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!”
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.