USMMA Holds 45th Festival of Lights
KINGS POINT, N.Y., December 20, 2022 – The United States Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA) hosted its 45th annual Festival of Lights last week in the Mariners’ Memorial Chapel. The Festival of Lights is an interfaith celebration that has become a beloved holiday tradition at USMMA.
The evening began with a musical prelude that included several holiday favorites, from Tchaikovsky piano duet of “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” by Second Class Midshipmen Abigail Edelman and Caleb Hancock to performance of the Maverick City Gospel Choir version of “O Holy Night” by First Class Midshipmen Hope Germanakos and Jeremiah Wang.
The official program commenced after Command Chaplain LCDR Mark Beaudet, USN, led a moment of silence and prayers for Maine Maritime Academy students who died in an accident last week.
The Festival Chorus and USMMA Band, by LCDR Robert Nixon, performed songs, midshipmen read passages from the Old and New Testaments. Lieutenant Mark Getman, who is an Academy employee and ordained Rabbi spoke on the importance of the menorah to the Jewish holiday of Chanukah, First Class Midshipman Micah Warren read “Chanukah in a Nutshell,” and First Class Midshipman Colin Murral read an excerpt from Robert Louis Stevenson’s “A Christmas Sea Story.”
“I am incredibly proud of the team effort by our midshipmen, staff, faculty, and alumni who made this evening so wonderful. It truly captures the holiday spirit by coming together, celebrating our faith and reminding us of what is truly important this season. I am so proud of them,” said LCDR Beaudet.
“The Festival of Lights confirmed what I knew already,” said USMMA Superintendent, Vice Admiral Joanna Nunan, “which is that our Academy students are so bright and talented that they shine in any activity in which they engage, be it singing a solo, harmonizing as part of a choir, playing a musical instrument, or driving a ship in a channel on a dark night with contact lights all around them. I am so pleased and even lucky to be leading this tremendous institution and its outstanding midshipmen.”
Click Festival of Lights 2022 for a list of midshipman participants.