Category Archives: music

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.”

What’s Behind A Perfect Collaboration?

Explore how IBM partnered with Spotify and multi-platinum music producer Alex da Kid to create a custom Watson application for Alex to find the next artist for his upcoming single “Go” dropping May 18. The song features powerhouse female musicians H.E.R. and Rapsody, an artist discovered with the help of AI. Click here to watch the short film regarding this collaboration.

 

Are you interested to learn about the Music Industry?

There are several Midd alums currently working in the music industry. I encourage you to contact them to learn about the various roles and skills that you should develop to succeed in this industry.

Search for them via Middnet and/or LinkedIn. Below you will find a short list where alumni have worked or interned in the past.

Greater Los Angeles area: Universal Music, Hijinks LA, Squeak E. Clean Productions, Woofer Music & Sound, KIDinaKORNER, Elementary – CBS, Awesomeness TV – DreamWorks SKG, The Otheroom (Echo Park), Ken Rich Sound Services, Euphonic Sound Lab, LLC, Michael Dobbins Music, Inc., Elizabeth Stack with Elizabeth Music

Greater New York City area: Third Culture Group, BreakThru Radio, Universal Music, TuneCore, Wind-up Records, XL Recordings/Terrible Records, Hyperballad Music, Red Bull Music Academy, New York Philharmonic, Pulse Music, 95.5 WPLJ, ATO Records, Warner Music, Sony Music, The Artists Organization, Joe’s Pub at the Public Theater, True Panther Sounds, Beggars Group & Matador Records, The Wild Honey Pie, PureMix Studios, The Orchard, Viacom, Supro, Pigtronix,

As a student, you could continue to develop your experience and skills on campus. For example, you could work for WRMC- FM Middlebury College radio station, get involved with MCAB Concerts Committee, or work for the Gamut Room.

If you would like to discuss your interest in the music industry, please schedule an appointment with me in handshake!

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.

Taste of The World 2018!

image of a wooden cart full of books

Join the Student Government Association’s Social Affairs Committee as they celebrate cultural expo “Taste of the World” from January 22nd- 26th, 2018.

Quick Announcement: This week, January 22nd- 26th, the Student Government Association’s (SGA) Social Affairs Committee is hosting a cultural expo called “Taste of the World,” featuring foods from all over the globe. This week-long event includes explorations of world cuisine, calligraphy, dance workshops, a film screening of Fruitvale Stationan open-mic night interspersed with performances by dance troupes Evolution, Riddim, K-Pop and many more! There will also be a panel addressing several types of art featuring Christal Brown (Dance), Damascus Kafumbe (Music) and Marissel Hernández-Romero (Spanish & Portuguese)! For more information, see the event’s Facebook page at go/middlebury.edu/taste and stop by the Davis Family Library to see this thematic display! Event Contact: Adiza Mohammed, adizam@middlebury.edu.

African American Music Appreciation Month 2017

Literatures & Cultures Librarian Katrina Spencer kneels next to a newly installed display featuring African American musics..

I grew up in a very musical household and that identity follows me wherever I go.

Name: Katrina Spencer

Title: Literatures & Cultures Librarian

Hometown: Los Angeles, California

Collaborators: Kat Cyr, Arabella Holzapfel, Amy Frazier, Terry Simpkins, Marlena Evans, Heather Stafford, Innocent Mpoki, Joe Antonioli, Sue Driscoll, Dan Frostman, Kim Gurney, Janine McDonald, Todd Sturtevant, Bryan Carson, Joy Pile, Ryan Clement, multiple student workers, Barack Obama, Jimmy Carter, and others. Many sincere thanks to all of the energy you all have put into this.

Whatcha got goin’ here in the atrium and on the main level of the Davis Family Library?

Of the 23,000+ CDs we have in our collection, we are highlighting over 300 works by and about African American musical artists from June 1st- 22nd. Former President Barack Obama declared June as African American Music Appreciation Month, an initiative first shaped in 1979. President Obama was able to draw further attention to the commemorative month with his 2016 proclamation and the many artists his administration invited to perform at the White House.

Generally speaking, the content spans the 1940s to the early 2000s, including artists from every decade in between. African American music started much earlier than this, but when it comes to largely accessible sound recordings, the early 20th century was perhaps a good place to start in terms of our holdings.  However, we do plan to include some very early recordings and have a few monographs that address African American music in the late 1800s- early 1900s.

What motivated you to put this together?

There were so many motivations. First, I have lived now in five states– California, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, Vermont– and while the demographics, landscapes, weather, and food fare change, the consumption of African American music as an avid pastime does not. Scratch that: it’s global. People love the soulful sounds born deep in the South of our country, among pain, oppression, and affliction, within the church, in the Great Migrations to urban spaces, on stage at Harelm’s Apollo Theater, within both Motown’s and Los Angeles’ major recording studios, and shown on MTV and BET. When you tell the story of African American music, you tell the story of our nation.

Second, I attended the Posse Plus Retreat back in February when I was hired and some of the facilitators did a great job of playing music during our set-ups for activities. There I told American Studies professor (and musician) Dr. Will Nash, “I’ll give you all the money in my wallet if you can tell me who’s singing this song.” He thought for a minute and replied, “Is it Brandy and Monica’s “The Boy Is Mine?”” I wasn’t expecting a white man, some 20 years my senior, to know an R&B hit from the 1990s– and I was wrong. Thankfully I was only carrying $1.63 in cash! But that conversation made me realize even more profoundly that music transcends race, class, geography, and other markers we tend to think divide us.

Lastly (and transparently), I love to see people of color taking ownership of our library spaces, myself included. Frequently at predominantly white institutions, people of color and oppressed minorities do not see themselves systematically reflected in the curriculum, the history of their colleges, and/or in the body of faculty and staff. My efforts in the library aim to speak to that scarcity of representation. I’m on a mission to reassert esteem, to remind my audiences that we’re in the 21st century, and that “America” is increasingly and beautifully brown.

How’d you decide what to include?

We crowd-sourced. We started up an Excel file and invited various people on the library staff to add to it. The seven of us rather easily came up with hundreds of works that would fit into our theme. Ha! New recommendations were coming in while we were loading the shelves!

Can I just say that I learned so much in the process of preparing this display? I found out about “soundies,” some of the very first “music videos” of the 20th century that preserve early performances by black artists, that the ubiquitous tune,“The Entertainer,” was composed by a black man, Scott Joplin, and, perhaps most importantly for me, if you ask for help on a project, you’ll get it. This display was nothing if not a collaborative effort.

The layout of the display is a bit unconventional. Can you say a few words about that?

Sure! The idea of adorning our tables (and carrels) with display materials had been brewing for awhile, however, the opportunity to test it out only presented itself this month. The whole point of a display is to draw attention to a theme. While it’s easy to walk past shelving containing “themed” items en route to a study space, it’s harder to miss items in a display that occupy one’s study space. I call it a “guerrilla” method. It’s a more aggressive attempt to engage an audience. (And people are noticing.)

What were some of the challenges in shaping this display?

I wish the students who are normally here during the academic year could see and enjoy the display. Many of them who frequent the Anderson Freeman Center <3 would appreciate the work. However, as we prepare for Reunion, many alumni will likely have an opportunity to encounter it.

We also realize that streaming is perhaps the most popular way for young people to consume music. While we have resources for this (see “Music Online: Listening (North America” within our databases under “M” at go.middlebury.edu/lib), the CD cases and inserts make for great visuals. For those of us wanting to listen to the CDs, know that we have multiple disc drives behind the Circulation Desk to loan out.

This display will last until June 22nd as the whole campus is gearing up for Language Schools and the content includes music in the English language. However, I have made efforts to include artists from the black diaspora like Beny Moré (Cuba) for the Spanish School, Les Nubians (France) for the French School, and Seu Jorge (Brazil) for the Portuguese School.

What do you want people to take away from the display?

I want people taking in the display to think critically about the contributions African Americans have made to this country. Music is merely one of them. Our economic contributions are often hard for people to stomach because they are mired in blood, sweat, and tears. Our scientific contributions experience historical erasures as The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and Hidden Figures suggest. And our political ones are often met with violence, aggression and unpopularity, as the Civil Rights Movements demonstrate, while ultimately forwarding this nation.

How else can we enjoy this effort?

Like our Facebook page. For three weeks we will be sharing videos and trivia that speak to the African American musical experience and history. The content will be loosely chronological and you can follow the evolution of African American music with us.

Last words?

This display is an act of love. We welcome students, faculty, and staff to approach library workers with display development ideas and to continue making the library spaces your own. Also, while the music CDs typically “live” behind the circulation desk, they are still accessible to you. Come check it all out.

College Community Chorus Launches New Season

We welcome all who love to sing to join in rehearsals at the start of a new season, as we prepare music for our spring concerts in early May.  You’ll have an opportunity to explore uplifting music that celebrates the wonder of star-filled nights and an awakening to new possibilities, from a rarely heard song by Beethoven to traditional African music and breathtaking new works by contemporary American composers.

community chorus singers

Community members and College staff and faculty rehearse in Mead Chapel

College faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members rehearse together on Sunday and Tuesday evenings, 7-8:30 p.m. We begin on Feb. 5, 7 & 12 in Mahaney Center for the Arts (room 221); on and after Feb. 14 rehearsals move to Mead Chapel.
Concerts are slated for Saturday evening, May 6 (Brandon Town Hall) and Sunday afternoon, May 7 (Robison Hall, Mahaney Center for the Arts). We ask singers to join no later than February 21 and to attend at least one rehearsal each week.

Here’s a preview of the program:

  • Two beautifully crafted classical works that speak of hope in the midst of grief: Elegischer Gesang by Ludwig van Beethoven and Let nothing ever grieve thee by Johannes Brahms.
  • Inspired by the legend of the phoenix, contemporary Norwegian-American composer Ola Gjeilo and poet Charles Silvestri recently wrote Across the vast, eternal sky, scored for piano and string quartet. ‘This is my grace, to be restored, born again, in flame; do not despair that I am gone away; I will appear again when the sunset paints flames across the vast eternal sky.’
  • The traditional song Shosholoza originated among migrant works traveling from Zimbabwe to work in South African mines. Featured in the movie Invictus, its meaning may come from a combination of both Ndebele and Zulu words meaning to push forward, endeavor, or strive.
  • American composer Randall Thompson creates a stirring setting of Robert Frost’s poem Choose something like a star. ‘It asks of us a certain height, so when at times the mob is swayed to carry praise or blame too far, we may choose something like a star to stay our minds on and be staid.’
  • Thirty-year-old composer Daniel Elder recently completed an energetic arrangement of Sara Teasdale’s poem May Night. ‘The spring is fresh and fearless and every leaf is new… Here in the moving shadows I catch my breath and sing—My heart is fresh and fearless and over-brimmed with spring.’
  • Two settings of a James Agee text, entitled Sure on this Shining Nightone by 20th-century American composer Samuel Barber and the second, an expressive arrangement by award-winning contemporary composer Morten Lauridsen. ‘Sure on this shining night of star made shadows round, kindness must watch for me this side the ground…’
  • The Awakening, with words and music by pianist-composer Joseph M. Martin. He portrays a dream in which no choir remains ‘to sing to change the world, only silence…’ But then we ‘Awake! All voices join as one! Let music live!’

Contact conductor Jeff Rehbach (rehbach@middlebury.edu) or 802.989.7355 with any questions, and check out the Chorus and its history at go.middlebury.edu/communitychorus.