York City, are available online.