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 March 25 for the spring quarter

March 25  Passion Sunday
The artists in residence and choral scholars chant the Passion story, with motets by Orlando Gibbons and S.S. Wesley.
Nicholas Romans

Holy Thursday | 7 pm
The Chapel Choir sings Dietrich Buxtehude’s motet Membra Jesu Nostri, with members of the Haymarket Opera Orchestra on period instruments, and with the liturgical drama of Holy Thursday: the gradual extinguishing of the lights and preparation of the tomb of Christ. A pre-performance discussion with Professors Bob Kendrick (Music) and Willemien Otten (Divinity) takes place at 6 pm. Free.

April 1 | Easter Day
A festival Easter service with excerpts from Mahler’s Resurrection Symphony, and traditional hymns with brass. Followed by the traditional Easter Egg Hunt for children!
Elizabeth Davenport

April 8
The artists in residence sing Easter-themed arias from Handel’s Messiah paired with arias from his lesser known La Resurrezione.
Revd. Laura Hollinger, former associate dean of the Chapel

April 15
Benjamin Britten’s Hymn to St. Cecilia.
Elizabeth Davenport

April 22 | Earth Day
The sounds of Antarctica’s icebergs calving.
Professor Douglas MacAyeal, Geophysical Sciences

April 29
John Tavener’s The Tyger and The Lamb.
Revd. Anne Benvenuti, assisting priest

May 6
Kaitlin Foley sings music of Francis Poulenc.
Nicholas Romans

Tuesday May 8 | 5:30 PM
Choral Evensong

Fayrfax Magnificat, and music of pre-Reformation England.

May 13 | Mother's Day
The Rockefeller Children’s Choir, directed by Kaitlin Foley, sing songs about the wonder of the natural world.
Elizabeth Davenport

May 20
Healey Willan’s Missa Brevis XI.
Angela Parkinson, coordinator for ceremonial and special events at the Chapel

May 27 | Memorial Day
The artists in residence sing music of the Civil War era, including Tenting on the Old Campground.
Nicholas Romans

June 3 | Last choral Sunday of the academic year
The Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, Benedictus, and Agnus Dei from Frank Martin’s Mass for Double Choir.
Elizabeth Davenport