An Evening of Lessons and Carols - "Winter Scenes": NEC Choruses, Back Bay Ringers, with organ, brass and percussion

Church of the Covenant | Directions

67 Newbury St.
Boston, MA
United States

NEC's choruses - Symphonic Choir, Chamber Singers, Youth Chorale and Children's Chorus - will join with an NEC brass and percussion ensemble, organist Thomas Handel, and the Back Bay Ringers to present a traditional Anglican Advent service including repertoire from many countries and participatory carol singing.  A highlight of the evening will be the premiere of a commissioned work, Winter Scenes, by Anthony Maglione. 
        The concert is held in Boston's historic Church of the Covenant (67 Newbury Street), home of stained glass windows and a magnificent chandelier by Louis Comfort Tiffany. Erica J. Washburn, Laura Nevitt, and Calvin Isaac Wamser '24 MM conduct.

This is an in-person only concert.

  • NEC Symphonic Choir
  • NEC Chamber Singers
  • NEC Youth Chorale
  • NEC Children's Chorus
  • Back Bay Ringers
  • NEC Brass and Percussion

    Sergei Prokofiev (arr. Kevin McChesney)
        Sleigh Ride (Troika) from Lt. Kijé Suite
    Back Bay Ringers
                Griff Gall, conductor

    George Frideric Handel (arr. Henry Kihlken)
        Give Thanks and Praise
                NEC Children's Chorus
                Thomas Handel, organ
                Laura Nevitt, conductor

    Thatcher Harrison
        Broke a Nail Blues          
                Thatcher Harrison '23, guitar

    Michael Praetorius
    James Woodman
    Johannes Brahms

        Three Settings ofEs ist ein Ros' entsprungen
    Thomas Handel, organ
    Hugo Martin/Ralph Blaine
          Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
                Thatcher Harrison '23, guitar

    Traditional (arr. Sandra Eithun)
        The Holly and the Ivy
                Back Bay Ringers
                Griff Gall, conductor

    Nicholas Myers
        The Winter's Night
                NEC Youth Chorale
                Erica J. Washburn, conductor

  2. Traditional (arr. David Willcocks) | O come, all ye faithful

    NEC Choruses
    Brass and Percussion
    Thomas Handel, organ

  3. First Lesson

    Genesis 3: 1-15 (read in English)
    Reader: Maggie Storm (NEC ’24 MM)

    God tells sinful Adam that he has lost the life of Paradise and that his seed will bruise the serpent’s heel.

  4. Reena Esmail | We Look for You (Evensong) from A Winter Breviary

    NEC Chamber Singers
    Erica J. Washburn, conductor

    Program note

    This set of three carols, on new texts by poet Rebecca Gayle Howell, traces a journey through the solstice, the longest night of the year. The texts follow the canonical hours of Evensong, Matins and Lauds, and the music maps onto Hindustani raags for those same hours (Raag Hamsadhwani, Malkauns, and Ahir Bhairav). This set is a meeting of cultures, and of the many ways we honor the darkness, and celebrate the return of light.
    - Reena Esmail

  5. Anthony Maglione | Sleep, Sleep, Beauty Bright from Winter Scenes (2023)

    World Premiere

    Hannah Miller '25, soprano
    NEC Symphonic Choir
    Erica J. Washburn, conductor

  6. Third Lesson

    Isaiah 9: 2, 6-7 (read in Tamil)
    Reader: Anjulie Djearam (NEC ’27)

    The peace that Christ will bring is foreshadowed.

  7. Anthony J. Maglione | Bells from Winter Scenes (2023)

    World Premiere

    NEC Symphonic Choir
    Back Bay Ringers
    Brass and Percussion
    Erica J. Washburn, conductor

  8. Fourth Lesson

    Isaiah 11: 1-4, 6-10 (read in Spanish)
    Reader: Nicholas Ottersberg Enriquez (NEC ’24)

    Christ’s birth and kingdom are foretold by Isaiah.

  9. Anthony J. Maglione | A Winter Night from Winter Scenes

    World Premiere

    Molly Knight '25, soprano
    Nancy Schoen '28 (Tufts/NEC), alto
    NEC Symphonic Choir
    Back Bay Ringers
    Erica J. Washburn, conductor

    Program note

    Winter Scenes (2023) is a series of musical vignettes that capture the disparate emotions that many of us encounter when the year draws to a close. As the Holidays are a difficult time for many people, I tried to capture these experiences through a variety of poetry and textures. I hope to keep adding to these evocative, yet accessible settings year after year to create a collection from which people can pick and choose works based on specific concert needs.
               “Sleep, Sleep, Beauty Bright” for a cappella choir is a setting of William Blake’s poem, “Cradle Song” which was part of his 1798 collection, Songs of Innocence. I chose this lullaby because  it depicts the simplicity of childhood and the warm memories I have of youthful innocence. I imagine a parent singing to a child by firelight as the quiet of night falls all around. “A Winter Night” for handbells, hand chimes, and choir is a setting of Sara Teasdale’s poem by the same name. This work is meant to capture the beauty of solitude. The melancholy accompaniment by the hand chimes and handbells in conjunction with the long sustained lines of the choir are meant to evoke a sense of drifting into thought while looking out the window on a cold winter evening. “Bells” is a setting of the first stanza of Edgar Allan Poe’s poem, “The Bells” which depicts a joyful sleigh ride through the winter air. I love this stanza as it shows brilliance and joy from a writer most well known for his dark Gothic themes. So, I chose to set it to sound to depict a joyful sleigh ride through a busy street while people whisk around shopping for their holiday gifts.                               
    - Anthony J. Maglione

  10. Traditional (arr. David Willcocks) | The First Nowell

    NEC Choruses
    Brass and Percussion
    Thomas Handel, organ
    Erica J. Washburn, conductor

  11. Fifth Lesson

    Luke 1: 26-35, 37-38 (read in Igbo)
    Reader: Valentine Umeh (NEC ’27)

    The angel Gabriel salutes the Blessed Virgin Mary.

  12. Daniel Kantor | Night of Silence

    NEC Children's Chorus
    Thomas Handel, organ
    Laura Nevitt, conductor

  13. Charles V. Stanford | The Blue Bird, op. 119 no. 3

    soloists:  Clara Van de Velde, Abigail Bilodeau, Ashley Chen
    NEC Youth Chorale and NEC Children’s Chorus
    Calvin Isaac Wamser ’24 MM, conductor

  14. Sixth Lesson

    Luke 2: 1, 3-7 (read in Cantonese)
    Reader: Lena Wong (NEC ’25 MM)

    St. Luke tells of the birth of Jesus.

  15. Traditional English (arr. Cathy Moklebust) | O Little Town of Bethlehem

    Back Bay Ringers
    Griff Gall, conductor

  16. Traditional (arr. David Willcocks) | Hark! The herald angels sing

    NEC choruses
    Brass and Percussion
    Thomas Handel, organ
    Erica J. Washburn, conductor

  17. Seventh Lesson

    Luke 2: 8-16 (read in English)
    Reader: Henri Youmans

    The shepherds go to the manger.

  18. Reena Esmail | The Unexpected Early Hour (Lauds) from A Winter Breviary

    NEC Chamber Singers
    Erica J. Washburn, conductor

  19. Johann Sebastian Bach | Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme, BWV 645

    Nan Ni '26 DMA, organ

  20. Eighth Lesson

    Matthew 2: 1-12 (read in French)
    Reader: Coco Chapman ‘26

    The Wise Men are led by the star to Jesus.

  21. Pavel Chesnokov | In Winter, op. 32 no. 2

    NEC Chamber Singers
    Erica J. Washburn, conductor

  22. Ninth Lesson

    John 1: 1–14 (read in English)
    Reader: Maggie Storm, ’24 MM
    St. John unfolds the great mystery of the Incarnation.

  23. Franz Gruber (arr. Dan Foster) | Silent Night

          Thatcher Harrison '23, guitar

    NEC Choruses

  24. Lowell Mason (arr. John Rutter) | Joy to the World!

    NEC Choruses
    Brass and Percussion
    Thomas Handel, organ
    Erica J. Washburn, conductor

  25. Postlude: Charles Widor | Toccata

    Thomas Handel, organ

  26. Performing Ensembles

    Back Bay Ringers
    Griff Gall, conductor and artistic director

    Simon Dutton
    Griff Gall
    Marissa Gamache
    Peter Grossmann
    Sarah Hayes-Skelton
    Ashley Hedberg
    Jeff Johnson
    Emlee C. Kohler
    Stephanie LaShoto-Westfield
    Emily Lindquist
    Sally Meredith
    Cade Murray
    Anna Poplawski
    Emily Schlosnagle
    Susan Schultz
    Erica Shaw
    Casey Spring
    Greg Urban
    Adrianne Weir

    Back Bay Ringers (BBR) is an advanced, auditioned community handbell ensemble based in Boston, Massachusetts. Founded in 2003 as the nation’s first open and affirming handbell ensemble dedicated to friends and members of the LGBTQIA+ community, BBR has quickly developed a reputation for excellence with performances at the Shalin Liu Performance Center, Symphony Hall, the Boston Children’s Museum, and the Prudential Center, and has collaborated with renowned local arts organizations including The Handel and Haydn Society, The Boston Pops, Coro Allegro, and the Boston Children’s Chorus. 
            Under the leadership of artistic director Griff Gall, BBR has grown into one of the country’s most innovative handbell organizations. In its short history, BBR has founded the Boston Handbell Festival, an annual celebration bringing together the region’s best community and church handbell ensembles, with proceeds donated toward the purchase of handchimes for a selected Boston-area school. BBR has also commissioned multiple original works and arrangements, sponsored workshops with noted handbell composers, and performed throughout the Northeast. Perhaps one of the most unique collaborations for our ensemble was in 2014 when the ensemble was invited to perform part of the soundtrack for an episode of 48 Hours. In 2016, BBR was a featured performing ensemble at the Handbell Musicians of America National Seminar. BBR’s members and directors have become leaders in the national handbell community as clinicians, organizers, and administrators.
           Back Bay Ringers’ commitment to community has led to the development of our Season of Giving Back concerts during the spring season, where BBR has supported partner organizations that serve the Greater Boston area in striving for social justice issues. Previous partners have included LGBT Asylum Task Force, Boston Living Center, and Stop Handgun Violence.
           BBR has produced three recordings. BBR’s first recording, Merry and Bright: A Celebration of Carols with the Back Bay Ringers, was released in 2007, Perpetual Motion was released in the summer of 2010, and the ensemble’s latest recording, Comfort and Joy, was released in December 2013. The first two of these recordings are now available in a digital format wherever digital music is available. 

    NEC Preparatory School Children’s Chorus
    Laura Nevitt, director
    Lena Wong ’25 MM, student manager
    Chris Lockman, rehearsal accompanist


    Nina Dundas
    Virginia Goldenheim
    Julian Hirshfield
    Savannah Kaminsky
    Ivy Liao

    Rachel Ma
    Esthera Oglice
    Jai Sathiraju
    Judá Soto
    Jessica Tang
    Adam Zhang
    Sam Zhou

    NEC Preparatory School Youth Chorale

    Erica J. Washburn, director
    Calvin Isaac Wamser ’24 MM, student manager
    Da-Yu Liu, rehearsal accompanist


    Abigail Bilodeau
    Ashley Chen
    Hannah Goodwin
    Bailee Green
    Esther Jin
    Lindsay Kwon
    Darya Leschiner
    Madeline Lytton
    Claire Park
    Alla Petrosyan
    Adam Pinto
    Mia Snorek-Yates
    Elin Thomas
    Natalie Tulipani
    Clara Van de Velde
    Calvin Isaac Wamser
    Lena Wong
    Nicholas Ying
    Henri Youmans
    Honghao Howard Zheng


    New England Conservatory Choruses (college)

    Erica J. Washburn, Director of Choral Activities
    Timothy Goliger, Bailee Green, Jackie Hu, Maggie Storm,
    Calvin Isaac Wamser, Lena Wong, Henri Youmans,
    and Honghao Howard Zheng - graduate conductors
    Sally Millar, administrator
    Lingbo Ma, Changjin Ha, and Da-Yu Liu, rehearsal accompanists

    NEC Symphonic Choir

    Aislin Alancheril
    * Andrés Almirall
    Genie Alvarado
    * Charleen Andujár Ortiz
    * Ilan Balzac
    Emelia Boydstun
    Peter Butler
    Gia Cellucci
    Coco Chapman
    Baian Chen
    Chen Chen
    Daniel Chen Wang
     Xingyan Chen
    Bryan Chiang
    Su Cong
    Yuxin Duan
    Ivy Evers
    * Felix Feist
    Timothy Goliger
    Bailee Green
    Siyuan Guan
    Jialin Han
    Thatcher Harrison
    Cameron Hayden
    Jinyu He
    Jackie Hu
    Jane Ai Jian
    Yoomin Kang
    Dohyun Kim
    Ian Yoo Kim
    Molly Knight
    Jinyoung Kweon
    Julia LaGrand
    Yu Lei
    Lucci Zimeng Li
    Matthew Li
    Shawn Xiangyun Lian
    Hao Wei Lin
    Nine Lin
    Angelina Pin-Hsin Lin
    * Sally Millar
    Hannah Miller
    Yechan Min
    Samuel Mincarelli
    Yowon Nam
    Yuhang Nan
    Grace Navarro
    Daniel Oslin
    Daniela Pyne
    Quinn Rosenberg
    Nancy Schoen
    Samuel Schwartz
    Yide Shi
    * Tamir Shimshoni
    Yunsun Shin
    Eunchae Song

    Maggie Storm
    Minhyuk Suh
    Haolun Alan Sun
    Matthew Tirona
    Valentine Umeh
    Jason Vu
    Calvin Isaac Wamser
    Chenzhou Stephen Wang

    Haowen Wang
    Tianyou Wang
    Yinuo Wang
    Zhaoyuan Wang
    McLain Weaver
    Lena Wong

    Shanshan Xie
    Ian Yan
    Chenran Yang
    asmine Enje Yang
    ShengQiao Ye
    *Aimee Yermish

    Yuki Yoshimi
    Henri Youmans
    Jessica Yuma
    Honghao Howard Zheng

    * Maggie Zheng
    Jiarui Gary Zhou

    *community member

    NEC Chamber Singers

    Pitiki Aliakai
    Ashley Chen
    Anjulie Djearam
    Haijie Du
    Timothy Goliger
    Bailee Green
    Jackie Hu
    Siyu Leng
    Corinne Luebke-Brown

    Colin Miller
    Yuanwei Ni
    Nicholas Ottersberg Enriquez
    Anna Poltronieri Tang
    Rafe Schaberg
    Rachel Solyn
    Maggie Storm
    Chloe Thum
    Valentine Umeh
    Calvin Isaac Wamser
    Lena Wong
    Yumeng Xing
    Kerui Chris Yang
    Henri Youmans
    Honghao Howard Zheng


     Conductor and mezzo-soprano Erica J. Washburn has been Director of Choral Activities at New England Conservatory since 2009.  Known for her student-centric approach to classroom and rehearsal instruction, and commitment to the performance of new music, she is the recipient of several outstanding alumni awards, including the distinguished honor of induction to the Westminster Choir College Music Education Hall of Fame.
            As a conductor, Washburn has worked with Kansas City, MO based Cardinalis, the Yale Schola Cantorum, the East Carolina University Women’s Chorale, and the Eastman Women’s Chorus. She is a sought-after guest clinician who frequently leads
    state and regional festival choruses, and spent five summers as a conductor and voicefaculty member for the New York State Summer School of the Arts School of ChoralStudies.
           Under her direction the NEC choirs have been featured on several live and pre-recorded broadcasts, including the North Carolina based station WCPE Great Sacred Music, WICN Public Radio, and WGBH Boston. The choirs can also be heard in collaboration with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project on the BMOP/Sound recording Paul Moravec:The Blizzard Voices and, most recently, with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and the Boston Symphony Orchestra on their Deutsche Grammophon recording of Shostakovich Symphony No. 13 (released on October 20)
           Washburn’s stage credits include appearances as Madame Lidoine in Francis Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites, Rebecca Nurse in Robert Ward’s The Crucible, Mother/Allison in the premiere of Lee Hoiby’s This is the Rill Speaking and others. Her recital and orchestral solo credits are numerous, and her live premiere from Jordan Hall of the late Richard Toensing’s Night Songs and Evening Prayers with the New England Conservatory Symphonic Winds can be heard on Albany Records. 

    Laura Nevitt is a conductor, composer, and educator based in Boston. She is Founder and Artistic Director of Lilith Vocal Ensemble, Children’s Chorus Director at NEC Prep, Associate Conductor at Voices Boston Children’s Choir, a Teaching Artist with Boston Lyric Opera and Handel & Haydn Society, and Music Director at First Parish UU in Needham, MA, where she is also Artistic Director of the newly formed “To The Fore” Concert Series, focused on bringing historically marginalized voices to the forefront.
            As a composer, Laura is especially passionate about giving voice and space to gender marginalized musicians and poets through choral and vocal music. Their compositions have been performed by musicians across the country, including the Handel & Haydn Society Youth Choruses, Choral Arts Initiative, the Evelyn Duo, Voices Boston Children’s Choir, Boston Conservatory Choir, Nightingale Vocal Ensemble, Lilith Vocal Ensemble, BRACE New Music Choir, the UofSC Concert Choir, and the Choir of Saint Peter’s Episcopal Church in Cambridge.

    Griff Gall is the founding artistic director of the Back Bay Ringers, one of the premier handbell ensembles in New England. Under his direction, the ensemble has performed throughout the Greater Boston area and has developed a reputation for their musically sensitive performances. He has collaborated with many of the area's finest musical organizations including the Handel and Haydn Society, New England Conservatory Choral Department, the Boston Children's Chorus, and the Boston Pops. 
           Griff is an elementary music and movement specialist in the town of Danvers, Mass. He earned a Bachelor of Music degree in music education from Westminster Choir College, a Master of Music degree in Education from Boston University, and received his Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in Education Leadership from Salem State University. 
           He is frequently invited as a guest clinician and conductor of workshops in handbell pedagogy, conducting, and Orff Schulwerk for local and national handbell and music education and handbell conferences, and is co-author of Ring, Dance, Play, first experiences with Choirchimes and Orff Schulwerk published by GIA. He is the recipient of the Donna Nagel Award for his contributions to the field of General Music from the Massachusetts Music Educators Association and the Spotlight Award from the American Center for Elemental Music and Movement.