Spring events celebrate ISM's 50th anniversary at Yale

March 15, 2024

In celebration of its 50th anniversary at Yale, the Institute of Sacred Music is hosting several events in spring, 2024.

Kicking off the anniversary events on Wednesday, April 3 at 7:30 p.m. will be the Yale Camerata, who will join with Yale Glee Club, and Yale Symphony Orchestra, invited soloists, New Haven’s Elm City Girls Choir, and the  Girls’ and Boys’ choirs of Trinity on the Green, to perform Benjamin Britten’s masterpiece, the War Requiem. This monumental composition blends text from the traditional Latin requiem mass with anti-war poetry of Wilfred Owen. The concert will be repeated at St. Bart’s in New York city on April 7.

On Thursday, April 18 at 2 p.m., the ISM will host “Music and Mind: Richard Smallwood, Donald Lawrence, and Braxton Shelley in Conversation.” The discussion will be held in Marquand Chapel and will be livestreamed.

On Friday, April 19 at 7 p.m., the concert event “Anthem of Praise: A Salute to Richard Smallwood” will take place at College Street Music Hall. Celebrating the music of Richard Smallwood, the concert will feature Gospel luminaries Tramaine Hawkins, Karen Clark Sheard, BeBe Winans, The Walls Group, John Holiday, and Joseph Joubert. They will join forces with Smallwood’s ensemble, Vision, and a New Haven-area community choir to resound some of the most treasured pieces of contemporary gospel music, including “Angels,” “Bless The Lord,” “Secret Place,” “Thank You,” and “Total Praise.” This event is sold out, but will be livestreamed.

On Friday, April 26 at 5:15 p.m., Yale Consort, the ISM’s new professional vocal ensemble, will present a Festal Evensong service at New Haven’s Christ Church. This service will be offered in celebration of the 50th anniversary of ISM, and will include music, readings, quiet contemplation, and guest preacher Teresa Morgan.

On Saturday, April 27 at 9 a.m., Miller Hall will be the location for a symposium entitled “Bach’s B Minor Mass in Context,” a series of four talks by ISM faculty member Markus Rathey and guest speakers Alannah Rebekah Franklin, Daniel Boomhower and Stephen A. Crist. The talks will explore the rich resonances of the Mass and of Bach’s music, ranging from its roots in the long history of the Christian liturgy to the legacy of the piece in the U.S., both in public performances and, transformed, in the musical language of jazz composers such as Dave Brubeck. The talks will unravel the threads that connect this composition to its sacred origins and gain a deeper understanding of the spiritual and cultural influences that have shaped its enduring legacy.

Later on Saturday, April 27 at 7:30 p.m. in Woolsey Hall, Yale Schola Cantorum and Juilliard415 will perform Bach’s Mass in B Minor. This will be David Hill’s last U.S. concert as conductor before he retires in June. The Mass is considered to be an all-embracing musical masterpiece, created by Bach at the pinnacle of his remarkable career. Beginning with the awe-inspiring Kyrie and ending with the jubilant Dona nobis pacem, there are nine completely unique arias and duets, fourteen impressive ensemble sections for four, five, six, and even eight voices, a broad spectrum of instrumental solos, and an incredible variety of styles.

Finally, on Sunday, May 5, at 4 p.m. in Woolsey Hall, join us for “All Creation Sings”, an ecumenical hymn festival with a community choir of 300 voices. The music will reflect the diversity of creation and our duty as faithful people to care for it. Conducted by Dr. Felicia Barber, the choir will have Yale Camerata at its core and will be accompanied by a brass ensemble, gospel instrumentalists, and organists Dr. Nathaniel Gumbs and Dr. Bruce Neswick. Drs. Barbara Brown Taylor and James Forbes will be the special guest preachers.

With the exception of Britten’s War Requiem, all events are free and open to the public. View all anniversary events.