each new academic year at princeton begins in glorious
splendor with opening exercises at the university chapel.
one of the university’s oldest traditions, the inter-faith baccalaureate service marks the start of three days of graduation events culminating with commencement.
princeton, nj – With its grand gothic arches, striking stained glass and complex hand-carved pulpits, few houses of worship in North America are capable of evoking more curiosity than Princeton University Chapel.
Princeton’s place of unity offers fascinating interpretations of biblical history and subtle lessons in metaphysics from the intensively creative mind of architect Ralph Adams Cram. Constructed in 1924-28 after a fire ravaged the old Marquand Chapel, the Princeton University Chapel is believed to be the third largest college chapel in the world. One observer aptly described the vast edifice as a “cathedral of hope and possibility for all people who enter it.”
While the chapel’s visual treasures speak softly to hearts and minds, no traditional Opening Exercises or Baccalaureate Service is made whole until silence is broken by 75 voices rising in unison to make spirits soar.
The Chapel Choir has come a long way since its origins as an all male chorus. A diverse group of students, faculty, staff and citizens have expanded the original repertoire of Renaissance and Baroque hymns to more modern musical explorations of Gregorian Chants and jazz compositions. A receptive acoustical environment lends itself to a high standard of performance that legendary Choir Director Penna Rose expects from its members, who are unique to Princeton in that they are paid for their services. “It is my hope that the music we put into these\ stones will resonate with the music that comes after us,” she says.
From Brahms to Brubeck, Chapel Choir ADDS A NEW VOICE TO THE AGES AT PRINCETON UNIVERSITY Rehearsals and auditions are conducted in the Chapel Crypt, where Ms. Rose relies on a Steinway & Sons-designed Boston grand piano to get the most from her “remarkable, funny and fabulous” assembly of sopranos, altos, tenors and basses.Princeton’s new piano is one of Boston’s latest Performance Edition II models from Jacobs Music Company in Lawrenceville.
“Given the chapel’s presence as a center of dynamic energy and expectations for dynamic musical offerings, we are delighted the Princeton Chapel Choir chose an equally dynamic piano for its rehearsals,” says Robert Rinaldi, senior vice president at Jacobs. “It was a true pleasure working with Penna Rose, helping her discover this most exceptional instrument from the Steinway family.”