2019-20 Chapel Music Season

Music Season 2019-2020

Sounds of Faith

While in the current climate we cannot gather together to worship and sing, we can still find consolation in recordings of the congregational hymns, choral anthems, organ voluntaries, and other music that has filled the Chapel over the decades—and perhaps, find ways to listen even more deeply to these sounds of faith. To that end, Chapel musicians have created the Sounds of Faith video series. Each video presents a recording of music performed at the Chapel with commentary about its composition, history, and meaning. Watch the series here:

Duke University Chapel enriches the aesthetic landscape of Duke and Durham through its annual series of choral concerts, organ recitals, and other artistic events.

Find below a listing of concerts and services in the Duke Chapel Music 2019-2020 season. Through the generous support of our partners and the friends of Duke Chapel, many of these concerts are free and open to the public. Events requiring tickets are indicated below. Tickets can be purchased at the Duke University Box Office. To receive updates on Chapel Music concerts and programs, sign up for our email newsletter.

Sacred music reminds us that we are made in the image of a beautiful, creative God, a God who breathes and moves through the staccato and the legato, the sorrow and the joys of our lives.

Dean Luke A. Powery

Welcome from the Dean

There is joy at Duke Chapel.

This year, we welcome our new Director of Chapel Music, Dr. Zebulon Highben, to lead the time-honored tradition of sacred music at Duke Chapel. His commitment to our history and to innovation, to the old masterworks and to new compositions, is rooted in his passionate engagement with what music can do with us and for us. He knows that sacred music offers each of us the chance to participate more fully in the beauty of life as human beings, regardless of our individual beliefs. When we gather together to listen, setting down our cellular devices, our to-do lists, and the demands of the day, we glimpse the sacred nature of song and sound. Be it Bach, Beethoven, or the anonymous composer of an American Spiritual, sacred music reminds us that we begin and end in the mystery of love and we celebrate the creativity of all of God’s creation. Sacred music reminds us that we are made in the image of a beautiful, creative God, a God who breathes and moves through the staccato and the legato, the sorrow and the joys of our lives.   

I commend the entire season to you, your family, and your friends. In every way imaginable, the Chapel is making a joyful noise—breaking forth into joyous song. I hope that you will make Duke Chapel a destination for concerts and worship services throughout the year. But most of all, I encourage you to raise your voice, play your instruments, and join us as we make that joyful noise and break forth into the joy of God.

Rev. Dr. Luke A. Powery
Dean of Duke University Chapel

Welcome from the Director of Chapel Music
“O for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer’s praise,

the glories of my God and King, the triumphs of his grace!”

These beloved lyrics by Charles Wesley have appeared in myriad hymnals since their first publication in 1740. Wesley’s poem was probably inspired by an earlier German hymn by Johann Mentzer, translated here by Catherine Winkworth:

"O that I had a thousand voices and with a thousand tongues could tell
of God in whom the earth rejoices, who all things wisely does and well!

My grateful heart would then be free to tell what God has done for me.”

These texts remind us of some important truths about the church’s music. Our singing connects us with all of creation and all of God’s people in every time and every place. Together we join the “new song” of the scriptures, a song built upon the knowledge of who God is and what God has done, and which anticipates God’s redemptive, hope-filled future. 

As I begin my tenure as Director of Chapel Music at Duke University Chapel, I am cognizant of the thousands of voices that have been raised in praise, prayer, and hope in this sacred space. I am deeply honored to join this community, and to steward Duke Chapel’s vibrant tradition of sacred music forward into a new season of song. The following pages highlight some of the many services, concerts, and recitals that will form us in the year ahead. Join us often. Add your voice to ours. Come to Duke Chapel and sing with us of the triumphs of God’s glories and God’s grace.

Dr. Zebulon Highben
Director of Chapel Music

Handel's Messiah

Duke Chapel Choir and Orchestra
Soloists: Tony Boutté, Derrick Fox, Ellen Graham, and Molly Quinn

Dr. Zebulon Highben, Director

Friday, December 6, 2019 | 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, December 7, 2019 | 2:00 p.m.
Sunday, December 8, 2019 | 3:00 p.m.

This event is ticketed. Beginning September 10 at 11:00 a.m., tickets will be sold at tickets.duke.edu.

[Canceled] Multivalence:
The Mass and Its Music

Duke Chapel Choir and Chamber Orchestra
Dr. Zebulon Highben, Director 
Pre-Concert Lecture: Rev. Dr. Paul Westermeyer, Commentary

Lecture: Saturday, April 4, 2020 | 6:00 p.m. (in Goodson Chapel)
Performance: Saturday, April 4, 2020 | 7:30 p.m.

This event is ticketed. Tickets will be sold at tickets.duke.edu. Check back for a ticket-release date.

Learn more about this concert.

Bach Cantata Series

Duke Bach Ensemble and Mallarmé Chamber Players
Dr. Philip Cave, Director

Sunday, September 29, 2019 | 5:15 p.m.

Sunday, October 27, 2019 | 5:15 p.m.

Sunday, December 1, 2019 | 5:15 p.m.

Sunday, February 2, 2020 | 5:15 p.m.

[Canceled] Sunday, March 22, 2020 | 5:15 p.m.

[Canceled] Saturday, April 11, 2020 | 4:00 p.m. (in Goodson Chapel)


Organ Recital Series

Dr. Robert Parkins, Director

Christa Rakich 
Sunday, October 13, 2019 | 5:15 p.m.

Timothy Olsen
Sunday, November 10, 2019 | 5:15 p.m.

Eric Plutz 
Saturday, January 25, 2020 | 8:00 p.m.
Sunday, January 26, 2020 | 5:15 p.m.

Christopher Jacobson
Sunday, March 1, 2020 | 5:15 p.m.

[Canceled] Robert Parkins
Sunday, March 29, 2020 | 5:15 p.m.

Longing and Belonging

Duke Evensong Singers, Ekklesia Contemporary Ballet, and Andrew Nemr
Christopher Jacobson, FRCO, Director

Pre-Concert Lecture: Makoto Fujimura

Lecture: Sunday, October 20, 2019 | 4:00 p.m.
Performance: Sunday, October 20, 2019 | 4:30 p.m.


Guest Organ Scholar Recital

Josiah Hamill

Sunday, November 17, 2019 | 5:15 p.m.




The Marvel of This Night

Duke Chapel Choir, Evensong Singers, Vespers Ensemble, and Chamber Orchestra
Dr. Zebulon Highben, Director

Sunday, November 24, 2019 | 4:00 p.m.

This event is ticketed, but tickets are free. Tickets will be available at tickets.duke.edu. Check back for a ticket-release date.

Great Music for Soaring Spaces

Duke Evensong Singers
Christopher Jacobson, FRCO, Director

Sunday, February 23, 2020 | 4:00 p.m.




Jazz Vespers

Duke Chapel and the Duke Jazz Program

Tuesday, November 19, 2019 | 7:30 p.m.

[Canceled] Tuesday, March 17, 2020 | 7:30 p.m.