Songs in the key of Advent


“It’s like the craziest dessert bar you’ve ever experienced,” the University’s director of choral activities, James Kallembach, told the black-clad Rockefeller Chapel Choir and Motet Choir singers standing before him this past Sunday. “It’s all the fanciest desserts.” “No pudding,” interjected a choir member. Kallembach was referring to what the group had just finished rehearsing: the program for Advent Vespers, an annual worship service and concert held at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel. The final run-through concluded, the singers scattered for a half-hour break before the event’s 5 p.m. start.

The candlelit evening’s selections included Benjamin Britten’s Hymn to the Virgin, Carl Rutti’s O Magnum Mysterium, and, in its U.S. premiere, Eric Robertson’s Un Instant Mystique. At different points in the performance, music rang out from the chancel, the chapel’s side and rear balconies, and the center aisle. Organist Thomas Weisflog both accompanied the choirs and played several pieces solo, including a dramatic postlude by Marcel Dupre. Flute, cello, glockenspiel, and percussion also accompanied the singers. Following the musical sustenance, attendees flocked to the narthex (chapel-speak for vestibule) for doughnuts and hot cider.

Hana Yoo, ’07

Photo: The crowd takes in the Advent Vespers program.

December 7, 2005