Community Chorus announces new season

The Middlebury College Community Chorus announces a new season as its singers prepare for their annual spring concert, with an intriguing mix of pieces about time, seasons, and places. Regular rehearsals take place on Sunday and Tuesday evenings from 7-8:30 p.m. on the college campus, beginning this Sunday, Jan. 27. Rehearsals from Jan. 27-Feb. 12 take place at the Mahaney Center for the Arts (room 221). As of Feb. 17, rehearsals move to Mead Chapel. Historic, traditional, and contemporary music from across the globe will fill the hour-long program slated for performance the first weekend in May.
On this spring’s program, the choir will sing a variety of songs accompanied by Young Tradition Vermont award-winning high school student Romy Munkres from Cornwall. Munkres plays the fiddle.
Here are the songs the group plans to sing during the May concert:
“Gropen,” a lively traditional Norwegian tune arranged for chorus with fiddle.
“Sunshine,” an upbeat tune about blue sky and summer time, set by Irish composer Michael McGlynn.
“Aisling,” a quiet Celtic tune also by McGlynn. Aisling means “dream” or “vision” and the work features a solo instrumental part that Romy will play.
“Kanaval,” a festive, fun work by Sydney Guillaume (born in Haiti, now living in the U.S.) depicts mardi gras in Haiti with a mix of tunes and rhythms influenced by traditional Haitian culture.
“Hands are Knockin’” includes words in both English and Arabic, a song by Kyle Pederson (who earned a master of fine arts degree in Vermont), written for an international school in Muscat, the capital of Oman, that asks if we will open our doors to all people.
In differing musical styles, the chorus will prepare three newly composed songs with poetry by Sara Teasdale and Christina Rosetti, including “Refuge,” a radiant piece completed in 2015 by long-time Vermont composer Gwyneth Walker; “Grace Before Sleep,” a sensitive setting by Missouri-based composer Susan LaBarr; and “The Rose,” a gentle tune with flowing piano accompaniment, by Norwegian-American composer Ola Gjeilo that portrays the picturesque beauty of this flower as it blossoms.
The program will include splendid historic choruses from a little known work by George Frederic Handel entitled “The Triumph of Time and Truth,” including a “Hallelujah” chorus (though not the one that many people know from “The Messiah.”) The group will also sing one of Handel’s most beautiful choruses, “Music Spread Thy Voice Around.”
The choir invites new members to join and come enjoy making music together. Participants should plan to attend at least one rehearsal each week. Numbering nearly 100 singers, the group welcomes without audition all who can follow a musical score and carry a tune accurately. Its members travel from throughout the region to participate in this 150-year-old community tradition, hosted by Middlebury College.
Jeff Rehbach continues in his 19th consecutive season as director of the College Community Chorus, and Timothy Guiles returns as the choir’s virtuoso accompanist.
For additional information, visit go.middlebury.edu/communitychorus or send an inquiry to [email protected] or call (802) 989-7355.

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