COVID-19 Updates: Fall Semester

Recent grad hopes thesis on TV storytelling will lead to discussion

Aaron Smith, Class of 2009 and a Film & Media Culture major, has posted online a discussable version of his senior thesis, "Transmedia Storytelling in Television 2.0," in which he explores how contemporary television has embraced new narrative strategies and digital media to encourage participation in expansive storyworlds. In this online version, he invites readers to comment in the margins of his project to further the dialogue about these new developments.

Students in plant biology course take part in community service projects

Students in Helen Young's plant biology class participate in community service projects, ranging from providing information about produce for the Middlebury Natural Food Coop, creating a species list of the plants at Sycamore Park for the Conservation Commission of the town of Bristol, surveying the plants on the green-roof of Atwater Dining Hall to determine which species survive best under these conditions, assessing the health of trees on campus to assist the College horticulturist, plan pruning schedules, assisting a local vintner in harvesting grapes, and doing a forest assessment of The Waterworks Center for their forest management plan. These projects, and more, will be incorporated into the fall 2009 offering of the course.

Professor and students look at effects of landscape on pollinators

Helen Young (Biology) and her students have recently been exploring the effects of landscape on pollinator: How does the presence of forest around a field affect the number and diversity of bee pollinators? What about corn fields? Or roads and rivers and cities? This work has strong relevance in Addison County, an area heavily reliant on agriculture for its well-being. Once the researchers know what influences pollinator abundance, they will be able to include this information in city and county planning, and help farmers maintain (or even increase) their crop yield for insect pollinated crops.

Faculty member hosts symphony broadcasts on public television

Peter Hamlin, Class of 1973 and chair of the Music Department at Middlebury, served as on-air host and interviewer for live television broadcasts of the Quad City Symphony and Dubuque Symphony on Iowa Public Television (fall, 2008).

Hamilin also was the emcee for the Vermont Symphony's youth concerts, performing in five different school locations throughout the state (spring 2009). The program included three movements from an orchestra piece of Hamlin's called Green Mountain Variations.

Hamlin's electronic music ensemble Data Stream, with Scot Schwestka, Sandy Nordahl, and Hamlin, created and performed music for a CD last summer. The CD, Flow, was released in March 2009.

Also, Hamlin composed "Grand Theft Flauto" for fellow music faculty member Su Tan. This is a piece for solo flute and live computer processing that was performed at Tufts University, Bennington and Middlebury (fall, 2009).

He has just completed a choral piece called "Chaoufarou," a setting of an excerpt from Samuel de Champlain's diary. The piece will be performed this summer, as part of the 400th anniversary celebration of Champlain's voyage, by a choir of students from France, Quebec and New England.

Alumna works with renowned Indian film composer

Alison Maggart, Class of 2008, has been working as harpist with and assistant to the renowned Indian film composer A.R. Rahman. Rahman is known as the "John Williams of India" -- with "Slumdog Millionaire" just one of the recent films for which he has composed music. Maggart's duties include orchestrating, arranging and preparing Rahman's scores for his films.

Choral music in the air at Middlebury, and on tour of Northeast

The College Choir embarked on a highly successful tour of Connecticut, Boston and New York City over spring break, April 21-26, 2009. The tour included concerts at the phenomenal Trinity Church in the City of Boston, St. Michael's Church on 99th Street in Manhattan, and the New York Society for Ethical Culture on Central Park. The choir sang contemporary choral music, madrigals, and folk music, and a short choral drama featured several Middlebury student soloists. The trip also included a visit to an alum's high school chorus, and joint concerts with Saengerfest Men's Chorus in Boston, the United Nations International School Chamber Ensemble, and Philip Hamilton '82 and his a cappella project, Voices. The choir gave a home concert of the tour program on March 30 at Middlebury. 

2008-2009 marks the successful establishment of two new Music Department ensembles, the Men's and Women's Glee Clubs. The men's group offers a department ensemble singing group for men to learn vocal technique and a variety of repertoire, as well as ensemble singing. The women's group grew to 15 members this year and performed selections from "Gloria" by the 17th century master Antonio Vivaldi, with chamber orchestra, as well as several modern pieces and adaptations of international folk music. The Women's Glee Club is conducted by Jessica Allen. With the addition of the Glees, the Middlebury Music Department now has more students singing in ensembles than in the past several years, mostly students who have little or no contact with the department outside of those ensembles.

In May the College Choir performed five Ukrainian Romani songs, with several Middlebury student soloists and a student guitarist. The songs arrangements are the result of field research by Director of Choral Activities Jeffrey Buettner, who returns to Ukraine in June to share the recordings of the College Choir with Romani musicians there. Also on the program were three songs for chorus and piano by Johannes Brahms.

Jazz program is alive and well at Middlebury

The Sound Investment Jazz Ensemble completed its third full year under Dick Forman’s direction, and its second year as a Music Department performance ensemble. Twenty one students participated. The band offered five performances this year, including a town-gown dance at the Town Hall Theater in April.

Fifteen students performed in the Spring Jazz Showcase. Combos that formed in the Jazz Workshop performed regularly at the Grille, and occasionally at 51 Main.

The jazz program is growing. About 50 applicants for the Class of ’13 submitted jazz recordings with their applications. This is about a 30 percent increase from last year.

Seven graduating seniors served two or more years as museum assistants

Seven graduating seniors in the Class of 2009 – Alex Benepe, Mary Chiles, Sonia Epstein, Pujan Gandhi, Kelsey Nelson, Ramona Richards, and Jennifer Yamane – recently concluded either their second or third year of participation in the Museum Assistants Program (MAP) at the Middlebury College Museum of Art.

As museum assistants, they volunteered for several hours a week, learning about behind-the-scenes operations of the museum, leading school tours, and assisting with family programs. In addition to their volunteer work, five of the assistants were museum interns and one worked as a museum receptionist. We hope that each of them will take skills that they learned from teaching in the galleries and working in the office to new opportunities.

Student musician gets a chance to see the greats up close and personal

Andrew Throdahl, Class of 2009, studied piano with Music Department affiliate artist Diana Fanning, an internationally renowned musician. Throdahl has played the piano for more than a dozen years, and recently gave his senior recital in the Mahaney Center for the Arts Concert Hall. He has a special perspective on playing in Concert Hall, having worked as page-turner for many of the chamber musicians who visit as part of Middlebury’s Performing Arts Series. He has been able to sit at the elbows of some of the greats—and had the best seat in the house to observe their technique. Throdahl is also a classical music reviewer for The Campus, the student newspaper. So while he’s been earning a paycheck turning pages, he’s also had an insider’s eye for evaluating professional artists’ work.

Added Diana Fanning, "Andrew started off his time at Middlebury by winning the College Concerto Competition and playing a Prokofiev Piano Concerto with the College Orchestra. He ended his time at Middlebury performing a Prokofiev Sonata, as well as works by Beethoven, Chopin, Bach and Scriabin, at his Senior Recital. In the meantime, he also won the Chamber Music Competition, studied music composition in Paris, had an internship with an early music ensemble in NYC, was Arts Editor for The Campus, wrote insightful music reviews for The Campus and for the Addison Independent, and played in a benefit concert to help raise money for the Town Hall Theater.

Pages