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A feast of words and music

On Sundays during the academic year (beginning of October to early June), the soaring architecture of Rockefeller Chapel is home to the cathedral-like sounds of choir and organ, with music ranging from the 12th to the 21st centuries: from Palestrina to jazz, from Hildegard of Bingen to the African beat of Missa Luba. Every year, we revisit beloved classics of the sacred repertoire as well as offering the premières of newly commissioned works.

As a University Chapel, Rockefeller does not belong to any particular denomination or tradition (indeed, in addition to Sunday worship, the Chapel is regularly used by members of other major world religious traditions). On Sundays, we use poetry and literature as complements to Christian sacred text, and we draw from both ancient and contemporary liturgical practice in constructing each week’s service. Thoughtful preaching, informed by the University’s tradition of rigorous scholarship, is offered by members of the University community and distinguished guests. The communion table is open to all, always.

Sunday services take place at 11 am during the academic year (October to early June). Our annual Christmas service is on Christmas Eve at 4 pm, featuring candlelit lessons and carols and the traditional beloved nativity tableau, offered by the children.

Upcoming Sundays, holy days, and festivals at Rockefeller

Sunday services begin again on Sunday October 1, the first choral Sunday of the new academic year.

Sunday October 1  First Choral Sunday of the new academic year
The Chapel Choir returns with music of Bach: excerpts from the cantata Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, BWV 147, with instrumental accompaniment. Dean Elizabeth Davenport offers the sermon.

Sunday October 8
The Chapel Choir sings Jean Berger The Eyes of All, and William Walton Set Me as a Seal.

Sunday October 15
The artists in residence—Kaitlin Foley, soprano, Makenzie Matthews, mezzo-soprano, Matthew Dean and Keith Murphy, tenor, and Vince Wallace, bass—sing arias from Haydn's The Creation.

Sunday October 22  A Sunday in Paris
Music of the great cathedrals and synagogues of Paris, including Vierne’s majestic Messe Solennelle.

Sunday October 29  Chapel Anniversary
The artists in residence and choral scholars sing music of Renaissance Spain.

Sunday November 5  All Saints Day
Heinrich Schütz’s masterwork Musikalische Exequien—the first known music for funeral services in the German language. Performed in the context of a requiem mass honoring those whom we have loved and lost this past year. Repeated Tuesday November 7 at 4:30 pm in the context of the Vespers service.

Sunday November 12
The Rockefeller Children's Choir, conducted by Kaitlin Foley, sings their first Sunday of the new academic year.

Sunday November 19
Music of Renaissance England, including John Blow My Days are Gone Like a Shadow.

Sunday November 26  Reign of Christ
The artists in residence perform jazz-styled music for the last Sunday of the Christian year.

Sunday December 3  Advent I
Guest chorus the University Women's Ensemble, conducted by Mollie Stone, sings music for Advent.

Sundays December 10 and 17 at 4 pm  Advent II and III
We present a 4 pm contemplative service for Advent, with organ music and spoken word by candlelight. On December 10, the service is followed at 5 pm by Pipes for the Season, an hour-long program played by Thomas Weisflog and third year in the College Bryan McGuiggin, including Samuel Barber Silent Night, J.S. Bach Wachet Auf, and Marcel Dupré Adeste Fideles. Free.

Sunday December 24 at 4 pm  Christmas Eve
Lessons and Carols for Christmas Eve

Our treasured annual carol service, by candlelight. The Rockefeller Chapel Choir and Rockefeller Children's Choir sing music for Christmas accompanied by wind instruments, with the children presenting the beloved Christmas tableau. Free.