The Yard is beautiful. It is stunning. With towering Beaux Arts Architecture, wide walkways framed by old oaks and other gorgeous greenery, the crisp uniforms of the midshipmen traversing its corners, and the soft lapping of the waters as they surround the spot with smooth serenity, it is a special place to be. It’s breathtaking in the spring, in the summer, and in the fall, but perhaps at its most magical when the winter stillness sets in, and the festive atmosphere begins. As we look forward to celebrating the holidays, we anticipate light, laughter, love, and an enduring commitment to the community we all hold so dear. Here are the places to be when the holidays roll around on the Yard. We hope you can join us for these cherished USNA events!
Handel’s Messiah Performances - Join us on December 2nd at 7 pm and December 3rd at 3 pm at the USNA Chapel for one of the crowning events of the holiday season, when the talented USNA Glee Club merges its voices with the inimitable Annapolis Symphony and world-class soloists to bring the music from Handel’s Messiah to vivid life. Enjoy the masterful USNA concert under the capable hands of USNA Director of Musical Activities Dr. Aaron Smith. A perennial favorite, the performance is also broadcast on public television stations throughout the country to spread good cheer and beautiful music. Get your tickets before they sell out!
National Wreaths Across America Day - Around the nation and across the world, people will come together to recognize and remember the fallen through this beloved tradition. Wreaths Across America will take place on the Yard at the USNA Cemetery on Friday, December 1. The national date is Saturday, December 16, and will include over 4,000 locations in the U.S., at sea, and abroad. You can sponsor a wreath to commemorate a loved one, give of your time to lay wreaths or participate in ceremonies or spread the word as the organization works to recognize every veteran. The 2023 theme is “Serve and Succeed” and you can do both on this memorable day.
The USNA Christmas Tree Lighting - On November 21, 2023, the Yard will light up as the annual USNA Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony takes place at Zimmerman Bandstand. Started during the dark days of the pandemic by then Superintendent Vice Admiral Sean Buck’s wife, Joanne, this beautiful tradition includes a symbol of community and love, as well as a midshipman tree ornament design contest, USNA Band holiday numbers, and general merriment. Experience this Hallmark moment in the heart of the Yard. It is truly magical.
The USNA Giving Tree - Each year since 1992, USNA midshipmen partner with the Salvation Army to bring a big gift to Bancroft Hall Rotunda. They decorate the larger-than-life Giving Tree and Menorah with paper angel ornaments, each detailing a wish from Annapolis children in need. There is a special tree lighting ceremony, and people can take the ornaments and fulfill these wishes. The Salvation Army wraps and distributes these acts of kindness as real angels in Annapolis. Come be a part of this heartwarming tradition.
Winter Musical - Coming in February, the USNA Musical Activities Department will put on their popular Broadway-style Naval Academy musical. While we can’t share the name of the show at this point, you can call the ticket office at (410) 293-8497 to find out! You can also get your tickets now, and the show times are as follows:
Friday, February 23, 2024, 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, February 24, 2024, 7:00 p.m.
Sunday, February 25, 2024, 3:00 p.m.
Brighten Your Holiday on the Yard
There is nothing quite like the holidays at USNA. From the powerful strains of Handel’s Messiah to the lights of the Christmas tree at Zimmerman Bandstand, to the lights of love at the Giving Tree and Wreaths Across America, to the musical, the season is full of light and love. Come experience this special place. When you visit the Yard, your meals, shopping, and USNA tours all contribute their proceeds to the Brigade to provide midshipmen with extracurricular activities like cultural arts, music, theater, and club sports. That is true magic. No other place gives to the midshipmen this way. Visit the Yard and feel the difference you’re making. Or if you can’t be here, go online and help however you can. Happiest of holidays to you and yours. Enjoy the season!