Christmas in Christ Chapel 2021 Sends Audiences Forth Singing

Posted on December 14th, 2021 by

Gustavus Adolphus College welcomed audiences back to campus for Christmas in Christ Chapel 2021.

Christmas in Christ Chapel returned with joyous song, as befitting the program name, We Shall Go Forth Singing. With safety precautions in place, Gustavus Adolphus College was able to welcome alumni, families and friends, and supporters of Gustavus music back to campus to share in the performance. 

“You could feel the excitement in the room and you know that you are sharing something special,” says Dr. Ruth Lin, conductor of the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra.

With no live audience last year, the performers did not take having an audience for granted. “There is a kind of communication that happens on a fundamental level when we hear and see each other face-to-face, and I saw the fruits of that in interactions with the audience after the performance,” says senior member of the Gustavus Choir Eli McMahon ’22. 

“Being back in-person, all the feelings came back: the irreplaceable sense of joy, togetherness, and authenticity by making music together. And that authenticity felt complete amidst a live audience,” says Alex Chou ’22, who plays violin I in the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra. “Whether it was their mere presence (in-person or live-streamed online), the chapel echoing from their singing voices, or the excitement beforehand, it was an honor to play for a live audience once again.”

The performance opened with Tree of Life and Awesome Mystery, performed by the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra and select members of the Lucia Singers. The scenic design for the concert, by Lydia Francis ’11, echoed this theme, with projected trees on the chapel walls and a centerpiece around the cross showing the rings of an old tree. The concert was a celebration of resilience and beauty in the midst of great struggle, an image captured by the rings of a tree. 

Jessica Herbrand ’24 performed an extended solo choreographed by Professor of Dance Michele Rusinko. Her dress was designed and constructed by continuing assistant professor in Theatre and Dance Larissa McConnell.

I’m proud of the fact that, as a choir, we were able to take all the obstacles we’ve faced this semester and set them aside for a few hours and share the gift of music with each other and the audience,” says Emily Haugen ’23, who performed with the Lucia Singers.

Dancers Claire Drapeau ’22 and Gabriella Schawkopf ’25 performed a duet, choreographed by visiting assistant professor of dance Jeffrey Peterson, as the Lucia Singers performed the song Gaudete from Piae Cantione.

Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Anna DeGraff performed O Thou That Tellest from Handel’s Messiah, accompanied by the mass choir and the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra. 

“I am beyond proud of how the orchestra, choir, and handbell members came together to make this happen. Being a part of a team of such hard-working musicians; holistic conductors; and life-long friends is the aspect I will always remember from CinCC,” says Chou.

Closing the program was the traditional O Come All Ye Faithful, complete with red, green, and white lights throughout the chapel. The audience joined in with the mass choir, Symphony Orchestra, and handbell ensemble, making music together once again.

Christmas in Christ Chapel 2021: We Shall Go Forth Singing is archived on the Gustavus website and YouTube channel and is available to watch now.

 

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