The 91st Annual Morehouse-Spelman Christmas Concert, a tradition that has marked the opening of the Christmas season for generations of Atlanta residents, will be presented in shows on Friday, Dec. 1, Saturday, Dec. 2, and Sunday, Dec. 3 at Morehouse College’s Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel and Spelman College’s Sisters Chapel.
The combined holiday voices of the Morehouse College Glee Club and the Spelman College Glee Club take the stage at Morehouse at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 1 and at 6 p.m. on Dec. 3. On Dec. 2, the concert will be held at Spelman at 7:30 p.m. No advanced tickets are required. Admission is free of charge.
Performing together and as individual Glee Clubs, the annual concert will feature traditional carols along with contemporary interpretations of holiday music and a variety of other songs. The singers will also perform audience favorites, including Morehouse’s popular rendition of “Betelehemu” and Spelman’s “We Are Christmas.”
“The annual Christmas Carol Concert is a gift that Spelman and Morehouse are honored to share with families each holiday season,” said Mary Schmidt Campbell, president of Spelman College. “From their hearts, our students and faculty offer guests a taste of Christmas and launch the holiday season with unforgettable music from across the world.”
The annual Christmas concert dates back nearly a century. It began in December 1927 – two years before Morehouse graduate Martin Luther King Jr. was born, one year before the venerable Atlanta African American newspaper, the Atlanta Daily World, was founded, as well as the Harlem Globetrotters. The idea for the concert came from the presidents of the two institutions, John Hope of Morehouse and Florence Matilda Read of Spelman.
The first was held in Spelman’s Sisters Chapel, then the largest venue of the two colleges. The tradition grew as crowds grew, with the concert becoming the three-night affair it continues to be today. When Morehouse’s Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel was built in 1978, the concert partially moved into the larger venue. Eventually, the format became the two nights at Morehouse and one at Spelman to usher in the Christmas season.
“The annual Christmas concert is a signature event that attracts visitors from across the state and nation to the AUC to hear our talented and hard-working students sing,” said Harold Martin Jr. ’02, interim president of Morehouse College. “This shared gift from Morehouse and Spelman is our way of saying ‘happy holidays’ to the community we love being a part of. We want everyone in Atlanta to know that we appreciate them and this great city.”
The directors of the Glee Clubs are Kevin Johnson at Spelman and former Glee Club member David Morrow ’80 at Morehouse. Johnson and Morrow said that audiences will enjoy this year’s repertoire of moving pieces that will be sung masterfully by the acclaimed choirs.
“We are happy to say it is a gift to the community,” Morrow said. “A lot of people start their Christmas holidays with this concert. We are excited.”