Middlebury

Middlebury College offers festive musical programs this holiday season

November 12, 2008

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. ? In the spirit of the holiday season, Middlebury College is offering a selection of festive events and activities open to the public over the next few weeks.

On Sunday, Nov. 23, at 3 p.m. in Mead Memorial Chapel, the Middlebury College Community Chorus will perform a Thanksgiving program titled "Sing Creation's Music On" that centers on the theme of the world's glory and hope for peace. The 105-voice chorus - including more than 25 current students - is conducted by Jeff Rehbach, now in his ninth season leading the group, and accompanied by Middlebury College Carillonneur George Matthew Jr. The program begins with "The Heavens are Telling," a selection from "The Creation" by Franz Joseph Haydn. The ensemble will also perform three contrasting settings of the traditional Latin chorus "Sanctus," by Franz Schubert, Gabriel Fauré and contemporary Swedish composer Jan Sandström. The program also features contemplative music by contemporary American composers, including "Take Peace" by Middlebury College 2001 graduate Christina Whitten; a setting of the Quaker poem "O Brother Man" titled "The Tree of Peace" by Vermont composer Gwyneth Walker; and Elaine Broad-Ginsberg's setting of the Hebrew text "Oseh Shalom." The chorus will sing a newly written poem, "The Road Home," set to a traditional American hymn tune by Minnesota composer Stephen Paulus. Other hymns, songs and psalms of thanksgiving include "A Hymn for America," also by Paulus, "Alleluia" by Randall Thompson and "Jubilate Deo" by Felix Mendelssohn. The program will close with Walker's "Let Music Fill the Air" and an energizing gospel arrangement by African American composer-conductor Jeffery Ames of "Let Everything That Hath Breath."

The Middlebury College Community Chorus dates back to the mid-19th century. Today, the chorus is open to all interested singers, including students, alumni, faculty and staff. This event is free and open to the public. Mead Chapel is located on Hepburn Road off College Street (Route 125). More information is available at 802-443-3168 or www.middlebury.edu/arts.

On Sunday, Dec. 7, at 4 p.m. and again at 7 p.m., "Lessons & Carols for Advent and Christmas," an annual traditional program of choral music, congregational singing and biblical texts, will take place in Mead Chapel. Middlebury College Chaplain Laurel Macaulay Jordan will officiate at this celebratory community service. George Matthew Jr. will ring in the service with selections on the chapel carillon, Professor Emeritus of Music Emory Fanning will play the organ, and Choir Director Jeff Buettner will lead the Middlebury College Choir. Both services are free and open to the public. Donations are collected for local charities. For more information, contact Ellen McKay at 802-443-5626 or emckay@middlebury.edu.

Finally, on Sunday, Dec, 21, at 2 p.m. the College Community Chorus will sponsor its annual open reading of Handel's "Messiah," conducted by Chorus Director Jeff Rehbach, at the Middlebury Congregational Church. This event is open to all and typically attracts singers and players numbering in the hundreds. Music scores are provided and all are encouraged to sing along. A $5 contribution is requested, $10 per family, and chorus members provide refreshments for all to enjoy.