Ron Loescher: Hurrah for Amherst College Vespers

Thursday, January 03, 2019
Hurrah for Amherst College Vespers

Last month I attended Amherst College Vespers. I came with a little hesitation knowing there had been some administrative changes in the religion and music department. I wondered whether the traditional “nine lessons and carols” and music and readings were to continue. It didn’t take me long to relax and enjoy!

I loved the “Welcome and call to worship” by Mr. (Harrison) Blum, the director of spiritual life. The choirs came in with that beautiful opening song, “Once in Royal David’s City,” and subsequently moved throughout the chapel with beautiful ease and melody. The madrigal singers were superb. A new song, “And All The Stones Shall Cry: A Christmas Hymn,” by Paul Salerni was deeply moving (a world premiere); also “Journey Carol,” by Gerald Custer. And then the closing song “Silent Night” was sung from the stage in darkness — so solemn and beautiful!

As I listened to the 5th lesson being read, it was as though i was hearing the story for the first time, speaking directly to me. And my special thanks to those who prayed the “Christmas Prayer,” and at the end the closing prayer.

Applause after the “Hallelujah Chorus” was enormous, and reflected all of our joy and delight!

Ron Loescher