Community chorus begins rehersals for new season this Sunday
The Middlebury College Community Chorus announces a new season to prepare for its spring concerts, slated for performance in Brandon and Middlebury on Mother’s Day weekend May 12-13. Regular rehearsals are Tuesday and Sunday evenings from 7-8:30 p.m. On Sunday, Feb. 11, the group will meet in the Mahaney Center for the Arts room 221. Rehearsals move to their regular location in Mead Chapel beginning Tuesday, Feb.13.
Conductor Jeff Rehbach notes that this concert season offers singers the opportunity to explore a variety of musical styles with texts that describe moonlit nights and sun-filled days, from classical works to spirituals and arrangements of 20th century popular songs for an enjoyable and entertaining program for the spring.
This season’s program includes music for the night written by contemporary American composers Gwyneth Walker and Daniel Elder. Walker, who lived for many years in Vermont, seeks to capture the lyricism of the E. E. Cummings poem “After all white horses are in bed.” Elder writes his own lyrics for his gentle nocturnes entitled “Lullaby” and “Ballade to the Moon.” The chorus will also prepare “Evening Prayer” from Humperdinck’s musical setting of “Hansel and Gretel,” and, as night turns to day, the morning chorale “Awake, bright day” from Wagner’s famous opera Die Meistersinger, and Franz Joseph Haydn’s “Behold the sun” from The Seasons.
From world music traditions, the choir will take up a new arrangement of “Yonder Come Day,” a spiritual from the Georgia Sea Islands, as well as a traditional song from Ghana that describes children’s games beneath the bright moon. Popular tunes on the program include songs such as Lennon & McCartney’s “I’ll Follow the Sun” (as arranged for the King’s Singers, the award-winning British a cappella ensemble that performed in Middlebury just a few months ago), and lyrical choral arrangements of Dolly Parton’s “Light of a Clear Blue Morning” and Cole Porter’s “Night and Day.”
In addition to the Mother’s Day weekend performances, the chorus will also join the Middlebury Wind Ensemble this spring at its concerts on April 20 and 21. This performance will feature Pulitzer prize-winning American composer Aaron Copland’s “The Promise of Living” and the Vermont premiere of “Meridian,” a stirring work scored for piano solo, winds and chorus by noted contemporary composer Ola Gjeilo, with Tim Guiles as piano soloist.
Rehbach continues as director of the College Community Chorus, and Tim Guiles returns as the choir’s virtuoso accompanist. The chorus welcomes all interested singers (high schoolers and adults) to join the ensemble during the month of February. Participants should plan to attend at least one rehearsal each week. Numbering 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 more info visit go.middlebury.edu/communitychorus or contact director Jeff Rehbach at [email protected] or (802) 989-7355.
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