A Very Special May Day 2021 Celebration

Since 1912, May Day has been celebrated at our beloved School. Although there was a brief hiatus from the traditional ceremony last year due to COVID-19 (Class of 2020 seniors were able to take photos individually by the May Pole), the celebration took place once again on May 7 with unique, pandemic-related modifications in place. Still, it was a May Day Celebration that we will never forget!

Typically, May Day includes dances from seniors, juniors, 8th graders, and 4th graders. This year, it was limited to the senior girls in the Class of 2021 who chose to participate, and a handful of juniors. The junior dancers also served as ribbon presenters. “We had 12 sisters who handed the final ribbon to their sisters with a big hug!” said Emily Huber ’89, May Day Director.

Although it was a unique May Day Celebration, much of the tradition remained intact. The dances were performed to the same music as in past years. The junior participants presented the Junior Daisy Chain accompanied by Carillon from L’Arlesienne Suite No. 1 by Georges Bizet. The seniors entered with Fest March from Tannhäuser by Richard Wagner and wove the May Pole to the music of Fantasia on Greensleeves by Vaughn Williams. View the whole program here.

There were also a number of protocols enacted to keep dancers socially distanced and safe. The senior girls entered two at a time except for the final three who are three sisters in a set of quadruplets (with their brother watching as the fourth sibling). All of the girls wore custom beaded masks designed by Mimi Brown ’21. Also, all rehearsals were held outside on Lilly’s Field instead of mostly in the Middle School Gym. “We also were able to hold longer, more concentrated rehearsals because of the asynchronous days,” explained Ms. Huber. “Each dance flowed one into the other without stopping, so it really seemed seamless this year. It was lovely!”

Following the beautiful May Pole Dance, Coronation Pages Caroline Cooper ’22 and Harper Graves ’22 began their journey around the circle of seniors to the music of Grand Walkaround from Cakewalk by Louis Moreau Gottschalk. With a gorgeous bouquet of flowers and a flowered crown in hand, they paused in front of the class’ new May Queen. The Class of 2021 chose Helen Love ’21 as its May Queen, crowned by STUCO Co-President Ava Mandoli ’21. Helen was selected by her peers as the girl who “most embodies the spirit of Mary Institute.”

Enjoy the photos below of this year’s special May Day Celebration!

“Now more than ever, the girls need ways to connect,” reflected Ms. Huber. “There is no more beautiful connection than all of them holding ribbons that connect at the May Pole, preparing to dance. Those ribbons connect them not only to one another but to their sisters, their mothers, their grandmothers, and to generations of Mary Institute girls who have danced before them.”

Congratulations to the Class of 2021 who pulled off a very special May Day!

Note: Be sure to check out our social media channels for a May Day 2021 video that is currently in the works!