Middlebury

Concert of Jewish cantorial music and Gregorian chant Feb. 29

February 5, 2004

MIDDLEBURY, Vt.-Shalom Pax: A Concert of Jewish Cantorial Music and Gregorian Chant" will take place Sunday, Feb. 29, at 3 p.m. on the Middlebury College campus.  The concert will feature the Vermont Gregorian Chant Schola led by William Tortolano, the group's music director, and Robert Freedman, rabbi of the Israel Congregation in Manchester, Vt.  The program of Jewish music will include a hymn titled "The God of Abraham Praise" and Psalm 23, while the Gregorian chants will include vespers, a requiem Mass, and the Feast of Saint Paul.  The free concert will take place in Mead Chapel on Hepburn Road off College Street (Route 125).

The Vermont Gregorian Chant Schola was organized three years ago by Tortolano, college organist at Saint Michael's College and professor emeritus of fine arts and music.  The purpose of the school, or schola, is to continue a Christian musical custom?the Gregorian chant.  In monastic men's tradition, the group prepares concerts and sings liturgies several times during the year. 

"Gregorian Chant has lost some of its prominence, but is now enjoying a well-deserved renaissance," said Tortolano, an expert on the chant who has researched the topic at the Benedictine monastery of St. Pierre de Solesmes in France.  He has also translated the book "Beginning Studies in Gregorian Chant" by Dom Cardine.  Tortolano earned his doctorate at the University of Montreal.

Born in Greensboro, N.C., Freedman began singing at Jewish services when he was 13 years old.  His love of music led him to study at the University of North Carolina, where he received a bachelor of music degree, and at the Eastman School in Rochester, N.Y., where he earned a master's degree in vocal performance.  In 1974 he moved to Toronto, where he sang professionally for seven years, performing in opera, choral groups, solo recitals and synagogues.

Freedman returned to the United States in 1981 to enroll in the cantorial program at the Hebrew Union College School of Sacred Music.  The following year he took the post of student cantor, or hazan, at the Jewish Center of Princeton, N.J., where he remained for 14 years.  In 1996 he enrolled in the rabbinical program at the Academy for Jewish Religion, a transdenominational seminary in New York City, where he received rabbinic ordination in May 2000.  In August of that year, Freedman began serving as rabbi for the Israel Congregation in Manchester. 

Two Middlebury College organizations are sponsors of the event?the office of the chaplain and Brainerd Commons.

For more information about the concert, contact Ellen McKay of the Middlebury College Office of the Chaplain at 802-443-5626 or emckay@middlebury.edu.

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