Tag Archives: For Faculty

Chorus Thanksgiving Concert includes tribute to Midd alumna and staff member Grace & Steve Weber

Songs of Rejoicing and Remembrance: Middlebury Community Chorus Thanksgiving Concerts

The Middlebury College Community Chorus presents its annual Thanksgiving performances on the Middlebury College campus at the Mahaney Arts Center’s Robison Concert Hall at 7:00pm on Saturday evening, November 23 and again at 3:00 pm on Sunday afternoon, November 24. Historic and contemporary music fills the free, hour-long program entitled “Songs of Rejoicing and Remembrance.” Jeff Rehbach conducts and Tim Guiles accompanies the 110 community and student, faculty, staff, and alumni members of the choir—among the largest choirs in the state!

The choir will share songs of hope, gratitude, peace, and tribute, including the world premiere of Wings of the Morning by Middlebury College professor Peter Hamlin ’73. He wrote this setting of hymn and psalm texts in memory of long-time chorus member Grace Weber ’79, who passed away in December 2016, and her husband Steve, retired College forester, who passed away in May of this year. The chorus will also offer a movement from Emergent Universe Oratorio by Middlebury alumnus Sam Guarnaccia ’67 in a stirring musical setting of words by William Blake: “To see a world in a grain of sand and a heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an hour.”

College Community Chorus on stage“This is the sound of one voice, one spirit, one people: voices singing together in harmony, all of us singing with love…” These words by North American composer Ruth Moody, who sings with the Canadian folk-roots trio The Wailin’ Jennys, will ring out as the concert opens. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, the Chorus will also present dynamic settings of historic psalm texts that give voice to gratefulness, celebration, and praise. They include Sing Out Your Joy by African-American gospel songwriter Victor C. Johnson; a song of praise entitled Modimo, arranged by South African composer-conductor Michael Barrett; and Ngokujabula! scored for chorus and percussion by contemporary composer Dan Forrest that energetically expresses jubilation with sweeping melodies and driving rhythms.

Iowa composer Elaine Hagenberg’s The Music of Stillness exquisitely sets poetry by Sara Teasdale that opens with “There will be rest and pure stars shining.” Minnesota composer Stephen Paulus wrote Hymn to the Eternal Flame in remembrance of all who suffered and perished in the horrors of the Holocaust; it begins, “Every face is in you, every voice, every sorrow, every memory, woven into fire.” From the classical music tradition, Johannes Brahms composed an elegy with lush harmonies and expressive melodies entitled Nänie. With references to ancient Greek and Roman mythology, its text by nineteenth-century German author Friedrich Schiller poignantly depicts the death of that which is beautiful.

The program closes with  Luminous Night of the Soul, an uplifting work by award-winning Norwegian-American composer Ola Gjeilo, who combines texts by the sixteenth-century Spanish poet and mystic St. John of the Cross and contemporary poet Charles Anthony Silvestri with its uplifting sentiment, “Praise to all music which soars to inspire!”

 Instrumentalists — including College teachers, staff, and students — from the Champlain Philharmonic, Vermont Symphony, Burlington Civic Symphony, Middlebury Community Music Center, Middlebury Wind Ensemble, and Middlebury College Orchestra augment the program as they perform several works with the chorus.

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

Middlebury Institute professor of Nonproliferation offers lecture at Middlebury College

Middlebury Institute professor lectures on U.S. strategy and Syrian chemical weapons

As Syria descended into civil war in 2011-2012, what had once seemed unimaginable – that the regime might use that country’s chemical weapons (CW) against its own people – became a horrifying reality. Syria’s possession and eventual use of CW confronted the international community with a difficult challenge. The United States, sometimes working with France and the United Kingdom, responded by employing a strategy of coercion. U.S. coercive threats aimed both to deter chemical attacks and to compel the Syrian government to give up its chemical arsenal. This approach, initiated under President Obama, continued under President Trump, eventually led to two rounds of air strikes against Syria. This talk will assess the effectiveness (or lack of effectiveness) of these efforts and attempt to determine the lessons that should be learned for future policies that seek to deal with so-called weapons of mass destruction.

Jeff Knopf is a professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, where he serves as chair of the M.A. program in Nonproliferation and Terrorism Studies. He is also a research affiliate with the Institute’s Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) and with the Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) at Stanford University.

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.