The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) overflowed with holiday spirit Dec. 15 as Rensselaer students, faculty, staff, and alumni were joined by community members for the Institute’s annual holiday concert.

The Rensselaer Orchestra and Rensselaer Concert Choir joined forces with a group of professional musicians to present concert 
attendees with a program of music intended to call to mind and celebrate joyful places.

The “Rejoice in This Place” concert was performed under the direction of Institute conductor Nicholas DeMaison.

“Music is very much a part of our history and traditions. At Rensselaer, we believe the blending of voices from many disciplines is the path to discovery—whether in the lab or on the stage—and can lead to delightful moments of insight and awe,” said President Shirley Ann Jackson.

About 500 people attended the annual concert, which plays an important role in strengthening and celebrating the bonds between the campus community and the Capital Region community.

“The annual tradition of the holiday concert is a wonderful opportunity for members of the campus community to come together with the local community for a musical celebration,” said Mary Simoni, dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences.

The group of professional musicians worked with the student performers in small groups over the weekend. DeMaision said that experience was a valuable way for the student musicians to make connections with professionals and gain insight into their instrument. After a joint rehearsal, they joined the students onstage throughout the concert.

“I think everybody really felt a nice sense of community and music-making,” DeMaison said. “We are a community of musicians integrated into this community of scientists.”

Rensselaer students have several musical performances scheduled throughout the spring semester: The Rensselaer Concert Choir will perform an a cappella concert at 7 p.m. Sunday, April 6, at the Chapel + Cultural Center and the Rensselaer Chamber Ensemble will perform at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 15, at EMPAC.

The Rensselaer Orchestra will join forces with the College of St. Rose Orchestra for a spring concert at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 1, at EMPAC. That concert will feature both orchestras performing separately and then coming together to perform selections from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.—Emily Donohue