College/town chorus to perform a Mother’s Day concert
MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College Community Chorus invites the community to its annual Mother’s Day concert. The 90-voice choir performs on Sunday afternoon, May 8, at a special time and location this year: 2 p.m. in Robison Hall (Concert Hall) at the Mahaney Center for the Arts on the Middlebury College campus. Admission is free. The choir is led by Jeff Rehbach and accompanied by Tim Guiles.
The program features a fascinating juxtaposition of works from around the world, including selections performed by the student a cappella ensemble Ingoma, which specializes in singing African music. Unique choral arrangements of lullabies include “Hombe,” a Luo folksong from Kenya, and the South African songs “Thula Baba” (“Hush My Baby”),as well as“Thula Mama” (sung by Ingoma). In contrasting style, the chorus sings a newly composed work by American writer Daniel Elder, simply titled “Lullaby,” and the beautiful “Seal Lullaby,”with a text by Rudyard Kipling and music by Eric Whitacre.
The choir offers “Magnificat” by 28th-century Italian composer Antonio Vivaldi. With a text that dates back to the first century, its nine sections contain a variety of choral styles. Dramatic shifts in textures and harmonies bring life to the words of Mary, sung when she learned that she would become the mother of the Messiah. String players from the Vermont Symphony, Champlain Philharmonic, Middlebury Community Music Center and the College Orchestra accompany the chorus.
The chorus welcomes the change of seasons and flowering of spring with a new setting of the classic Robert Burns text, “A Red, Red Rose” by Nashville composer Kevin Memley; “Enjura,” an Ugandan song that depicts the coming of the rains to end the dry season; and a popular Israeli song, “Erev Shel Shoshamin,” which describes how night falls slowly while the winds carry the scent of roses. The program closes with a brand new setting by Wisconsin composer Zachary Moore of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s classic text, “There Is Sweet Music Here.”
Rehbach notes, “The program offers singers and audience the opportunity to experience a variety of choral styles from across the globe and across the centuries. We place songs that arise from long-held traditions alongside with expressive writing for chorus and piano music by a new generation of American composers born between 1970 and 1992.”
The College Community Chorus is open to all singers without audition. Its student members come from across the U.S., Africa and Asia, while its community members travel from many different towns — Brandon, Bristol, Cornwall, Goshen, Hinesburg, Hinesburg, Huntington, Leicester, Lincoln, Middlebury, Monkton, Moriah, New Haven, North Ferrisburgh, Orwell, Port Henry, Randolph, Salisbury, Shoreham, Vergennes, Waltham, Weybridge, Winooski — to participate in this 150-year-old community tradition, hosted by Middlebury College.
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