Tag Archives: student life

College Community Chorus Thanksgiving concert

On Sunday afternoon, November 22, one hundred singers — including Middlebury College students from across the globe and residents from nearly every town in Addison County —  will take their places in the choir pews inside Mead Chapel as the Middlebury College Community Chorus presents its annual Thanksgiving concert. This free, hour-long performance begins at 3:00 p.m. and is open to all.

Middlebury College Community Chorus

photo: Miranda de Beer

The program includes a mix of exciting classical choruses alongside newer works. The choir will offer the magnificent first movement of J. S. Bach’s Magnificat; Felix Mendelssohn’s setting of the Thanksgiving chorale Now Thank We All our God; and the final choruses from G. F. Handel’s Messiah with the thrilling counterpoint of voices singing Blessing and Honor… Amen! Works by contemporary American composer-conductors include an exciting setting of a thanksgiving psalm, Jubilate Deo (Make a joyful noise unto God) by David N. Childs, and the beautiful Pilgrims’ Hymn by Stephen Paulus. The choir presents Soulspeak by Z. Randall Stroope, a brand new song with an inspiring text from Alfred Lord Tennyson’s Ulysses. Also slated is Jeffery Ames’s Let Everything that Hath Breath, an uplifting gospel song with its driving rhythm, as well as a beautiful new arrangement by Craig Courtney of Let There Be Peace on Earth.

Conductor Jeff Rehbach notes that the Chorus is privileged this season to perform two works by members of our local communities. Sally Hoyler, well-known in the community as Ripton town clerk and a long-time member of the Chorus, succumbed to cancer in early 2015. In her memory, the chorus will sing a beautiful, flowing song that she composed several years ago that begins with the lyrical text “Ocean, ocean sing to me the silent music of the soul.” The choir will also premiere a brand-new work, A Blessing for Dear Friends, written by Nathan Wallace-Gusakov. Nate grew up in Bristol and now lives with his family in Lincoln and appears frequently playing banjo with music groups in the area. His composition offers hope for peace and love, light to guide the way, and concludes “may you come home to love” – a fitting sentiment for this Thanksgiving program.

Middlebury College Community Chorus

photo: Miranda de Beer

Members of the College Community chorus travel for weekly rehearsals from throughout the region, including Cornwall, Weybridge, Middlebury, Ripton, Goshen, Bristol, Monkton, New Haven, Waltham, Vergennes, Ferrisburgh, Charlotte, East Middlebury, Salisbury, Leicester, Brandon, Rutland, Orwell, Shoreham, Addison, Port Henry and Moriah. College students hail from Vermont, Maine, New York, Massachusetts, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Illinois, Hong Kong and Kenya. Jeff Rehbach is in his sixteenth season as conductor of the College Community Chorus, and Timothy Guiles serves as the ensemble’s remarkable accompanist. The group is open without audition to all singers who delight in participating in this 150-year-old community tradition, hosted by Middlebury College.
For up-to-date information, check on the web at http://go.middlebury.edu/communitychorus or contact director Jeff Rehbach at 989-7355.

Happy Hallowe’en from Special Collections and Archives: Student Costumes Through History

Today’s dose of Special Collections spookiness comes from our series, From the College Archives, curated by Josh Kruskal, ’15. Josh drew on 200 years of Kaleidoscope yearbooks in search of quotidian and familiar moments, captured across time.

1910
1910

 

1952
1952

 

1959
1959

 

1969
1969

 

1991
1991

Grateful for Our Conversations

I want to take this opportunity to warmly welcome new and returning students to campus as I prepare to finish up my last semester at Middlebury to take on a new role as executive vice chancellor for strategic initiatives and executive vice provost at Rutgers University – Newark in January. Over the years, I have been heartened by the many connections and conversations I’ve had with Middlebury students, in person and through this blog. You have really kept me on my toes. Middlebury students are thoughtful, talented, and hard-working leaders from around the globe, and the Class of 2018 is not any different. As I stated during the Voices of the Class MiddView Orientation kick off, our community grows in richness and “flavor” with each new class of students and every new staff and faculty member. We couldn’t be happier to have you on campus.

When I started posting to One Dean’s View in the fall of 2010, I talked about wanting the blog to be a place that fosters “conversations about interesting and challenging topics related to student life and to being fully committed members of the Middlebury community.” One Dean’s View became that place for many, with readers and dozens of contributors sharing their thoughtful and provocative voices.

This is my last post, as we place One Dean’s View on hiatus. In the same spirit Tim Spears passed the ODV torch to me, it is my hope that the blog torch will be picked up by the next dean of the College. I’d like to thank you for being such devoted readers and contributors.

Until my departure from Middlebury in early January, you can still come visit me during my open office hours. You should also know that the Office of the Dean of Students, your Commons offices, Student Activities, Parton Center for Health and Wellness, and other Student Life staff are always open to support you and to hear about your ideas, achievements, and proud moments, as well as your challenges.

It has been an honor to serve Middlebury in this critical leadership role. I will hold this place in my heart and work for a lifetime.

Warmly,
Shirley

This Moment

Warmth and some sunshine have finally come back after this seemingly endless winter and dreary spring. On one of the first warm days, I took a slow walk, and I suddenly realized that a vibrant green was glowing from tree canopies and almost pulsating along the roadsides and deep in the fields. I was glad that I had taken some quiet time and noticed after this busy academic year.

This summer, I hope that all of us will find opportunities to slow down and to notice those small but significant things that we often overlook in our rush to go about our daily lives. And I hope to hear some stories when everyone returns in the fall about instances when they slowed down and really experienced something in a different way.

For the Class of 2014, Commencement will offer many opportunities to notice and rejoice in the moment. And while graduation is at once an ending and a beginning, it is also a point in time to be fully appreciated in and of itself.

I feel as though I have gotten to know the graduating seniors well over these past four years. Many seniors have become friends and colleagues for whom I have a great deal of respect and admiration—people who have worked hard and grown immeasurably, into strong, thoughtful people who we are proud to send out into the world. Some of the most powerful moments of Commencement will come from family, friends, and the Middlebury community wishing success and happiness on the new graduates.

I hope, as the graduates move on with their lives, they will remember and draw strength from those moments when we all were wishing them well on Commencement day—and that they will visit often to keep us up to date about their adventures, challenges, and successes.

In closing I’d like to thank Kyle Finck, Alex Edel, and the editors of the Campus for their extensive and creative help this past year with this blog and for affording me opportunities to interact with students about issues of importance. It was a rewarding collaboration.

Have a wonderful summer, everyone!

A Space for the Future

There is a discussion underway on campus about whether we should create a multicultural center, and if we do, what it would be like. This is an important discussion for several reasons. First, those who think a multicultural center is necessary are explaining why and sharing their concerns with us, sharing what it is like for them to be here on campus. Second this discussion is forcing the institution to look at itself through a different lens than it normally does. And third, it is obliging us to consider the daily realities of our students as we evaluate our institutional priorities. 

As I have been listening to students and thinking about this topic, questions have come to mind that I’d like to share with you.

Can a multicultural center fulfill the need for the “safe inclusion” that students desire? The fact that some individuals struggle to feel at ease here or to feel affirmed and included is something we should all be concerned about. Sometimes these feelings improve when students are able to find a little slice of home somewhere on campus or in town, or a group of like-minded souls to hang with, or people who will listen. I wonder if a multicultural center will allow that to happen more easily.

As an institution, we aspire to honor and engage issues of difference, and we’ve created spaces dedicated to various aspects of identity (intellectual, social, political, cultural, etc.)—from the Rohaytn Center, PALANA, and Chellis House, to the Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity, the Scott Center, and the Queer Studies House. I’d like to understand in what way these resources and spaces, taken in totality, are not working for everyone.

Let’s assume for a moment that Middlebury commits to creating a new space that is safe and inclusive, that welcomes the intersections of multiple identities. In my opinion, that space must embody and address the future of Middlebury. It must be consistent with the College’s long-term goals, and therefore, it would have to be inclusive for everyone. So the big question is, how do we create more welcoming and engaging spaces for everyone?

I believe that the college experience cannot and should not be “comfortable” all the time. But I also believe that we must afford everyone an opportunity to be fully engaged and to thrive.

Some argue that many existing spaces on campus fulfill the purpose of creating “comfortable” or “safe” environments for the majority of students; yet, there are students who feel completely “outside their skin” in those same spaces. And some argue that by definition, a multicultural center would become an exclusive space.

A big part of the discussion about a multicultural center includes stories (some have been published in beyond the green) from students who describe toxic, unpleasant experiences they’ve had here. Yet, I wonder if their expectations—that a multicultural center would make a difference in these instances—can be fulfilled.

Some students, colleagues, and I will soon be visiting multicultural centers at other colleges and universities to see what we can learn from them. My colleagues around the country have already shared that each space has its own challenges and successes—that no one has gotten it completely right yet.

If Middlebury should decide to develop a multicultural center, it will be important to define its mission carefully and keep that clearly in mind so that the center stays relevant and meaningful—and does not become just another building on campus.

Let’s keep the conversation going.

People You Haven’t Really Met Yet

When I go to 51 Main, I feel as though I am close to a little piece of home (Brooklyn, New York) because I run into all types of people there. Not just students. Not just townspeople. But everyone imaginable. They are enjoying a shared interest, mingling, being together in the same place. Worlds collide there in a way that feels comfortable. But on campus, this sort of mingling does not occur as much as I would like, and I feel we are worse off for it.

Why should we care? I believe that Middlebury, considering its relative isolation geographically, is a place that people have intentionally come to—to live, work, and learn. Some of the most fascinating people have been drawn to Middlebury. As lifelong learners, we have a unique opportunity to meet others and learn from them in an organic way. Furthermore, people generally feel more “whole” when they are part of a larger community that extends across the boundaries of multiple identities.

Community Council is such a group—a melded association of students, faculty, and staff, and as co-chair I feel very fortunate to be part of it. This year, we have discussed the fact that faculty, staff, and students don’t connect more easily outside their usual spheres, and we have wondered what can be done to change that. Luke Carroll Brown ’14, Community Council co-chair, has described his own experience when he opened himself to making new connections: “Some of my closest friends at the College, individuals who have taught me far more than I’ve learned in most classrooms, are members of the staff.”

When I go to the Wilson Café, I see students and some faculty there, but very few staff. At Crossroad Café, I usually see staff and faculty, but many students still view it as “institutional” space. I am not surprised that I don’t see many faculty or staff members unwinding after work over a cup of coffee—and possibly a conversation with someone new. It seems that we all revolve in separate orbits, with just a few intersections. When faculty members aren’t teaching and working with students, they are busy with their scholarship and personal lives. Staff members have jobs to do during the day (or night), and then they go home to the other aspects of their lives. And students are busy with their studies and personal interests and are most likely to associate with fellow students.

Feeling busy is probably a major reason that people don’t spend time breaking social barriers. A colleague told me about an experience she had when her computer broke, and she had to stop everything to go to the Help Desk. She didn’t have time, she said, to spend an afternoon there. But afterwards, she was glad it happened.

While she waited in the Help Desk office as they recovered her lost data, she met students, a math professor, a writing instructor, and a grant writer who wandered in with one problem or another. They all sat around the table, commiserating and chatting. “I met for the first time someone I’d corresponded with for years by e-mail.” she said.

That’s what I’d like to see happen more regularly on campus—more organic connections, like those that occurred at the Help Desk and at 51 Main. The question is, how to get them to occur? Can we create spaces that encourage them? Can we all develop the mindset to find them?