The 90th edition of Baker University’s Annual Christmas Candlelight Vespers was presented in a new format. Because of the constraints on rehearsals and performances dictated by COVID-19 safety precautions, the live performance in Rice Auditorium was replaced by a video showcasing Baker’s choirs and the orchestra.
Director of Choral Activities, Dr. Ryan Olsen, and the Baker University choirs began working on Vespers music early in the fall semester.
“We knew that we were going to be pressed for time this semester because of the COVID-19 recommendations for choral ensembles, which included limiting rehearsals to 30 minutes and holding them in large rooms or outside where students can stand at least 6- to 10-feet apart and using special singing masks that hold the material away from the mouth more than traditional masks,” Olsen said.
The choirs met in person when they could but also met via Zoom on Fridays to learn music in sectional rehearsals to work on individual parts in smaller groups.
The video was recorded in November in different locations around campus. The Concert Choir performed in Rice Auditorium, the Treble Choir sang in McKibbin Recital Hall, and the Chamber Singers performed their pieces in the Chapel and in Darby-Hope Theatre.
“It was fun for us to perform in more intimate locations around campus that are normally too small for an audience to join us,” Olsen said. “We also hoped to share footage of some of the most beautiful features of our campus like the Chapel and the beautiful stained-glass windows in Darby-Hope.”
The Baker Orchestra, under the direction of Dr. Mark Pretzel, played during the end credits.