Tag Archives: Midd News & Events

Through the Telescope – The Observatories of Middlebury College

Mittelman Observatory is proud to announce the opening of the exhibit “Through the Telescope: The Observatories of Middlebury College” by Alexandra Izzard ’20. Please visit go/throughthetelescope.

This exhibit explores the history of observatories, and of astronomy, at Middlebury College from the institution’s very beginning through the present day in the chronological context of both institutional history and scientific discovery.

Key highlights of this exhibit include:

  • astronomy has been taught at Middlebury since its inception, being a required third-year course when the College opened its doors in 1800;
  • the early Laws of Middlebury College have now been made broadly available and accessible online;
  • Old Chapel served as the College’s first astronomical observatory upon its opening in 1836;
  • the 1937 observatory that once stood on the knoll north of Pearsons Hall served both the College and community for more than 50 years;
  • the modern day Mittelman Observatory atop McCardell Bicentennial Hall draws strongly from the tradition and inspiration of 220 years of history of observatories and astronomy at Middlebury.

The historical research project that serves as the foundation for this exhibit has been two years in the making. Creator Alexandra Izzard ’20 graduated Summa Cum Laude and highest honors with a major in the History of Art and Architecture and a minor in Italian. Alexandra pursued numerous interdisciplinary primary research opportunities that bridged the liberal arts and included the sciences while at Middlebury.

The project’s exhibit also features art by Eva Bod ’20 as well as broad collaboration with the Middlebury College Special Collections team and numerous others.

The online exhibit can now be enjoyed at the link above. The physical exhibit will be opening soon.

Mittelman Observatory. Because the sky is always open!

Mittelman Observatory Status – Summer 2020

While thoughts this time of year often turn to the community gathering atop McCardell Bicentennial Hall on mild summer evenings under dark Vermont skies for stargazing at the Observatory, this coming summer will necessarily be somewhat different.

Mittelman Observatory has been developing a variety of potential programming that may involve live virtual stargazing, skywatching advice, astronomy dispatches, social media, online student exhibits, student astronomical imagery, and perhaps even an astronomy talk. However, the community situation is obviously quite fluid and subject to prevailing directives.

Please visit go/observatorynews to join our Observatory News e-mail list if you would like to be kept abreast of our evolving summer activity plans.

Mittelman Observatory. Because the sky is always open!

Calling POC+ staff/faculty: Join us Mar 7!

HaQuyen Pham (Advancement) and Natasha Chang (former faculty) are excited to announce a kickoff event to gather self-identified people of color and their family members in and around Addison County.

Please join us Saturday, March 7 from 2-4 pm at Bundle (51 Main St in Middlebury) for snacks, tea/coffee, and socializing with other local folks of color.

Our goal is to provide a space where folks of color can build community, break bread, and come together to support and challenge one another.

Middlebury Dark Sky Survey – 2019

Mittelman Observatory requests your participation! The Observatory is embarking on a project to study awareness, knowledge, perceptions, perspectives, and sensibilities of the local Middlebury community about issues related to dark skies, light pollution, and the environment. Please visit go/darkskysurvey to anonymously participate in our 2019 Middlebury Dark Sky Survey.

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.