French Resources

Resources at Middlebury College


Francophone Vermont

There are many francophone activities in Vermont:

  • The Middlebury-area “Deuxième Samedi” French Conversation Group meets officially at 1 p.m. the second Saturday of every month all year through, currently convening at Carol’s Hungry Mind Café on Merchants Row.  All abilities and ages are welcome.  There is just one requirement: French language only!  If you feel shy, you are welcome to just come and listen at first, then join in when you feel comfortable.  Enjoy friendly, casual conversation over a bit of lunch or a fine beverage.  For more information, please e-mail
  • Channel 22 (cable) broadcasts RadioCanada from Montréal.
  • Alliance Francaise of the Lake Champlain Region is a local organization that celebrates the French history and culture of the region, by offering classes events and resources to its many members. 
  • Vergennes celebrates French Heritage day in July, with Franco-American music, French Canadian fiddling,  French response songs, step-dancing, clogging, re-enactors, French food, a fencing demonstration, the Bastille Day Waiter's Race, narrated English and French historical walking tours, and more.
  • Va-et-Vient, a local francophone music group, often performs in the area, including at the College. Other French-language music groups that have performed recently at Middlebury College include Le Vent du Nord, Les Cowboys fringants and Gadelle.
  • Chimney Point State Historic Site has a Museum of Native American and French Heritage.

Some historical facts:

  • Samuel de Champlain discovered Lake Champlain in 1609.
  • In 1666, Pierre de Saint-Paul, Sieur de la Motte established Fort Sainte-Anne, a settlement on Isle La Motte.
  • In 1755, the French constructed Fort Carillon on the Vermont/ New York border.
  • The city of Vergennes is named after the Comte de Vergennes, who negotiated the 1783 Treaty of Paris, ending the Revolutionary War.
  • The nineteenth century saw a large influx of French Canadians, coming to work in Vermont factories and mills, and many of their descendants live in Vermont today.

For more information:

The French Settlement Of Vermont: 1609-1929
Regional Educational Technology Network

Facilities and Resources


The Middlebury College Music Department is located in the 100,000-square-foot Mahaney Center for the Arts, which opened in 1992. Special Facilities located there which relate to the study of music are the following:


Concert Hall, Mahaney Center for the Arts
  • 400-seat concert hall, an exquisite acoustical space with 27' by 40' elliptical stage and a wrap-around balcony. Mark Christensen is the technical director of this space.
  • 9 practice rooms, all equipped with pianos—two of the rooms contain two grand pianos
  • One of the practice rooms has a French double-manual harpsichord built by William Dowd in 1964. The action was upgraded by his shop in 1985. It has five octaves and three choirs of strings. Private lessons are available form Cynthia Huard. There is also a three-rank portatif organ available for student use.
  • The Music collection in the Davis Family Library contains reference, CD, book, video, and score collections in the field of music and dance. In the library's Special Collections, the Helen Hartness Flanders Ballad Collection comprises an archive of recordings and other primary sourced materials documenting the vanishing tradition of the English-language folk ballad.  (NOTE: These collections are NOT in the CFA)
  • Electronic music lab, with computer workstations and software for the creation of digital music compositions, under the guidance of Professor Peter Hamlin. Also available in the music department are MIDI keyboards and computers with software for creating music scores.

Mead organ
  • The large pipe organ in Mead Chapel was constructed by the Gress-Miles Organ Company in 1971, and dedicated by Professor Emeritus Emory Fanning, College Organist. It has three keyboards, and some 3100 pipes of various sizes, comprising 50 ranks or sets of pipes. Many outstanding organists have given recitals on this brilliant and versatile instrument; and it is also used to accompany numerous services and concerts. Recent additions include computer generated key/stop action, which allows innovative assistance to the performer; as well as playback memory, and digital pedal stops. Students interested in organ study should contact Professor Fanning: College X5607 or 802-388-6897.