Choir concert and tree lighting to launch holiday season

November 16, 2009

The holiday season officially begins on the Hill with the annual Choir Concert at 7 p.m. Nov. 22 in Baker Memorial Chapel followed by the lighting of the 50-year-old spruce in front of the chapel at 8 p.m. In true McDaniel College tradition, President Joan Develin Coley will light the tree. A reception and Wacky Holiday Sweater Contest in Ensor Lounge will follow the tree lighting.

The evening’s festivities are free and open to the public.

The event will commemorate the 53rd anniversary of the first campus tree lighting by then-President Lowell Ensor after the choir concert in 1956. The tradition began with the illumination of a pine tree, which stood outside the President’s House in view of McDaniel Hall. Although the tradition was discontinued in the 1970s due to a semester schedule change, it was resumed in 1997 and has continued since.

“Seasons of Innocence” will be presented by the choir’s 60-some students directed by Music professor Margaret Boudreaux, with Music senior lecturer David Kreider as accompanist. The concert will include serious and lighthearted pieces that evoke the wonder of nature and how people respond to the world through the cycle of seasons in the year – and in the seasons of their lives.

Alumni from former choirs will be asked to join the performance and several pieces will be included for audience participation – including the finale, “Silent Night.” The concert’s title is inspired by an excerpt from Haydn's “The Seasons” and two settings of poems from William Blake’s “Songs of Innocence.” Pieces to be performed include: Franz Joseph Haydn’s “Der Wein ist da!,” Felix Mendelssohn’s “As the Hart Longs,” and Moses Hogan’s “Hear My Prayer,” a deeply moving invocation that will be dedicated to the memory of Ira G. Zepp, a 1952 alumnus and Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at McDaniel College who died in August.