December Arts Preview

’Tis the season to celebrate the start of the winter holidays, the end of the academic semester and Emily Dickinson’s birthday! To that end, the Choral Society performs a festival of lessons and carols, Theater and Dance students present original performances they’ve created this semester, and the Emily Dickinson Museum celebrates the poet’s 188th birthday with special tours, activities and Emily’s famous coconut cake. Plus, Music at Amherst presents its final concert of 2018, and Chloe Tausk ’19 presents a senior thesis exhibition of etchings and monotypes made by observing and returning to particular places in Amherst.

Keep reading to learn more about these and additional events, this month at Amherst.

Concerts & Performances

Dance Ensemble

Amherst College Dance Ensemble performs, Dec. 6–8

Amherst’s talented student singers, musicians and dancers take the stage to bring you festive carols, original dance works, jazz and the music of Cuba and Brazil.

On Sunday, Dec. 2, at 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., the Amherst College Choral Society and the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life present the Choral Society Vespers, an annual festival of lessons and carols in Johnson Chapel. Both performances are free and open to the public.

Dance Ensemble & Collaborations in Theater is a presentation of original works created by the Amherst College Dance Ensemble and students in the course “Collaboration in Theater.” Performances take place Thursday, Dec. 6, Friday, Dec. 7, and Saturday, Dec. 8, at 8 p.m. in Holden Experimental Theater. Admission is free and open to the public, but reservations are recommended by calling the box office at (413) 542-2277.

Portrait of sequentia
Music @ Amherst presents Sequentia, Dec. 7

Music @ Amherst presents its final concert of 2018 featuring the Sequentia trio on Friday, Dec. 7, at 3 p.m. in Buckley Recital Hall, Arms Music Center. One of the world’s most respected and innovative ensembles for medieval music, Sequentia will perform charms and incantations by unknown pagan authors and poems from Boethius’s The Consolation of Philosophy. Tickets are required and can be purchased at

On Saturday, Dec. 8, at 8 p.m., the Amherst College Jazz Ensemble performs a free concert in Buckley Recital Hall in the Arms Music Center. Cash donations for the Amherst Survival Center will be collected.

The Amherst Symphony Orchestra continues its fall 2018 season of music of Spain and Latin America with music from Cuba and Brazil on Friday, Dec. 9, at 8 p.m. in Buckley Recital Hall, Arms Music Center. Tickets will be available only at the door beginning at 7 p.m. in the lobby of Arms.

Finally, on Monday, Dec. 10, and Tuesday, Dec. 11, student jazz combos perform at 7 p.m. in the Arms Music Center Room 7. Both performances are free and open to the public.

Gallery Talks & Exhibitions

Sculpture of girl balancing books on back leg

Girl Balancing Knowledge by Yinka Shonibare, featured in Rotherwas Project 4 through Jan. 6.

Stop by the Mead Art Museum on Saturdays, Dec. 1 and Dec. 8, to find new connections among works on view with student museum educators. Tours take place from 1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m., and themes vary each week. 

On Wednesday, Dec. 12, at 4:30 p.m., join Chloe Tausk ’19 for the opening reception of her senior thesis exhibition Continually Observed, which features paintings, hand-pulled etchings and monotypes made by observing and returning to particular places in Amherst. The exhibition is on view Dec. 10–18 in the Eli Marsh Gallery, 105 Fayerweather Hall. 

Additional exhibitions on view now include: 

Emily Dickinson Birthday Celebration

Emily Dickinson birthday celebration
Celebrate Emily Dickinson's 188th birthday at the Emily Dickinson Museum, Dec. 8

Join the Emily Dickinson Museum for the 2018 Emily Dickinson Birthday Celebration from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8. Tour the Homestead and The Evergreens at your leisure for free; enjoy the Holiday decorations and traditional music; decorate an ornament with a special birthday message and hang it on the tree at The Evergreens or take it home; and enjoy coconut cake made from the poet’s own recipe. All are welcome and no fee or reservations are required.

Amherst Symphony Orchestra violin players

Arts Calendar

Check out the Arts Calendar for more information about these and additional arts events.

Mead Art Museum exterior

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