93rd Annual Morehouse-Spelman Christmas Carol Concert Continues Holiday Tradition as “Gift” to Atlanta Community

Date Released: November 25, 2019

ATLANTA — The 93rd annual Morehouse-Spelman Christmas Carol Concert series will be held from Dec. 6-8, ushering in the holiday season for many hundreds of students and families in Atlanta and across the nation who attend the celebration in song each year.

The festive choral concert brings together the mellifluous tones of two world-renowned historically black college choirs, the Glee Clubs from Morehouse and Spelman colleges. The combined choir of more than 100 talented students will perform a variety of traditional carols, contemporary interpretations of holiday music, and other signature songs. Performances are free and open to the public.

Opening night will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6 at Morehouse College’s Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel. Additional performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7 at Spelman College’s Sisters Chapel, and at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 8 at Morehouse’s King Chapel.

Songbooks will be provided so that audiences can sing along with the combined choir. The Glee Clubs will also perform as individual choirs to showcase audience favorites, including Morehouse’s popular rendition of “Betelehemu” and Spelman’s “We Are Christmas.”

“Excellence abounds at the Atlanta University Center,” said Dr. David A. Thomas, President of Morehouse College. “The annual Christmas Carol Concert shows the music mastery that students at Morehouse and Spelman possess. The concert has attracted thousands of people over the years. It is our gift to Atlanta to show our appreciation for the city and its residents who visit our colleges and support our programs.”

The Christmas Carol Concert dates back nearly a century. It began in December 1927—two years before Morehouse graduate Martin Luther King Jr. was born, and one year before the venerable Atlanta African American newspaper, the Atlanta Daily Worldwas founded. The idea for the concert came from the presidents of the two institutions, John Hope of Morehouse and Florence Matilda Read from Spelman.

The first concert was held in Spelman’s Sisters Chapel, then the largest venue on the two college campuses.  The tradition grew as crowds grew, with the concert becoming a three-night affair.

When Morehouse’s Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel was built in 1978, the concert partially moved into the larger venue. Eventually, the format became two nights at Morehouse and one at Spelman to usher in Christmas.

“The annual Spelman and Morehouse Christmas Carol Concert marks the official entry into the holiday season here at Spelman and throughout the Metro Atlanta community,” said Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell, President of Spelman. “Each year, this joyous occasion affords our students and faculty the opportunity to showcase their talents in celebration of the unforgettable music of the season. The Christmas Carol Concert is a gift we all look forward to giving every year.”

Singers with Spelman’s Glee Club will perform a lineup of songs that includes the return of an audience favorite, the majestic hymn “Glory to God,” arranged by Kevin Johnson, who is in his 21st year as director of the Glee Club. The angelic “Ave Maria” by Cesár Alejandro Carillo will also be showcased.

The Morehouse Glee Club will offer modern takes on the carols “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” by Brittney Boykin and “Angles Have We Heard on High” by Stanley Thurston, among other songs.

Morehouse Glee Club Director David Morrow ’80, a former Glee Club member, said updating traditional holiday pieces with new melodies is one of the hallmarks of the concerts. Morrow has been performing in or directing the Coral Concert for 33 years.

“I enjoy working with our talented young singers to create some wonderful music and Christmas cheer for our friends in the Atlanta community and beyond,” Morrow said. “It is a wonderful holiday tradition with a variety of music that everyone will enjoy.”


Last Modified: November 26, 2019, 04:11 AM, by: H T

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