From the President (Nov. 15, 2009)

Dear Colleagues,

Last Wednesday a colleague of mine shared with me a program that was performed at the Eugene Gifford Grace Hall on the campus of Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania on September 24, 1962. I was 10 years ago than, so had no idea who Robert Shaw was; but yes, it was indeed the Robert Shaw Chorale and Orchestra, and the program was absolutely astounding to me! Here is what was on the program at that 8:15 pm performance.

…………

MUSIC AT THE TURN OF THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY

O Vos Omnes…………………………..Tomas Luis de Victoria
This is the Record of John…………Orlando Gibbons
Fa una Canzone……………………….Orazio Vecchi
Selig Sind die Toten………………….Heinrich Schutz
The Echo Song………………………..Orlando di Lasso

Motet: Jesu Meine Freude…………Johann Sebastien Bach

Mass in G……………………………….Franz Schubert

Friede auf Erden……………………..Arnold Schoenberg

Trois Chansons……………………….Claude Debussy
Trois Chansons……………………….Maurice Ravel

Three Harvest Home Chorales……Charles Ives

Well, when was the last time you attended a choral performance and was treated to that kind of literature? It does make one pause as we put the final touches on our own December programs and plot our course for the next series of performances in 2010. Whether we are working with adult, high school, professional or semi-professional choirs, children or middle school, we should all probably consider what we are programming and how much of what we are performing represents the best of the genre’s we are attempting to do with our choirs. I am certainly not advocating that we model our programs after the above, but once again, it should present us with a moment of reflection as we attempt to balance our individual programs in the future. There is no doubt that the times we live in are quite different from 1962, but………………?

Imagine hearing all that wonderful Renaissance literature, and then the motet of Bach, followed by the Schubert Mass; all with the impeccable attention that Shaw must have lavished on all of this music! But then to follow this with the Schoenberg Friede auf Erden! Holy cow! And the six motets of Debussey and Ravel, and than the Ives??!! I am in awe.

On another note, I was privileged to hear some of Sherrill Blodget’s rehearsals at Castleton State College last Friday morning; I actually heard her Chamber Choir rehearsal and was very impressed with her attention to detail and her ability to accomplish a lot in a short period of time. I am planning on attending her concert this coming Sunday afternoon at 3:00 PM in Casella Theater in the Performing Arts Center on the Castleton State College Campus. Both her Collegiate Chorale and Chamber Singers will be performing at this concert, and the program looks very exciting and interesting. Titles on the program include the V. Williams Wassail Song, the Rutter Gaelic Blessing, Siyahamba, Jebula Jesu, Betelehemu, the Schubert Mass in G (with orchestra), Rachmaninoff’s Bogoroditse Devo, Ravel’s Hodie, Throw the Yule Log on Uncle John (PDQ Bach), and an arrangement of Deck The Halls in 7/8.

Castleton has long had a history of choral music in its offerings, but it seems that Sherrill is bringing things forward, expecially with the formation of this select Chamber Choir. Sherrill is an ACDA member (R & S Chair for Community Choirs), and I know that we have several ACDA members that live in close proximity to Castleton. How nice it would be for us to support Sherrill and this choral program by attending her performance! I hope to see some of you there.

We all have the opportunity to support others programs during the next several weeks; not only do we have the opportunity to hear others performances and maybe hear some literature that we did not know before, but we also show our colleagues that we care about what they do! Last weekend I had the pleasure of seeing Lyric Theater’s production of The Full Monty (what a hoot that was!), and Vergennes Union High School’s production of Oliver. Vergennes has a music program that always feels like a family to me; their production was well done, with some wonderful singing that included several fine soloists and an exciting opening chorus of boys and girls that was really exciting to hear. When musical productions are done like this, with care and attention to vocal production and tone, it can become a very positive and enriching experience for the singers involved. Both Karen Jordan and Susan O’Daniel made sure that this was indeed the case. Kudos to Vergennes…….

Please make sure that all of you are taking advantage of our vtacda.org calendar of events. It is one way of many that you can advertise your performances*, and also a way to find out what others are doing. Use it, because it is a great resource for all of us in the state.

I wish you all great success and joy as you present your performances during the next several weeks!

Most Sincerely,

Frank Whitcomb

*send an email to rehbach @ middlebury.edu with program name, date, time, place, and description of the concert, and Jeff R will get it added to the calendar.

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