COVID-19 Updates: Fall Semester

Russian language students apply new media to literary classics

Students in Tom Beyer's 19th Century Russian Literature class recently completed projects using new media. These included a Google Earth Tour of Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, a series of podcasts on iTunes called Turgenev Talk, a blog for Anna Karenina to pour her heart out, a Facebook page for the Russian writer Lermontov, and a MySpace page devoted to the Underground Man, from Dostoevsky's Notes from the Underground.

College Community Chorus brings together town and gown

One of the ways that town and gown come together in Middlebury is through the 100-member College Community Chorus, headed up by Jeff Rehbach, who works in LIS. On Tuesday and Sunday evenings during the fall and spring semesters, a couple of dozen students -- some who love singing, others singing in a choir for the first time -- join folks from throughout the greater Addison County area (including College staff and alumni) to share in the experience of making music together.

Staff member creates podcasts of bellydance music

Arabella Holzapfel works in the library at Middlebury, and one of her pastimes is producing a podcast of bellydance music: an eclectic mix of mostly Middle Eastern music, but also African, South American, and electronic and dance beats. The most recent "episode" of the podcast was downloaded more than 19,000 times by people around the world; there are a total of nearly 85,000 downloads of the eight episodes she's produced so far. "I'm sure that without the support and general ambience of being employed at a place with so much emphasis on international cultures and technology," Holzapfel says, "I would never have even thought of doing this."

Professor writes German textbook for opera singers and musicians

During her sabbatical leave in Germany during 2008-09, Bettina Matthias (German) researched and wrote a German textbook for opera singers and musicians. Having taught in the "German for Singers and Vocal Coaches" program in the German Summer Language School since 2000, she decided to dedicate her sabbatical to writing a much-needed book that takes into account this special group's needs, abilities, interests and professional realities. Her research brought her into contact with some of Germany's finest musicians, opera houses, agents, conservatories, professors and directors, and the final result will prepare singers both linguistically and culturally for auditions, projects and work in the German-speaking world.

Award-winning German Theater Group founded by faculty member

Since 2001, Bettina Matthias (German) has worked with German students, from first-semester to graduating senior, in Middlebury's German Theater Group. What started as an alternative to the typical final paper in late 2001 has grown into a very successful staple in the German Department and on campus, a steady group with at least 10 members at any given time, that has won the German Theater Competition at Mt. Holyoke College five times and has performed nine full-length plays in German. In fall, we will celebrate our tenth production together.

Alumnus fondly remembers work with Dolci

My four years cooking, managing, and eating as part of Dolci stand out as some of the most important parts of my Middlebury education, and the memories that seem to most resonate whenever I return to Vermont or pass by a bustling restaurant kitchen.

Spending my Fridays in the basement kitchens of Chateau, FIC, and finally Proctor led me to many of my closest friends at Middlebury, taught me how to lead and teach peers (not without some bumps and bruises, as well as a few burns), and introduced friendships with the exceptional men and women of Dining Services who work tirelessly to serve an often under-appreciative student body. Learning how to balance the pressure of preparing a truly gourmet meal for nearly 100 people with the overarching reality that this was something we did for enjoyment remained one of the greatest challenges I faced at Middlebury, and one of the lasting lessons. Plus, it was just really, really fun (not to mention a great thing to talk about on my resume).

As was always true when we were forced to migrate to a new dining-hall home, these most recent changes will create both new challenges, as well as new opportunities (perhaps 51 Main will allow the broader town community to experience the pleasures of Dolci). And yet, I hope that some things stay the same: notably, that the organization remains well-connected with dining services, and that Dolci continues to bring together students and Midd Dining staff to collaborate, learn, make great food, and become friends.

Exhibit of early Renaissance art, curated by faculty member, opens in September

Katy Smith Abbott (History of Art and Architecture, Associate Dean of the College) has curated an exhibit of early Renaissance art that will open at the Middlebury College Museum of Art on September 18, 2009. "The Art of Devotion: Panel Painting in Early Renaissance Italy" brings together paintings and sculptures from 10 different American collections. A full-color catalogue will be published in conjunction with the exhibit, with contributions by Smith Abbott and other scholars. The exhibit is underwritten in part by the Samuel Kress Foundation, the Robert Lehman Foundation, and the Middlebury College Arts Council.

Alumna's work casts spotlight on a notorious reign of terror

In 2001, PBS NewsHour correspondent Elizabeth Farnsworth ’65 asked Henry Kissinger why human rights weren’t really at the top of his list of priorities when he met with Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1976. “Why did you not say to him: You’re violating human rights. You’re killing people. Stop it!” she asked the former National Security Advisor and secretary of state. Kissinger punted: “Human rights were not an international issue at that time, the way they have become since. That was not what diplomats and secretaries of states and presidents were saying generally to anybody in those days.” Winning the Cold War, at whatever cost, was the only thing that mattered; in South America, this meant preventing what Nixon referred to as a “red sandwich”—a continent of communist movements anchored by Cuba and Chile.

The Caretaker: For most, his name is unfamiliar. But his handiwork? Chances are, you know it well

There’s not much written about the caretaker.

He works unnoticed; the man behind, often beneath, Bread Loaf. He’s the man who keeps the place, in its crescive yet constant state of decline, consistently static—forever the same. His work, if done well, is always done, and never in the process of doing. It’s always been this way. It’s all always been this way. Right? And while Joe Battell’s name rings true for many, who’s ever heard of John Houston, his right-hand man and Bread Loaf’s first caretaker? He was the man who helped keep up the Inn and build its acreage those first winters; the man who carried blank deeds in his pocket in case he ran across a neighbor willing to sell his land; the man who chopped wood for families in surrounding towns because, well, Battell needed the money.

One righteous babe: Is Anais Mitchell '04 the next big thing in folk music?

Matching a crinkly, crimson tube top and glittery skirt to her auburn-tinted- brunette, shoulder-length hair and ruby lipstick, Anaïs Mitchell ’04 looks bewitching on stage, part siren and part waif; only her ice blue eyes offset the fiery red. She strums her acoustic guitar as the sold-out crowd at Club Passim, the legendary folk haunt in Cambridge, Massachusetts, nods along in appreciation. And then we hear her voice, a light, fresh thing, and a jolt of energy shoots through the room. This, this is something new.

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