A wonderful and beloved Chestnut Hill College tradition continued in early December, but this year, with an added special twist as the Hill Singers were blessed to be joined by friends at Our Mother of Consolation, the Sisters of Saint Joseph, and alumni to help ring in the season at the Annual Carol Night.
"My November has just flown by as we've been very busy at Chestnut Hill and OMC getting ready for this concert," said Kathleen McCloskey, SSJ, producer of Carol Night, chair of the music program, and assistant professor of music. "It's just been very thrilling to prepare for all of you and to have you here in front of us...we have at least four levels of people watching so it's very exciting."
As noted by McCloskey, the 'Hill was decked and full of laughter and cheer as Griffins of past, present, and perhaps even future, lined the Rotunda to take in the festive celebration of the holidays. As always, the Chestnut Hill College Hill Singers, under the direction of Mr. Donald Holdren and supported by the instrumental talents of Matthew Esposito '19 on piano and Marjorie Lawless, SSJ '82 on percussion, entertained the audience with beautiful and inspired Christmas classics. There were also some lesser-known but still wonderful pieces performed including a heartwarming tribute to Saint Lucy, patron saint of the blind, sung by Simon Bonenfant '25 and accompanied by his mother Maria Ceferatti on violin.
"For me, when I think about the topic of Saint Lucy, I think of a very personal, significant, deep connection," noted Bonenfant, who attended Saint Lucy School for Children with Visual Impairments. Bonenefant also referenced his great-aunt Lucy, who is legally blind. "She has been a strong, wonderful mentor throughout my life and I wouldn't be the man I am today without her influence," said Bonenfant as he dedicated the piece, Santa Lucia to both his aunt and St. Lucy.
In addition to the Chestnut Hill chorus, this year, Carol Night also featured a special instrumental performance of the piece All is Well by Michelle Lesher, SSJ '00, director of Mission and Ministry, Lisa Olivieri, SSJ '76, professor emerita of computer science, and Joanne Mongelli, SSJ, music director at Archbishop Wood High School, along with two beautiful solos, Ave Maria sung by Kristen Cannon '11 SGS, and O Holy Night performed on trumpet by Christopher Bunn '20.
But that wasn't all. As noted by the Master of Ceremonies of the night, Devin DeVoue '11, member of the CHC Board of Directors, one of the themes of Chestnut Hill College is family, including the family found through friends opening their doors. On that, DeVoue introduced a special and first-time Carol Night performance, by the OMC Glee Club, under the direction of Elise Malizia. The students, representing grades four through eight, entertained the crowd with rousing renditions of Deck the Halls and Sleigh Ride. The glee club also sang alongside the Hill Singers as they led the audience in spirited renditions of everyone's favorite Christmas carols including Angels We Have Heard on High and The First Nowell. And of course, it wouldn't be a Carol Night without the crowd singing We Wish You a Merry Christmas followed by the visit of Santa Claus, who stopped to greet Griffins of all ages following the concert.
Carol Night continues to be a wonderful event for the College, made possible each year through the commitment of McCloseky, Holdren, and all the singers, instrumentalists, and production team that support it every year. If you missed the show or just want to relive the magic, you can watch the full Carol Night above or on the College's YouTube page.
- Marilee Gallagher '14
Posted In: Around Campus