Vespers to feature special guests

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Vespers to feature special guests

Story by Jenna Stanbrough

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The 83rd Annual Christmas Candlelight Vespers will once again feature an array of holiday music, spirit and cheer, but this year, two special guests will make an appearance.

University President Pat Long and University Minister Ira DeSpain will both play a special part in this year’s program.

Vespers will also feature the Baker University concert choir, chamber choir, university community choir, the Baker Little Big Band jazz ensemble, percussion ensemble, brass quintet and the orchestra.

“It’s a time to draw together and just have a shared spirit for that moment at that special time of year,” Cathy Crispino, interim director of choral ensembles, said. “Nothing does that better than music and … we’re also all joining together as community members in singing, putting our voices together, even audience members. I think there is just a closeness that we have when we share that experience.”

There will be two performances, at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Dec. 8 in Rice Auditorium. The event was moved to Rice Auditorium from the Baldwin First United Methodist Church last year in order to accommodate its need for a bigger venue. There is no evening performance this year so that student performers have the evening to study for finals, which will take place during that week as well.

Junior Adriane Dick said the change of venue is beneficial in that it gives the different ensembles a chance to display their hard work.

“(It’s) nice because it’s a larger venue, so we’re able to work with the other ensembles and we can not only highlight just one of the departments but the entire music department, which is really cool,” she said. “It gives us a chance to see each other and what we’ve been working on this semester.”

Crispino said several musical pieces will be historical and traditional carols, but there will also be some new pieces, including a “really fun” and “really challenging” piece by Vaclav Nelhybel titled “Estampie Natalis,” which uses the piccolo, violin and cello as accompaniments.

Freshman Luke Miltz said he is looking forward to his first Vespers performance to see how singing in high school compares to singing with a university choir.

“I’m looking forward to singing ‘Wanting Memories,’ because I’ve done that in high school and I want to see the direction we take it in in college,” Miltz said.

Crispino said she hopes the campus and community will take time out of their day to come together to celebrate the holiday spirit.

“We’re all looking for something that lifts us up out of our every day and that maybe takes our focus away from the mundane to something that is universal, you know, a coming together,” Crispino said. “It’s just a special time that is set aside that I think makes everybody pause and come into the spirit of the season and just hit pause while you’re out doing all your bustling around.”