Meyer Chambers directed the Liturgy Arts Group at a rehearsal held in St. Patrick’s Cathedral before LAG’s Carnegie Hall appearance. (Photo by Sarah Kadlick ’25)

The joke is a classic:

How do you get to Carnegie Hall?

The Liturgy Arts Group of Boston College has had plenty of practice, and plenty of highly regarded performances. But the group notched a new milestone on February 19, when it took the main stage at the famed New York City concert venue. Under the direction of Campus Minister for Liturgical Arts Meyer Chambers, LAG appeared in Carnegie Hall’s “Voices in the Hall” series in a program titled “The Story of God: A Journey of Faith, Hope and Unity,” which expressed a message of love, forgiveness, and acceptance.

“With deep gratitude to [acclaimed singer, composer, and recording artist] ValLimar Jansen, the Liturgy Arts Group and I joined musical artists John Angotti, Meredith Dean Augustin, Cliff Petty, Artistic Director Steve Petrunak, and more than 200 singers and musicians,” said Chambers.

Jansen—a special guest at the concert—asked Chambers to be a guest conductor; he in turn asked that LAG be included in the production.  It was the only university group invited to perform.

“Voices in the Hall” was presented in Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium on the Perelman Stage, which has seen innumerable historical concerts and events. Since it opened in 1891, Carnegie Hall has set the international standard for musical excellence as the aspirational destination for the world’s finest artists.

Chambers was grateful not only that LAG had the opportunity “to participate in this wonderful concert” but also for his chance to conduct two pieces, "All of Me: Ode to Sr. Thea" written by M. Roger Holland ll [for Sr. Thea Bowman], and the world premiere of "When I Am Still," based on the "Londonderry Air" arranged by William Adams with text by ValLimar Jansen.

Chambers said he is “beyond grateful to Val and Steve for entrusting me with this awesome responsibility. More importantly the latter piece featured my beloved LAG, with which I have been associated for 20 years.”

LAG members also were appreciative of this singular experience.

“Performing at Carnegie Hall is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and most of our members never expected to have this experience,” said LAG president Sarah Ryan ’23, noting that four members were featured as instrumentalists, including three violinists and a cellist. “Our singers were fortunate to join a diverse choir of voices from across the country. It was a privilege to meet ValLimar Jansen and John Angotti, who are incredibly talented liturgical musicians, and to share a space with other performers dedicated to ministry and a faith that does justice.”

LAG is committed to enlivening and enriching the worship experience at BC, often providing the soundtrack for the University's religious and spiritual life. The group meets weekly for both practice and prayer, and shares its gift of music at Sunday liturgies and at special events including the Mass of the Holy Spirit and the Arts Festival.

About half of LAG's 65 members took part in the concert, which involved extra work and dedication: learning 18 pieces of new music and fundraising to defray travel expenses.

 “The ‘Voices in the Hall’ concert was an unforgettable experience, and I am grateful to have had this opportunity with members of the Liturgy Arts Group,” said Ryan.

“LAG has been a great source of community throughout my time at Boston College, and I am proud of how we persevered through the pandemic. Our alumni showed immense support from the time we announced our trip, and this performance felt like an opportunity to celebrate together, with many former LAG members traveling from near and far to watch our concert. I'm so impressed by the way this community has stuck together over the past few years, and I'm excited to see how it will continue to thrive moving forward.” 

Rosanne Pellegrini | University Communications | March 2023