Holiday Vesper Services at Smith

This weekend the College will hold its annual Christmas Vespers service in John M. Green Hall (Dec 7, 2008 4:00pm and 7:30pm). Did you know that the Vesper services were held from early in the College’s history?

An entry in the diary of Lydia Kendall, Class of 1895 for December 1892 describes then-president, L. Clark Seelye “His face fairly shown with the joy that he felt…He spoke to us very tenderly and very sweetly and left us with many lovely thoughts.” The musical portion of the service had a soloist, organ music, a violinist, and the choir.

Christmas Vesper Service 1892

Christmas Vesper Service 1892

Antiphonal singing between the choir and congregation began in the early 1900s. This program documents the songs and verse used in the 1906 service:

Christmas Vesper Service program 1906

Christmas Vesper Service program 1906

Once John M. Greene Hall was completed in 1909, the service was opened up to members of the Northampton and surrounding communities. If you attend this weekend’s services, you may see scenes similar to these from 1947:

Smith-Amherst Glee Club performance, 1947

Smith-Amherst Glee Club performance, 1947

Audience at Christmas Vespers in John M. Greene Hall, n.d.

Audience at Christmas Vespers in John M. Greene Hall, n.d.

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