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.
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.”
“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 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.
Mittelman Observatory and Middlebury Physics will again host stargazing open house nights this autumn. These Observatory events are scheduled for Friday evenings, September 13 and September 20, from 8:30 PM until 10:00 PM, weather permitting.
Jupiter and Saturn will be in the evening sky on these dates. A variety of interesting stars, star clusters, and nebulae will also be visible through the Observatory’s telescopes. The Observatory includes a 24-inch telescope in a dome and smaller telescopes on the roof.
Observatory open house nights are free and open to the public. However, these events will take place only if the sky is expected to be mostly clear. Please check the Observatory web site at go/observatory or call the Observatory at 443-2266 after 6:30 PM on the evening of the event for weather status.
Additional shorter-notice weather-optimized events may also be scheduled aperiodically and announced through our Observatory-News e-mail list, to which one can subscribe at go/observatory-news.
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.
This 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, firstname.lastname@example.org or 989-7355 and on the web at http://go.middlebury.edu/communitychorus
Box Office Opening Day for Middlebury College ID card holders: Monday, September 9 at 8:30 AM
at the Mahaney Arts Center and McCullough Box Offices
Tickets for the 2019–2020 Performing Arts Series and other selected events go on sale today for Middlebury College students, faculty, staff, and other ID card holders, as well as members of the Performing Arts Series Society (PASS). This year is the Performing Arts Series’ 100th Anniversary, with plenty of exciting concerts, dance events, theatre, and more. We hope to see YOU in the audience!