The Middlebury College Community Chorus and Women's Glee Club offer a joint concert to welcome the spring and summer seasons in song. This special performance takes place Sunday evening, May 1, at 7:30 P.M. in Mead Chapel on the College campus. Admission is free. The ensembles will offer a variety of music celebrating new life brought by spring and summer, as well as reflecting on remembrance of seasons and lives past, and our universal desires for love, joy, and peace.
The 15-voice Middlebury College Women's Glee Club, under the direction of Jessica Allen, will open the concert with set of classic and contemporary works, including arrangements of the beloved Ave Maria by Franz Schubert and the uplifting psalm setting Cantate Domino by Baroque composer Heinrich Schütz. The women will also sing the traditional Philippine children's song Pen-pen de Sarapen (from Tatlo Sa Buhay) arranged by Sidney Marquez Boquiren, and the American spiritual Down in the River to Pray. Works by contemporary composers include Remember by Donna Gartman Schultz and Midsummer (from Seasons of Love) by Eleanor Daley.
In celebration of spring, the College Community Chorus, directed by Jeff Rehbach, will present several madrigals from the sixteenth and seventeenth century, including: Thomas Morley's Now Is the Month of Maying; Spring Returns to the music of Italian composer Luca Marenzio;and William Byrd's This Sweet and Merry Month of May that includes a tribute to Queen Elizabeth I. The chorus will also present arrangements of the traditional tunes O Waly Waly (The Water is Wide) by noted British composer John Rutter, Shenandoah, and a stirring setting of Let Me Fly by Vermont's Robert De Cormier as arranged for Counterpoint.
In addition, the chorus will offer selections from Franz Joseph Haydn's delightful work, The Creation, as well as an abridged setting of Ludwig van Beethoven's exciting Choral Fantasy, a work originally scored for orchestra, chorus and piano solo. Middlebury College senior music major Hannah Waite will play the piano solo, while George Matthew, Jr. will play an arrangement of the orchestra parts at the organ console.
A special set within the program features songs by contemporary American and Canadian composers. The chorus will sing the beautiful love song Roses I Send to You, with a text by Canadian explorer, prospector and writer George E. Winkler, set to music by British Columbia composer Stephen Chatman. Eliza Gilkyson's poignant Requiem, written following the Asian tsunami of December 2004, will be sung, especially meaningful following the earthquake in Japan earlier this year. The choir will also offer selections from Morten Lauridsen's Nocturnes, with soaring melodies and lush harmonies depicting Rilke's Sa nuite d'ete (Its Summer Night) and James Agee's Sure on This Shining Night.
The Women's Glee Club was founded in 2008. Conductor Jessica Allen is active as a solo and stage performer, teaches private voice lessons in Middlebury and Colchester and is Director of Music at the Congregational Church of Middlebury. The College Community Chorus traces its origins to the mid-nineteenth century when the Middlebury Musical Institute met to prepare major choral works for performance in New England. Today the chorus numbers between 75 and 90 singers, with college students from towns across the United States, and area residents hailing from Brandon, Bridport, Bristol, Cornwall, Goshen, East Middlebury, Leicester, Middlebury, Monkton, New Haven, North Ferrisburgh, Panton, Ripton, Salisbury, Shoreham, Starksboro, Vergennes, and Weybridge, and across the lake from Mineville and Ticonderoga, NY. Jeff Rehbach is in his eleventh year leading the ensemble, with George Matthew, Jr. at the piano and organ, joined this semester by Hannah Waite. George also serves as College carilloneur, and leads music at First United Methodist Church in Burlington, where the Chorus will perform its program on Saturday evening, April 30, also at 7:30 P.M.
Photo Max Kraus