As people take down their spider webs and pumpkin decorations go down, they replace it with tinsel and garlands. For the Rollins Choir, this also means practicing hymns and carols for the annual Christmas Vespers celebration. Every year since 1933, Rollins hosts a concert of Christmas carols, preceded by a candlelit procession and followed by Christmas-themed scripture readings.
In this Christmas celebration, the Rollins Choir and Orchestra come together to perform songs of worship as members of the campus community read the original story of Christmas from scripture.
This time-honored Rollins tradition dates back 85 years and takes the name “Vespers” from traditional evening prayer services. It seeks to fulfill a similar purpose by uniting communities through music and storytelling.
Christmas Vespers is open for students, faculty, and local Winter Park residents and will take place in Knowles Memorial Chapel Dec. 7-9 at 6 p.m. Tickets are free for students and staff, and cost $10 for community members. They must be reserved in advance and sales have already begun.
“Vespers sells out every year, so you need to get tickets super early,” said choir member Charlotte Kelly (‘21). “Dr. [John] Sinclair [chair, director, and John M. Tiedtke professor of music] teaches the music and skills, but the performance is entirely student-conducted. A couple of the songs are even student-composed.”
Choir member Anne Miller (‘20) described her experience with Christmas Vespers as “an amazing experience to be able to be a part of. I loved singing in the chapel and celebrating our school and the Christmas holiday.”