The Middlebury College Community Chorus announces a new season to prepare a concert to celebrate Thanksgiving, slated for performance at Mead Chapel on the Middlebury College campus on Sunday afternoon, November 23. Regular rehearsals are Sunday and Tuesday evenings from 7:00-8:30 p.m. in Mead Chapel on the Middlebury College campus. Rehearsals begin Tuesday, September 9, at 7:00 p.m. Staff and faculty, as well as students, are welcome to join the chorus through September 23; participants should plan to attend at least one rehearsal each week. Conductor Jeff Rehbach notes, “The Chorus is especially privileged this season to be performing works by great composers of the past, alongside amazing new music by Middlebury composer Sam Guarnaccia. These pieces celebrate and honor the amazing universe in which we live.”
The centerpiece of the program features the Middlebury premiere of selections from an extended work by Guarnaccia, Emergent Universe Oratorio, written just one year ago. It is a powerful and sensitive work, drawing on texts that describe the universe and its creation and transformation. In addition to texts by contemporary writers spoken by a narrator, the performance includes four choruses accompanied by chamber orchestra: EaarthRise Amen by Thomas Berry; Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry; Awakening by Brian Swimme & Mary Evelyn Tucker, creators of the documentary video Journey of the Universe; and To See a World by William Blake.
The Thanksgiving program includes the exuberant chorus The Heavens are Telling from classical composer Franz Joseph Haydn’s “The Creation.” The choir will prepare three choruses with historic texts from the Psalms by George Frederick Handel: As Pants the Hart (from Psalm 42); Put Thy Trust in God (from Psalm 43); In the Voice of Praise and Thanksgiving (from Psalm 26). The Chorus will reprise a work from its past Thanksgiving concerts by contemporary Minnesota composer Stephen Paulus, Hymn for America, that recognizes and gives thanks for the variety and beauty of our country’s landscape. We also give tribute to American folksinger and environmentalist Pete Seeger with a beautiful setting of his song, To My Old Brown Earth.
Jeff Rehbach begins his fifteenth season as director of the community chorus, and Timothy Guiles returns as accompanist. The College Community Chorus welcomes all interested singers to join the ensemble. Numbering nearly 100 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.
For information, check on the web at go.middlebury.edu/communitychorus or contact director Jeff Rehbach at 989-7355.