A Moravian Miracle: Vespers

Central Moravian Church

Fatimah Bouri

Central Moravian Church

Even though I’m only a sophomore and this is my second year doing Vespers, this service has been my favorite thing to do at Moravian since coming here.

Vespers means a great deal to me and to the rest of the university choir. This semester, we worked tremendously hard to ensure that this year’s Vespers service would be a spirited spectacle for all who came to the six services held on December 2, 3, 4 and 9, 10, and 11.

Prepping for the service took a considerable amount of time spent in Moravian’s Central Church, learning the ins and outs of the place and having runthrough after runthrough of the whole service and spending long hours perfecting our craft.

The song selections for Vespers are an eclectic mix of formal tunes and jovial, fun arrangements. Vivaldi’s “Domine Fili Unigenite” is definitely one of my favorite pieces with the way it highlights each vocal section spectacularly. Another piece that I really enjoyed was Oscar Escalada’s percussion piece “Milonguera,” which uses nonsensical words and transforms each vocal section into a percussion section.

The traditional of Vespers dates back to the Middle Ages and served as a evening prayer for mainly Orthodox and Catholic liturgies. In medieval Europe, it was common for these performances to be performed without interruption.

Additionally, Vespers feasts were once a popular ritual held on weekdays during the Byzantine Rite usually as part of an All-Night Vigil but are hardly performed nowadays.

Dr. Zerkle and the university choir have gone through great lengths to make sure this Vespers season is enjoyable for all who attend and I am grateful to be a part of such a tremendously passionate group here at Moravian. Happy Vespers!