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Marywood University Celebrating the Season by “Making Spirits Bright”

“Making Spirits Bright,” Marywood’s annual celebration of the holiday season through festive programming, community service, and spiritual opportunities, begins in November and continues through New Year’s Eve. Service activities and a concert will begin this month, followed by signature events and programming occurring in December.


The signature event of the Christmas season, Marywood’s Annual Christmas Tree Lighting, will take place in the Rotunda of the Liberal Arts Center on Wednesday, December 6, at 4 p.m. Seasonal music from student musicians will be featured. The event is free and open to the public. The public also may view the Marywood Christmas tree during the normal operating hours of the Liberal Arts Center, Monday through Friday, December 6-22, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Marywood’s campus also will feature an outdoor Christmas display of the Nativity scene at the Memorial Arch on Adams Avenue. 

Sounds of the season will be broadcast by Marywood’s award-winning, student-run radio station, VMFM 91.7, which once again becomes Christmas 91.7 and continues its traditional community gift of broadcasting commercial-free Christmas music, 24/7. Christmas programming starts on Wednesday, December 6, following the Tree Lighting Ceremony, and continues through New Year’s Eve. Those outside of the station’s local broadcast range can stream it for free online or through the Tune-in app. 

The Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance is presenting several seasonal concerts, which are free and open to the public, including: 

  • Percussion Ensemble Concert, November 28, 5 p.m., Munley Theatre, Sette LaVerghetta Center for Performing Arts - The concert will feature two works arranged by Clair O. Musser for the 1935 International Marimba Symphony Orchestra: Edward Elgar’s – “Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1,” and “Bolero,” by Eustasio Rosales.  The concert will also feature works by composers Michael Udow, Nathan Daughtrey, and a novelty ragtime xylophone solo by Harry Breuer: “Back Talk,” with Benjamin Werle as xylophone soloist. There will also be a touch of Christmas Music!
  • Guitar Ensemble Holiday Concert, December 9, 7:30 p.m., Marian Chapel, Swartz Center for Spiritual Life - Join us for a program that includes music by Francisco Tárrega, the 19th-century Spanish virtuoso, combined with live Jazz improvisation! The program also includes a few Christmas classics, such as “Silent Night.”
  • Chamber Singers Holiday Concert, December 10,  2 p.m., Marian Chapel, Swartz Center for Spiritual Life - The annual Christmas concert by the Marywood University Chamber Singers will feature sacred and secular music and carols by Pierre de Manchicourt, Richard Rodney Bennett, Abbie Betinis, Kevin Allen, John Milne, and John Orfe.

Additionally, there will be a Marywood Wind Symphony Holiday Concert at Marywood Heights, December 6, 7 p.m. The Band does this event each year to bring joy to the residents/staff of Marywood Heights. They will perform many traditional holiday favorites including sing-a-longs for the residents. Attendance at this event is limited to residents and staff of Marywood Heights.


An on-campus Giving Tree service project will run from November 13-December 8. Unwrapped gifts, valued at $15, for the Giving Tree are due on Friday, December 8, at the Swartz Center for Spiritual Life. In addition to unwrapped gifts, monetary donations, as well as gift cards to stores such as Target, will be acceptable. Donations of gift wrap that can be shared with families are also welcome. Co-sponsors of this service effort are MUSE Education Club and the Maxis-Gillet Student Ambassadors for Service, Faith, and Justice. The gifts are being given to children, senior citizens, and men and women in the Scranton area who are experiencing homelessness. Contact with any questions.

Marywood students will spread holiday cheer to the retired IHM Sisters at Our Lady of Peace Residence, located on campus, with two afternoons of Christmas caroling on Tuesday, November 28, and on Monday, December 11, at 2:30 p.m. on both dates.

Mass for the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, patronal feast of the IHM Sisters and the United States, will be celebrated on Friday, December 8, at Noon in the Marian Chapel.

An Advent Prayer Service is taking place on December 13, 2023, 6:30 p.m., at the Chapel of Our Lady of Lourdes in the IHM Center adjacent to Marywood’s campus (1512 University Avenue). This bilingual prayer service is being coordinated by IHM Associates Alejandra Marroquin and Rufino Cano.


An office decorating contest, sponsored by the Student Government Association (SGA), will allow students to vote for their favorite décor. A $250 donation will be given to the winning office’s favorite charity, and the winner will be announced at the tree lighting ceremony. 

Additionally, the SGA is sponsoring a “Letters from Santa” project for members of the Marywood community (including alumni) and their families, who request letters for the children in their lives. The deadline for requests is December 4. For more information, contact

Marywood will offer its traditional Breakfast with Santa event, hosted by the NEPA Marywood Alumni Chapter in conjunction with the Office of Alumni Engagement. The event is set for Sunday, December 3, from 9 a.m. - Noon, in the Latour Room, Nazareth Student Center. Seating is limited, and preference is given to Marywood alumni. Advanced registration is required; once the event capacity is reached, registration will be closed. For details, go to the Alumni Events Page.