XMas Caroling 'Mob' Video Pops Up And Takes Off

BOSTON — It starts off kind-of guerilla with its hand-held camera shots of people in the Museum of Fine Arts' Shapiro Family Courtyard. But soon the now-trending video captures the swift bloom of a holiday-spirited "flash mob." At least that's what the MFA is calling it. It's actually more of a "pop-up" performance by 50 or so students from Berklee College of Music.

Music stands appear, followed by a posse of string players and a choir. Their rendition of "O Holy Night" peaks with soloist Mark Joseph. This surprise concert came together on last Saturday. The video was posted Wednesday, and as of this posting had nearly 54,000 views.

What's being dubbed the "XMAS flash mob" was 25-year-old Berklee grad Evan Chapman's idea. He's in charge of an organization called the Loft Sessions that showcases up-and-coming artists. "I've seen a lot of orchestral flash mob videos over the last few months," he said, "and I thought, what better way to also incorporate some holiday music?"

Chapman recalled walking around the MFA about three weeks ago, "and I was really inspired by the Shapiro Family Courtyard," he said. "I felt that space would be absolutely perfect." The MFA responded quickly to the idea, Chapman said. Now he admits he's surprised by how quickly the casual choir concert-in-the-museum has caught on. "Yeah, it's a little surreal to be honest," he said, "I mean, in the back of my head I think I was hoping it would do this well — but I never thought that it would."

It's humbling for Chapman, but judging by the enthusiastic response he assured me this singing mob definitely won't be his last.

This program aired on December 19, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.

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Andrea Shea Correspondent, Arts & Culture
Andrea Shea is a correspondent for WBUR's arts & culture reporter.



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