Five Faculty-Directed Ensembles Showcase Diverse Musical Interests
Middlebury, VT—Students in five of Middlebury College’s faculty-directed music ensembles will present the culmination of their school year’s work in a delightful series of performances between April 30 and May 12. These five diverse concerts, including African music, jazz, Negro spirituals, musical theatre, and choral music, reflect the wide variety of interests among the College’s faculty, staff, and students. The concerts are only a portion of the dizzying schedule of free, public concerts offered by the music department as the school year winds down.
The first of these exciting concerts takes place on Tuesday, April 30, when the African Music and Dance Ensemble will treat audience members to a spirited and unique performance. Directed by Damascus Kafumbe, the concert features a wide range of East African instrumental, vocal, and dance repertoire. Ensemble members will perform on East African drums, fiddles, harps, lyres, lamellaphones, shakers, and xylophones. After the performance, audience members will be invited to take a closer look at the instruments in an informal, on-stage talk with the performers. This concert takes place at 8:00 P.M. in the Mahaney Center for the Arts Concert Hall.
For the second concert, Francois Clemmons’ Spiritual Choir will spotlight Middlebury students, faculty, staff, and community members performing traditional and innovative spirituals. Audiences will enjoy American Negro spirituals, some gospel selections, and more. Clemmons is a beloved member of the Middlebury music scene and a longtime artist in residence who will lead this concert before retiring at the end of the school year. The Spiritual Choir will perform on Friday, May 3, at 8:00 P.M. in the Mahaney Center for the Arts Concert Hall.
Next up is the Sound Investment Jazz Ensemble, Middlebury’s 17 piece big band, directed by Dick Forman. This ensemble has become a well-known class act around town, with toe-tapping performances and dance parties peppered throughout each year. On Saturday, May 4 at 8:00 P.M., the Sound Investment ensemble will hit the Mahaney Center for the Arts Concert Hall stage to play the best of contemporary jazz compositions and arrangements, as well as charts from the classic swing and jazz repertoires.
For a taste of opera and Broadway, the “Scenes and Songs” performance on Saturday, May 11 is not to be missed. Some of the music department’s finest student vocalists will present a lively sampling of musical theatre, from arias to showtunes. The concert will take place at 8:00 P.M. at the Mahaney Center for the Arts Concert Hall.
Finally, the College Community Chorus will perform two Mother’s Day weekend concerts on May 10 and 12. Directed by Jeff Rehbach, the Chorus features nearly 100 singers, including Middlebury College students, faculty, staff, and community members. The ensemble will perform first on Friday, May 10, at 7:30 P.M. at the Town Hall in Brandon, with donations accepted at the door toward the Town Hall’s restoration work. Then the chorus presents a free encore performance on Sunday, May 12, at 3:00 P.M. at Middlebury College’s Mead Memorial Chapel. The program for both concerts will include Baroque composer Antonio Vivaldi’s Gloria, Morten Lauridsen’ s beautiful pieces Sure on This Shining Night and Dirait-on, American composer Emma Lou Diemer’ s delightful Three Madrigals on texts of Shakespeare, and Sing a New Song by composer-conductor Ron Staheli of Brigham Young University. The chorus will be accompanied by Tim Guiles, with a chamber orchestra including area instrumentalists.
All of the five concerts being held on the Middlebury College campus are free and open to the public. The Mahaney Center for the Arts Concert Hall is located at 72 Porter Field Road in Middlebury, just off Route 30 south/Main Street. Ample free parking is available. Mead Memorial Chapel is located, at 75 Hepburn Road, just off Vermont Route 125/College Street. Parking is available along Route 125, on Hillcrest Road, and on Old Chapel Road, with handicap-accessible parking behind the Chapel on Hepburn Road. Middlebury College campus information and parking maps are available at http://www.middlebury.edu/about/campus. For further information about these five concerts, call (802) 443-MIDD (6433) or go to http://go.middlebury.edu/arts.
Photos of Scenes and Songs and Sound Investment: Brett Simison