With the advent of the Holiday Season, Trinity University’s oldest tradition is just around the corner: on Sunday, Dec. 2, the annual Christmas Vespers service will be held at Trinity’s Margarite B. Parker Chapel at 6 p.m. The candlelight service will feature prayer as well as performances by Trinity’s choir programs.
Members of Trinity’s vocal ensembles, including Trinity Choir, Voix d’Esprit and Chamber Singers, have been hard at work rehearsing for their performance at Vespers, having begun their preparations in October of this semester. Gary Seighman, director of Choral Activities, emphasized planning for Vespers as a longstanding holiday tradition.
“For a lot of people in the community, [Vespers] signals the beginning of the season,” Seighman said.
For this year’s vocal repertoire, expect to hear various pieces including Christmas carol classics, as well as other seasonal selections by Felix Mendelssohn, local Houston composer David Ashley White and Latvian composer Ērich Ešenvalds.
Senior anthropology major Katie Stansbury, a member of Voix d’Esprit, is looking forward to performing these new song selections at the service this year.
“I think it’s going to be really good this year. A lot of the music is really interesting. It’s not just a Christmas caroling thing. There’s a lot of cool stuff to be excited for,” Stansbury said.
The holiday season is a busy one for the members of Trinity’s various choir ensembles. Alongside their preparation for the Vespers service, they have also been in the process of rehearsing for their performance at Trinity’s Christmas Concert this Nov. 30. Sophomore Trace Glorioso, a theatre major, noted a special quality in performing at Christmas Vespers as a Chamber Singers member.
“The Christmas Concert is kind of where we put all of our high energy, very fan favorite kind of pieces and then Vespers is a very solemn, religious, very formal kind of concert … it’s still fun, it’s still a very entertaining concert, but the songs tend to have a lot more feeling and power to them, and that’s what I really like about Vespers,” Glorioso said.
While Vespers is primarily a Christian religious service, this is not the only draw for members of the San Antonio community. Many look forward to Vespers as an opportunity to share a time of celebration and holiday spirit with others.
“I’ve just always really liked it because it’s a celebration. It’s religious but it’s also spiritual, which is why I like it, and it’s a nice tradition to be a part of,” Stansbury said.
Christmas Vespers will be followed by the open houses Christmas on Oakmont celebration, another holiday tradition at Trinity. Members of the community and vocal ensemble members, including Trinity alumni, have come to have cherished and beloved memories of Vespers services in years past.
‘I’ve talked to many alumni who afterwards said that some of their fondest memories at Trinity were of singing in the Vespers service. That’s actually very common. The fact that we’ve shared that experience and it’s something they will remember is very gratifying. It’s a beautiful service,” Seighman said.
If you’re looking for a night to remember, the Christmas Vespers service will be this Sunday. The service will begin at 6 p.m., and will be preceded by prelude music.