86th annual holiday program continues on amid pandemic setbacks

NOW: 86th annual holiday program continues on amid pandemic setbacks

MISHAWAKA, Ind. -- Mishawaka High School’s Annual Christmas Vespers Program made its debut in 1938. It features artwork that dates back hundreds of years.  The beautiful displays are presented while the choral members sing traditional holiday songs when accompanied by a full symphony. During a time when gatherings and rehearsal times are limited, students are stepping up to continue the tradition.

“My hats are off to the students they have put forth the effort, the energy, and they have the drive they still want to perform and they still want this concert,” says Coordinator of the Fine Arts, Matt Brown. 

But, in order for the show to go on safely, some adjustments must be made. Singers are set to take the virtual stage this Sunday with only immediate family members allowed in the audience. Everyone else can still take part in the festive fun via livestream and enjoy all of the artwork digitally.

Typically, the choir has a total of 42 in-person rehearsals prior to the program. Now, slimmed down to just seven this year. The other sessions were all virtual. Despite these setbacks, coordinator of the fine arts, Matt Brown, says he’s just happy the performance is happening at all for the sake of his students’ well-being.

“Our students are very disheartened. Yes, we need to be concerned about their physical health, but I am very concerned about their emotional and spiritual health. It is helpable right now how difficult these times are and that goes for everybody it is nothing new, so what do we need? Ya know we need things that will lift up our hearts and lift up our spirits, and music is huge and art is huge in that obviously,” says Brown.   

Mishawaka seniors are calling the chance to take part in this tradition one last time, everything.

 “It really means a lot to me because I know a lot of creative people do not have an outlet right now and this is an outlet for us to still be able to perform and still be able to spread something to the people,” says Maximo Powell, Mishawaka High School senior.   

“I think in a time where we cannot have many public events, or get together with our families during the holiday. This is something that is very normal quote on quote for the Mishawaka community, so I think it brings a feeling of hope for everyone,” says Mishawaka High School senior, Victoria Tiller.   

Brown also saying how not only does the community get excited for this performance every year, but the alumni too since it started more than eight decades ago.

You can watch the livestream of the performance this Sunday here.

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