While the sounds of Christmas music may not fill the Fine Arts Center next month, Regis College will still celebrate the holidays with an arrangement of songs and readings by singers from across the university.
The Regis College Glee Club, Alumni Chorus, Chamber Choir, Pride of Christ student group, and Center for Campus Ministry and Service are collaborating on a weekly virtual musical program for the Advent season. During the Advent season, recordings of music and student readings will be available each week on the university’s YouTube and social media channels.
“We wanted to come up with a way to give our musicians something to work toward, give the campus a holiday celebration, but also acknowledged the pain and frustration surrounding racial violence and social injustices,” said Heather Josselyn-Cranson, the Sister Margaret William McCarthy Endowed Chair of Music.
The program is inspired by the Nine Lessons and Carols service, which features musical performances with accompanying holiday readings. Students will select pieces from scripture that reflect their feelings and responses to the hurt of racism.
Among the songs that will be performed is one featuring words written by Archbishop Desmond Tutu titled “Goodness is Stronger than Evil.”
“It is a simple but powerful message,” said Josselyn-Cranson. “And this is an enlightened piece that we feel resonates with the Advent season.”
Because of the pandemic, the singers had to completely change how they practice and prepare for a performance. For the Alumni Chorus, director Elizabeth Woodard is using different recording tools for chorus members to record themselves singing their specific parts.
“For the alumni we are experimenting with things and finding out what works the best for their experience,” said Woodard. “We are in good shape and have a good idea of how the service is going to look.”
The Glee Club has been rehearsing twice a week since October over Zoom, which has presented some challenges. But Josselyn-Cranson said the students are making it work through different practice methods, such as having performers sing one at a time rather than as a group.
“It is definitely harder than rehearsing live,” Josselyn-Cranson said. “There are time lags and on Zoom you can’t have sound coming from two different places at the same time. But the students are really happy to see each other and it is a great way to keep the singing community on campus together.”