(Morgan State University Choir / YouTube)

Four holiday celebrations universities moved online this year

Zoom isn’t only for classes this holiday season.

Many seasonal events were canceled when social distancing requirements made them untenable this year, but many others have been shifted online as organizers showcased their creativity and commitment to celebrating life and gathering with others in a year that has often forced people apart.

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A Christmas concert

Morgan State University in Baltimore, Maryland, held its annual Christmas concert virtually this year, fading in individual singers during their solos. The full 80-minute performance, conducted by Eric Conway, chair of the university’s Fine and Performing Arts Department and director of the Morgan State University Choir, is available on YouTube.

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A Christmas Carol

The University of Idaho’s production of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” was broadcast online earlier this month, despite challenges with organizing and presenting the event entirely online. Organizers said the entire production — including design meetings, actors’ meetings with dialect coaches, and the show itself — was conducted over Zoom.

Of course, our audiences would otherwise love to go and see it in the Hartung Theater, but now they get to sit by the fireplace and grab their eggnog, sit in their own comfy chair with their pajamas on, light the fire and watch ‘A Christmas Carol’ as acted live on Zoom by the fine actors from our community and students in our department,” Craig Miller, an assistant professor at the university’s biology department who is also directing the show, told the Spokesman.

The performance was repeated several times earlier this month, with tickets costing $10, $20 or “pay what you can” for early shows.

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Christmas online

Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, this year postponed its annual indoor Christmas tree, typically donated by local residents. The tree’s annual lighting ceremony, which dates back to the 1930s, has been replaced with several free online events.

The university hosted virtual five-minute visits with Santa at the North Pole. It held live readings of holiday stories, with special guest Ms. Claus, on the university’s Facebook page. The university’s Purdue Student Union Board also provided on its Facebook page coloring and puzzle pages and Christmas stories for families.

“The Purdue community is encouraged to keep traditions alive by downloading, completing and sharing their creations,” the university’s announcement read.

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Virtual Lovefeast

Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, this year streamed its annual Christmas Lovefeast, a Moravian celebration that includes singing, stories and bible readings. Broadcast from the university’s Wait Chapel, viewers were encouraged to participate remotely, preparing their own simple meals or traditional Moravian buns and sweetened coffee. 

“Wherever you are, find a candle or a flashlight, join your voice with ours and gather close for this year’s Wake Forest Lovefeast,” Julie Hatch, wife of Wake Forest President Nathan Hatch, said at the start of the celebration. 

The full 73-minute video is available on YouTube.

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