Vespers to ring in 2015 holidays at MHC.

By Alheri Egor-Egbe ’17

The Mount Holyoke College musical ensembles will join forces in two performances of Vespers, a beloved College tradition, on December 13 at 4:00 and 7:30 pm in Abbey Chapel. The groups also will perform a concert in Boston on December 4.

The theme of this year’s performance is “Inward Joy.” It was chosen to “reflect each individual’s ability to create their own heavenly experience while on earth, and to share that joy with others,” said Director of Choral Activities and Lecturer in Music Lindsay Pope.

Pope explained that Vespers is intended to create a source of light and joy in the winter months.

“I am excited, as always, to create a space for the community to celebrate the light during a time of darkness,” Pope said. “Vespers encompasses a spirit of kinship and compassion for all humanity … It’s so great the way we actively include the entire audience in our performance.”

The on-campus concert will feature an array of composers from nine countries and across six centuries, including Nicola Porpora, a Neapolitan composer of Baroque operas; Russian composer Pavel Chesnokov; Norwegian composer of classical music Ola Gjeilo; and 16th-century Spanish composer Tomás Luis de Victoria. The performance also will include traditional Christmas carols and folk songs from the US and the Republic of Georgia, as well as compositions by Edward Elgar, David Lang, Francisco Núñez, and Daniel Pinkham.  

More than 100 students will participate in the concert. It features the Mount Holyoke Glee Club, Chorale, and Chamber Singers—all conducted by Pope. The Vocal and Chamber Jazz Ensembles, directed by Mark Gionfriddo, and English Handbell Ensemble, directed by Anastasia Clegg ’16, also will perform. Professor of Music Larry Schipull will play the organ.

The on-campus Vespers performance is free and open to the public, and Abbey Chapel is wheelchair accessible. Doors open 35 minutes before each performance; early arrival is encouraged as seating is limited.

The Boston Vespers concert on December 4 will begin at 8:00 pm at the Old South Church, 645 Boylston Street, Copley Square, Boston. The Mount Holyoke College Club of Boston is sponsoring the concert, and tickets are available here.