Author Archives: Jeffrey Rehbach

Come join the Chorus!

Come join the Middlebury College Community Chorus as we begin our fall season — open to all who love to sing! Join students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members in our choir that numbers nearly 100 members from the greater Lake Champlain region.
We rehearse 7-8:30pm on Sundays and Tuesdays. We begin our rehearsals in Mahaney Arts Center 221 on Sept. 3 and Sept. 8 and then move to our usual location in Mead Chapel on Sept. 10.
Community Chorus in rehearsalThis fall, as we prepare for our concerts the weekend before Thanksgiving, we’ll introduce jubilant pieces influenced by American folk-roots, gospel, and African vocal and drumming traditions, alongside serene settings of remembrance and hope by contemporary composers; also the beautiful elegy entitled “Nänie” by classical composer Johannes Brahms; and inspirational works by Middlebury composers Peter Hamlin (written in memory of Grace and Steve Weber) and Sam Guarnaccia.
We welcome all – without audition – who love to sing (high school, college, and adults), trusting you can carry a tune accurately, are willing to learn to follow a musical score should you not already have that experience, and attend at least one rehearsal each week. Info: conductor Jeff Rehbach, rehbach@middlebury.edu or 989-7355 and on the web at http://go.middlebury.edu/communitychorus

College Community Chorus presents Spring Concert, Sunday, May 5

The 90 members of the Middlebury Community Chorus present their spring concert on Sunday, May 5. Most all the works on the program receive their first-ever Vermont performance at the 3pm concert.  Conductor Jeff Rehbach remarks, “We hope the music and lyrics at our spring concert—spanning the globe and from across the centuries—will lift spirits as spring and summer return to Vermont. As the lyrics of our songs suggest, within our singing we can hear words of healing, the melding of the parts to whole, the very language of the soul; any song we sing every word will rhyme, running through the summer sunshine!”

Middlebury Community Chorus
Students, alumni, community members enjoy rehearsal (photo: Silvia Cantu)

The choir welcomes guest violinist Romy Munkres, a Middlebury Union High School junior and the Young Tradition Vermont 2018 contest winner. She will play solo fiddle as the chorus accompanies her in a traditional Norwegian song, Gropen, a lively dance tune. From Celtic traditions, the ensemble offers Aisling (meaning ‘dream’ or ‘vision’) scored for solo violin and gently accompanied by the choir and piano.

The program features pieces in contrasting styles by American composers Gwyneth Walker and Susan LaBarr who set the poetry of Sara Teasdale for the songs Refuge and Grace Before Sleep, as well as music by composer Kyle Pederson, a graduate of the Vermont College of Fine Arts, who combines Arabic and English texts in Hands are Knockin’.

Also on the program, Norwegian-American composer Ola Gjeilo’s song The Rose lyrically portrays the this flower’s beauty; Irish composer Michael McGlynn’s Sunshine joyfully celebrates the coming of summer, while Haitian-American composer Sydney Guillaume’s Kanaval portrays the festive atmosphere of a mardi gras celebration in his homeland. Music faculty member Damascus Kafumbe adds vibrant color to this piece with special percussion instrumentation.The program includes dynamic choruses from Handel’s rarely performed The Triumph of Time and Truth – a work based on one of his earliest Italian oratorios, and then rewritten in the final years of his life. The choir will also sing Handel’s lovely Music, Spread Thy Voice Around. In these pieces, College students, staff, and community members sing solo parts, including Harper Baldwin ’19, Hannah Resnick ’21, Tahira Hasan ’21, Mingjui Gao ’21, Betty Kafumbe, Anna de Boer, and Louise Whalen Wright.

Chorus members hail from nearly two dozen towns throughout the Champlain Valley, and with student members from across the globe. Jeff Rehbach conducts, with Tim Guiles accompanying at the piano.


College Community Chorus begins new season

The Middlebury College Community Chorus announces a new season as its singers prepare for their annual spring concert, with an intriguing mix of pieces about time, seasons, and places. Regular rehearsals take place on Sunday and Tuesday evenings from 7:00-8:30 p.m. on the college campus, beginning January 27.

Middlebury Community Chorus

Students, alumni, community members enjoy rehearsal before last fall’s concert (photo: Silvia Cantu)

Rehearsals from January 27 through February 12 take place at the Mahaney Arts Center (room 221). As of February 17, rehearsals move to Mead Chapel. Historic, traditional, and contemporary music from across the globe will fill the hour-long program slated for performance the first weekend in May.

On this spring’s program, the choir will sing Gropen, a lively traditional Norwegian tune arranged for chorus with fiddle. Young Tradition Vermont award-winning high school student Romy Munkres from Cornwall VT will play with us. We also will perform Sunshine, an upbeat tune about blue sky and summer time, set by Irish composer Michael McGlynn. Also by McGlynn, we will offer Aisling, a quiet Celtic tune. Aisling means ‘dream’ or ‘vision’ and the work features a solo instrumental part that Romy will play.

Kanaval, a festive, fun work by Sydney Guillaume (born in Haiti, now living in the U.S.) depicts mardi gras in Haiti with a mix of tunes and rhythms influenced by traditional Haitian culture. Hands are Knockin’ includes words in both English and Arabic, a song by Kyle Pederson (who earned a master of fine arts degree in Vermont), written for an international school in Muscat, the capital of Oman, that asks if we will open our doors to all people.

In differing musical styles, we will prepare three newly composed songs with poetry by Sara Teasdale and Christina Rosetti, including Refuge, a radiant piece completed in 2015 by long-time Vermont composer Gwyneth Walker; Grace Before Sleep, a sensitive setting by Missouri-based composer Susan LaBarr; and The Rose,. a gentle tune with flowing piano accompaniment, by Norwegian-American composer Ola Gjeilo that portrays the picturesque beauty of this flower as it blossoms.

The program includes splendid historic choruses from a little known work by George Frederic Handel entitled The Triumph of Time and Truth, including a “Hallelujah” chorus (though not the one that many people know from “The Messiah”!) We will also sing one of Handel’s most beautiful choruses, Music Spread Thy Voice Around.

The choir invites new members to join us as we enjoy making music together. Participants should plan to attend at least one rehearsal each week. Numbering nearly 100 singers, the group welcomes without audition all who can follow a musical score and carry a tune accurately. Its members travel from throughout the region to participate in this 150-year-old community tradition, hosted by Middlebury College.

Jeff Rehbach continues in his nineteenth consecutive season as director of the College Community Chorus, and Timothy Guiles returns as the choir’s virtuoso accompanist.

For additional information, check on the web at go.middlebury.edu/communitychorus or send an inquiry to rehbach@middlebury.edu or 989-7355.

College Community Chorus in concert Nov. 17-18

The Middlebury College Community Chorus presents its annual Thanksgiving concerts on the Robison Concert Hall stage at the College’s Mahaney Center for the Arts at 7:00pm on Saturday evening, November 17 and at 3:00 pm on Sunday afternoon, November 18. A varied selection of historic and contemporary music fill the free, hour-long program entitled “A Song Arising.” Jeff Rehbach conducts and Tim Guiles accompanies the nearly 100 community and student members of the choir – among the largest choirs in the state!

The choir will present a dramatic new 2018 work, Vida Atrevida,

Sam Guarnaccia '67 and Jeff Rehbach

Composer Sam Guarnaccia ’67 and College Community Chorus conductor Jeff Rehbach in rehearsal with the chorus

by Middlebury alumnus Sam Guarnaccia ’67. Premiered just three months ago by the Spanish Language School choir, it sets the words of Chilean songwriter, artist, and activist Violeta Parra, originally entitled “Gracias a la vida” (Thank you for life). In the midst of social and economic injustice—even the disappearance and death of her friends during the Pinochet regime—Parra penned the words, “Thank you, life, for giving me so much: even laughter and tears, joy and pain, that form my song, your song, the same song that is everyone’s song, my very song.”

The chorus conveys the presence and power of music through songs written by a new generation of composers. Their words convey ideas of “original harmony, sounding from all things old and all things young; music formed deep within human hearts; and the light of song that shines strong through darkness, pain, and strife.” We hear these words in Muusika by Estonian composer Pärt Uusberg; in Earth Song by Frank Ticheli; and in Dan Forrest’s sensitive setting of the poem Alway Something Sings by Ralph Waldo Emerson, that features Middlebury Union Middle School student Asa Baker-Rouse singing solo soprano.

The chorus likewise gives voice to tranquility, reconciliation, and equality. The Peace of Wild Things by Jake Runestad, composed just five years ago, sets poetry by environmentalist Wendell Berry. With solo cello and viola parts played by Dieuwke Davydov and Molly Bidwell, the choir will present the Vermont premiere of Connor Koppin’s newly published setting of I Dream A World, in which poet Langston Hughes envisions a time when we may live together in peace and “share the bounties of the earth, whatever race you be.”

Songs of celebration and thanksgiving include I Will Sing, a toe-tapping gospel song by African-American composer Rosephanye Powell; Hymn for America by Stephen Paulus that portrays the beauty and blessings of our land; and an energetic setting by longtime Vermont resident Gwyneth Walker of a nineteenth-century hymn, How Can I Keep from Singing.

The program features classical composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s earliest and final choral works, a setting of Kyrie Eleison, and the final movement of his splendid Requiem. We bridge these two selections with Illumination, a Latin text that originates from 17th century Ireland, set by Celtic composer Michael McGlynn. Instrumentalists from the Middlebury Community Music Center, Vermont Symphony and Champlain Philharmonic Orchestra accompany the choir for these selections.

The concert will close with The Song Arising. Its vibrant words and music by Frank M. Martin ring out, “I will awaken the dawn, let there by singing, let there be music!” Come hear your neighbors from Brandon, Bridport, Bristol, Cornwall, East Middlebury, Goshen, Jerusalem, Leicester, Lincoln, Middlebury, Monkton, New Haven, North Ferrisburgh, Orwell, Ripton, Salisbury, Shoreham, South Burlington, Vergennes, Weybridge, Moriah NY, and students from Colorado, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Virginia, Latvia, Zimbabwe, and China perform together. Contact director Jeff Rehbach, 989-7355, for more information. 

Note: These performances cap off a weekend of choral music, that begins on Friday evening in the Concert Hall at 7:30pm, when the Vermont Collegiate Choral Consortium performs “Missa Luba” for chorus and percussion, with words of the traditional Mass in a setting based on Congolese musical idioms, sung by the student choirs of Middlebury College, Castleton University, and Northern Vermont University.

College Community Chorus begins new season

The Middlebury College Community Chorus welcomes faculty, staff, and students to join us as we prepare for our annual Thanksgiving concerts (Nov. 17-18) with a program entitled A Song Arising. Regular rehearsals begin September 11 in Mead Chapel, and then continue on Sundays and Tuesdays, 7-8:30pm throughout the fall. (Note: rehearsal on 9/18 will be in Mahaney Ctr for the Arts 221).

Community Chorus in rehearsal

Community Chorus in rehearsal

As always, we welcome community neighbors and family members (high school age and up) to join us! Participants should plan to attend at least one rehearsal each week. We welcome all singers without audition who can follow a musical score. Our members travel from throughout the region to participate in this 150-year-old community tradition.

For additional information, check on the web at go.middlebury.edu/communitychorus or contact director Jeff Rehbach at 989-7355.

Please see below a listing of selections for this fall. We look forward to making music together as we explore this repertoire! Join us!

The power of music in our lives

  • Earth Song by Frank Ticheli, who writes, “The scorched earth cries out in vain, but music and singing have been my refuge.”
  • The Song Arising by Joseph Martin with his words, “Where there is sadness, where there is strife, let me sing harmony.”
  • Alway Something Sings by Dan Forrest with words by Ralph Waldo Emerson, “I hear a skyborn music still: it sounds from all things old, it sounds from all things young.”
  • Vida Atrevida, a dramatic new 2018 setting of Chilean songwriter and activist Violeta Parra’s words, arranged by Middlebury’s Sam Guarnaccia: “Thank you, life, for giving me so much. You gave me laughter and you gave me tears. The two elements that make up my song, and your song, and everyone’s song, which is my very song.”

The world around us

  • Muusika by Estonian composer Pärt Uusberg: “Somewhere the original harmony must exist, hidden somewhere in the vast wilds…”
  • The Peace of Wild Things by Jake Runestad, a 2014 award-winning composition based on Wendell Berry’s poem.
  • I Dream a World by Connor Koppin, in a new setting of the text by Langston Hughes.

Reverently

  • Kyrie eleisonWolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s first choral work, scored for choir & string quartet.
  • Communio/Lux aeterna: the final movement from Mozart‘s powerful Requiem.
  • Illumination, a prayerful Latin text originating from 17th century Ireland, sensitively set by composer Michael McGlynn, arranger for the Celtic ensemble Anúna.

Celebration & Thanksgiving

  • O Be Joyful (Psalm 100) by British composer John Rutter
  • Hymn for America by Minnesota composer Stephen Paulus (a Thanksgiving favorite of the chorus)
  • How Can I Keep from Singing by longtime Vermont resident Gwyneth Walker
  • I Will Sing by African American singer-composer Rosephanye Powell in a toe-tapping gospel style, “When freedom rings, I will sing of the joy, of the peace, of the love that fills my heart.”

College Community Chorus Spring Concerts

Fifteen Middlebury students join the College Community Chorus and will take to the stage in Brandon and Middlebury on Mother’s Day Weekend for its annual spring concerts, this year with the theme “Moonlit Nights & Sun-filled Days.” Conductor Jeff Rehbach leads the 80-voice chorus as virtuoso pianist Timothy Guiles accompanies the ensemble. Rehbach notes that delightful classical, traditional, and popular music fills the hour-long program.

Community Chorus

Students, faculty, staff, alumni, community members all sing with the Chorus

College students hail from China, Zimbabwe, Texas, California, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Massachusetts, Delaware, Maine, Vermont, New York, Kentucky, and Maryland. Community members of the College Community chorus — including College alumni, as well as current and retired staff and faculty — travel for weekly rehearsals from throughout the region, including Cornwall, Bristol, Weybridge, Middlebury, New Haven, Leicester, Orwell, Brandon, Moriah NY, North Ferrisburgh, Monkton, Salisbury, and Vergennes. The group welcomes all singers who delight in this 150-year-old community tradition, hosted by Middlebury College.

Performances take place on Saturday evening, May 12, 7:30 pm, at the Brandon Town Hall, and on Sunday afternoon, 13, 3:00 pm at the Mahaney Center for the Arts, Robinson Concert Hall at Middlebury College. Donations at the door in Brandon support ongoing renovations and programming at the historic Town Hall, while the Middlebury concert is free admission.

As the choir singers process and gather on stage, they open the concert with Awake! Bright day from Richard Wagner’s famous opera Die Meistersinger. Following the quiet Evening Prayer from Englebert Humperdinck’s 1893 musical setting of Hansel and Gretel, the choir greets a new dawn with Behold the sun!, a chorus excerpted from one of Franz Joseph Haydn’s last major works, completed in 1801.

The program features music for the night by contemporary American composers Gwyneth Walker and Daniel Elder. Walker, who lived and farmed for many years in Vermont, seeks to capture the lyricism of the E. E. Cummings poem “after all white horses are in bed.” Elder writes his own lyrics and music for the gentle nocturnes entitled Ballade to the Moon and Lullaby.

From world music traditions, the choir takes up a new arrangement of Yonder Come Day, a spiritual from the Georgia Sea Islands, as well as a traditional song from Ghana that describes children’s games played beneath the bright moon. Popular tunes on the program include lyrical choral arrangements of Cole Porter’s Night and Day, Lennon & McCartney’s I’ll Follow the Sun (as arranged for the King’s Singers, an award-winning British a cappella ensemble), and Dolly Parton’s Light of a Clear Blue Morning by Craig Hella Johnson, conductor of the Grammy® award-winning ensemble Conspirare.

The concert concludes with a flair, as the choir sings Pulitzer Prize winning composer Aaron Copland’s The Promise of Living followed by Meridian, a stirring work scored for piano solo and chorus, by noted contemporary composer Ola Gjeilo—premiered in Vermont just three weeks ago by the Chorus, the Middlebury Community Wind Ensemble, and pianist Tim Guiles.

 

Come join the Chorus!

College Community Chorus announces rehearsals for new season

College Community Chorus rehearsal

Rehbach leads students, staff, faculty and community members in rehearsal in Chorus rehearsal. Photo: Anastasiya Prokhorenko ’19

The Middlebury College Community Chorus announces a new season to prepare for its spring concerts, slated for performance in Brandon and Middlebury on Mother’s Day weekend May 12-13. Regular rehearsals are Tuesday and Sunday evenings from 7:00-8:30 p.m.  On Sunday February 11, the group will meet in the Mahaney Center for the Arts room 221. Rehearsals move to their regular location in Mead Chapel beginning Tuesday February 13.  The Chorus welcomes all who love to sing to come enjoy rehearsals and performances with us.

Conductor Jeff Rehbach notes that this concert season offers singers the opportunity to explore a variety of musical styles with texts that describe moonlit nights and sun-filled days, from classical works to spirituals and arrangements of twentieth-century popular songs for an enjoyable and entertaining program for the spring.

In a preview, he highlights this season’s program that includes music for the night written by contemporary American composers Gwyneth Walker and Daniel Elder. Walker, who lived for many years in Vermont, seeks to capture the lyricism of the E. E. Cummings poem “After all white horses are in bed.” Elder writes his own lyrics for his gentle nocturnes entitled “Lullaby” and “Ballade to the Moon.” The chorus will also prepare “Evening Prayer” from Humperdinck’s musical setting of Hansel and Gretel, and, as night turns to day, the morning chorale “Awake, bright day” from Wagner’s famous opera Die Meistersinger,  and Franz Joseph Haydn’s “Behold the sun” from The Seasons.

From world music traditions, the choir will take up a new arrangement of “Yonder Come Day”, a spiritual from the Georgia Sea Islands, as well as a traditional song from Ghana that describes children’s games beneath the bright moon. Popular tunes on the program include songs such as Lennon & McCartney’s “I’ll Follow the Sun” (as arranged for the King’s Singers, the award-winning British a cappella ensemble that performed in Middlebury just a few months ago), and lyrical choral arrangements of Dolly Parton’s “Light of a Clear Blue Morning” and Cole Porter’s “Night and Day.”

In addition to the Mother’s Day weekend performances, members of the Chorus will also enjoy the opportunity to join the Middlebury Wind Ensemble this spring at its concerts on April 20 and 21. Featured will be Pulitzer prize-winning American composer Aaron Copland’s “The Promise of Living” scored for chorus and winds, and the Vermont premiere of “Meridian,” a stirring work scored for piano solo, winds, and chorus by noted contemporary composer Ola Gjeilo, with Tim Guiles as piano soloist.

Jeff Rehbach continues as director of the College Community Chorus, and Tim Guiles returns as the choir’s virtuoso accompanist. The chorus welcomes all interested singers (high schoolers and adults) to join the ensemble during the month of February. Participants should plan to attend at least one rehearsal each week. Numbering one hundred singers, the group is open without audition or mandatory fees to all singers who can follow a musical score. Its members travel from throughout the region to participate in this 150-year-old community tradition, hosted by Middlebury College. For up to date information, check on the web at go.middlebury.edu/communitychorus or contact Jeff at rehbach@middlebury.edu  or 989-7355.