November 28, 2000

Choral Music for the Advent and Christmas Seasons Dec. 10


MIDDLEBURY, Vt.―The Middlebury College Chamber Singers and Early Music Vermont (EMV) will present a concert of music for the Advent and Christmas seasons at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 10, in the College’s Mead Chapel on Hepburn Road off College Street (Route 125). The concert is free and open to the public.

The 15-voice Chamber Singers will sing a cappella music from the Renaissance and 20th century. The concert will feature Renaissance motets by 15th century English composers William Byrd, Christian Erbach, and J. P. Sweelinck set to traditional Advent and Christmas texts; traditional carols from Spain, France, and Germany; as well as carol arrangements by Alice Parker, Benjamin Britten, and Ralph Vaughan Williams.

Members of Early Music Vermont will present music written during the past millennium in honor of the Virgin Mary. The six singers and instrumentalists will perform chants, and Renaissance and baroque music by Guillaume Dufay, Robert Cooper, Claudio Monteverdi, Byrd, and Britten. The program also includes works from 13th-century Spanish manuscripts, 15th-century English manuscripts, and the 16th-century hymn collection Piae Canciones, as well as songs originating from Spain, Mexico, and Appalachia.

Also on the program are baroque works for organ performed by George Matthew, Jr., carilloneur for Middlebury College and organist for Middlebury Congregational Church.

Founded a year ago, the Middlebury College Chamber Singers perform under the direction of Jeff Rehbach. Rehbach also conducts the Middlebury Congregational Church Choir and Middlebury Community Chorus. He recently led the combined Community and College Choirs as part of Middlebury College’s Continental Harmony concert―and event held in honor of the College’s Bicentennial. Last year the Chamber Choir performed full-length fall and spring concerts, and toured in London, Oxford, and Paris. The group also performed in a variety of concerts in late spring, including the College’s Bicentennial opera gala, a program of Bach chorales and organ preludes, and the College music department’s chamber soloists concert.

Early Music Vermont also was formed in the fall of 1999, and brings together singers and players from throughout the state of Vermont who share a desire to study and perform music of the past 1,000 years. The group’s founder and artistic director, Marybeth McCaffrey, studies voice with Ellen Hargis and Drew Minter, and has performed as a soloist with the Amherst Early Music Collegium. EMV’s singers are members of the Vermont Symphony Orchestra Chorus and numerous other choral ensembles in the area. EMV presented a series of concerts throughout the state last winter titled "Carols through the Millennium," and a second series in the spring, summer, and early fall called "Music of Women through the Millennium."

For more information about the Dec. 10 concert, contact Jeff Rehbach, conductor of the Middlebury College Chamber Singers, at 802-443-5877.

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