Author Archives: Jeffrey Rehbach

All welcome to join the College Community Chorus

All students, staff and faculty are welcome to join the Middlebury College Community Chorus as the choir starts to prepare for its annual fall concert, slated for performance on campus the weekend before Thanksgiving. Regular rehearsals are Tuesday and Sunday evenings from 7:00-8:30 p.m. in Mead Chapel, beginning September 13.

This season’s program includes historical works from the European choral tradition alongside breathtaking contemporary works written during the past decade. The songs feature celebratory psalm texts with a Thanksgiving theme, as well as music with words that reflect the changing seasons and a longing for justice and peace, important to so many people at this time.

The choir will prepare the Chandos Anthem No. 9 by Baroque composer George Frederic Handel. Its four choruses – reminiscent of the spirited music found in his Messiah – contain dramatic shifts in textures and harmonies, scored for string orchestra and oboe. The program also includes Mozart’s expressive Ave verum corpus, a traditional text from the Roman Catholic tradition.

The chorus welcomes the change of seasons with music by Zachary J. Moore, one of a new generation of American choral composers. With beautiful melodies, he vividly paints the poem October Song, written by Wisconsin poet laureate Max Garland. In O Notte (O Night), completed just a few months ago, distinguished conductor-composer Z. Randall Stroope dramatically scores selected phrases of poems by Michelangelo, “O night, in dreams you carry me where I desire,” and Friedrich Rückert, “Du bist die Ruh” (You are rest), for choir, piano, solo violin and cello.

Distinguished arranger, composer and conductor Craig Hella Johnson creates a lyrical musical setting the words of Mattie Stepanek’s Psalm of Life, written just before Thanksgiving 2003. Mattie, a published poet and peace advocate, died a month before his 14th birthday from a rare form of muscular dystrophy. From the Hebrew tradition, contemporary composer Allan Naplan sets the text of Al Shlosha D’varim: truth, justice and peace sustain the world. The inspirational words of Mother Teresa, “If we have not peace, it is because we have forgotten we belong to each other,” provide the foundation for an award-winning 2010 work by Pacific Northwest composer Joan Szymko.

Conductor Jeff Rehbach notes that this program will offer singers the opportunity to explore a rich variety of styles of historic and present-day music, with vivid writing for chorus, piano, and chamber music ensemble. Rehbach begins his seventeenth season as director of the College Community Chorus, and Timothy Guiles returns as the choir’s virtuoso accompanist.

The choir welcomes all interested singers to join the ensemble during September. Participants should plan to attend at least one rehearsal each week. 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, hosted by Middlebury College.

For up to date information, check on the web at or contact director Jeff Rehbach at 989-7355.

Midd Alumna Sally Olson ’03 presents Carpenters Tribute Concert

Vermont singer, actress and artist Sally Olson makes a special appearance in Middlebury to present “A Song For You” on Saturday evening, January 23, 7:00 p.m. at the Champlain Valley Unitarian Universalist Church. Proceeds from the concert will benefit the Charter House Coalition, providing emergency shelter housing during the winter months and free community meals every day of the week throughout the year.
Sally is a graduate of Middlebury College (class of 2003), Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Florence Academy of Art in Italy. She has been acting and singing since childhood. Sally has also attended the acclaimed Circle in the Square Theatre School. She can be seen in local/regional commercials, theatre and cabaret performances.
This unique program draws on the Carpenters Tribute Concert that she originally performed in early 2015 with the Bill Reed Voice Studio, and has taken on tour throughout the state. In her tribute show, Sally performs the brother-sister duo’s greatest hits and covers. She also offers commentary on the history behind the Carpenters’ music, as well as Karen Carpenter’s rise to fame and her sudden and tragic death at the age of thirty-two, due to complications of anorexia nervosa. The Middlebury performance will be accompanied by Tim Guiles, who also provides back-up vocals, well known locally as music teacher, musical theater director, and accompanist of the College Community Chorus.
Through her tribute concert, Sally desires to honor Richard Carpenter’s musical genius and Karen Carpenter, one of the greatest female singers of all time. She incorporates authentic vintage costumes into her show to help recreate the world of the Carpenters. Reviewers of the show have noted that Sally Olson’s voice, appearance and stage-presence bear an uncanny resemblance to that of Karen Carpenter. Sally accepts this wonderful compliment and feels deeply honored to be able to pay tribute to the Carpenters through her singing. Sally notes “her strong affinity for the music of the Carpenters” and that she “relates to Karen and her soulful voice quality and sincerity. When Karen sings, it sounds likes she is experiencing everything for the first time.” The original production was conceived by Bill Reed (musical director & piano) and Sally Olson (artistic director & vocals). The set list includes many beloved Carpenters’ hits and covers that you’re sure to recognize, such as: Top of The World; We’ve Only Just Begun; Rainy Days And Mondays; (They Long To Be) Close To You; When I Fall in Love; At The End Of A Song; A Song For You; and Thank You For The Music.
Proceeds from the program (suggested admission $15, but any amount is welcome) will help the Charter House Coalition continue to provide ermergency overnight housing on frigid nights, and longer term housing at the Charter House in Middlebury for up to four families throughout the winter, in a warm, welcoming environment. Its meal programs – provided by area congregations, organizations and volunteers – serve more than 25,000 meals throughout the year, including homemade lunches every Monday through Thursday, Friday or Saturday evening suppers, Saturday morning breakfasts, and Sunday afternoon grill dinners. The Coalition also supports community housing on North Pleasant Street in Middlebury with five fully-furnished apartments, open all year, to help families in transition into independent living. The Coalition’s Farm-to-Table initiative raises and distributes about 5000 pounds of produce each year, used in the Charter House meal programs and donated to local food shelves. The Coalition extends sincere gratitude to CVUUS, one of the many area organizations that support its meal programs, for hosting this concert. Limited parking may be found at the Church; plenty of parking nearby adjacent to the high school football field.
You can catch a preview at on the web. Please join us for a wonderful evening of song and support this important community organization!
Sally Olson

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 or contact director Jeff Rehbach at 989-7355.

College Community Chorus — come join us!

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 or contact director Jeff Rehbach at 989-7355.

Come join the Chorus!

It’s well-known that music and singing have great, positive effects on mind and body, so we hope you’ll consider joining fellow staff, faculty, and students, and residents from Addison County, as part of the College Community Chorus.  Rehearsals for our spring program begin in J-term, as we prepare an exciting program for performance with the Champlain Philharmonic, including a newly arranged work by professor Peter Hamlin with texts by Julia Alvarez, Jay Parini, Robert Pack, Langston Hughes; selections from Gilbert & Sullivan’s HMS Pinafore; works by Verdi including the famous Anvil Chorus; and Aaron Copland’s inspiring The Promise of Living.

No audition needed. Just stop by to sign out a folder and start to join in the song!  J-term is a great time to explore the world of music!

Sun, 1/12  (7-8:30, Mead Chapel); Tue, 1/14 (7-8:30, Mead).
Sun, 1/19 (7-8:30, Mead); Tue, 1/21 (7-8:30, MCA CH)
Sun, 1/26 (7-8:30, Mead)

Info: Jeff Rehbach, conductor, 989-7355 or

College Community Chorus welcomes you!

“I’m so happy to be a part of community chorus — it makes Sundays and Tuesdays bright spots in my week.”

All are welcome to join colleagues, students and community members and to have an enjoyable time making music in the community in the College Community Chorus!

This fall we blend together a mix of musical styles, with classical pieces by Mendelssohn and Brahms alongside a gospel setting of This Little Light of Mine (in honor of MLK’s “I have a dream” speech), and award-winning composer Morten Lauridsen’s amazing work Lux Aeterna — a work when premiered just sixteen years ago showed that contemporary music can “speak directly to the heart.”

Our 90-member chorus welcomes all who love to explore music — join us for an engaging hour and half on Sunday or Tuesday evenings in Mead Chapel, 7-8:30 p.m. as we prepare for our annual Thanksgiving concert, slated for Sunday, Nov. 24.

Contact conductor Jeff Rehbach ( with any questions!

College Community Chorus Open to All

The Middlebury College Community Chorus begins a brand new season with rehearsals at 7 p.m. in Mead Chapel this coming week. Join us on Tuesday, September 11, or Sunday, September 16. If you enjoy singing, and especially enjoy singing in harmony with others, consider joining students, staff, faculty, alumni, and community members. Rehearsals offer insights to music, a break from the pressures of the week, smiles and good cheer. This fall’s Thanksgiving program includes a mix of delightful classical music by Schubert, soaring contemporary settings by Randall Thompson, Rene Clausen, and Ola Gjeilo, and a brand new upbeat choral arrangement of Carly Simon’s Let the River Run. More info at go/communitychorus.