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Spelman and Morehouse colleges to host virtual Christmas carol concert

Spelman College (Photo Credit: Rolling Out)

Every year since 1927, thousands of people from around the world have traveled to the Atlanta University Center to sit in the audience of the Spelman-Morehouse Christmas Carol Concert, a holiday tradition taking place over three nights in both King Chapel and Sisters Chapel. Fans of the holiday concert pour into the sanctuaries each night, oftentimes resulting in the colleges having to prepare overflow rooms to accommodate guests. Spelman and Morehouse glee clubs perform favorites, such as “Behold the Star,” “Betelehemu” and “We Are Christmas,” that bring holiday joy not only to their in-person audience but also to their large, global live stream viewers.

This year, the beloved holiday tradition will look different. When the coronavirus pandemic peaked in mid-March, the Spelman College Glee Club was in the middle of its annual spring tour with two cities left to visit. In response to the pandemic, leaders at Spelman College announced that the institution would transition to online learning and that all in-person activities would cease. That decision resulted in the Spelman College Glee Club’s spring tour coming to an abrupt end and students not returning to campus to complete the semester after spring break.

After the remainder of the spring semester was completed virtually, a decision was made about the fall semester. Toward the end of the summer, Spelman announced that the institution would continue online learning for the fall semester due to the continuous spike in coronavirus infections in the city of Atlanta.

But as Spelman College’s cherished hymn says, the glee club remained “undaunted by the fight” and persisted through the virtual semester.

The Spelman College Glee Club held virtual rehearsals and created virtual programming like “Virtual Glee Week” and “Spelchella,” a virtual music festival where glee club alumnae and current members perform on Instagram live.

Now, they are hosting the first virtual performance of the Christmas Carol Concert with Morehouse Glee Club in its 94th year, led by Spelman College Glee Club director Kevin Johnson and Morehouse College Glee Club director David E. Morrow.

According to the Spelman College website, the virtual concert will combine past performances and current virtual performances with interviews featuring both glee clubs’ directors and Joyce Johnson, Spelman’s organist and professor emerita of music.

Tune in to the 94th Annual Spelman-Morehouse Christmas Carol Concert on Wednesday, Dec. 16 at 7:30 p.m.