Posts Tagged ‘St. Michael’s College’

requiem for Haiti

January 24, 2010

Brahms’ sublime Requiem rose into the rafters high above as late-afternoon light filtered into yesterday’s gathering of hundreds at St. Michael’s College Chapel. Members of the Green Mountain Mahler Festival Orchestra and Chorus came together with volunteer musicians from all over the community and artists from the Bread and Puppet troupe to share in the special experience.

Musicians, puppeteers, and audience members congregated to show support for the people of Haiti and take some solace in the incredible beauty and power of Brahms’ choral masterpiece. The work has been called the German Requiem, but Brahms (ever the populist) said he preferred to think of it instead as the “Human” Requiem. With that thought in mind, the trandscendently beautiful opening chorus Selig sind, die da Leid tragen (“Blessed are they who mourn, for they shall be comforted”) was the perfect message for the day.

The $10,000+ that was raised at the benefit will be donated to Partners in Health and Catholic Relief Services.

press release: Haiti benefit concert

January 21, 2010

Vermont Arts Organizations Join in Song for Haiti Relief Concert

January, 2010 – Colchester, VT – In a rapid response to the escalating humanitarian crisis in Haiti, a widespread collaborative effort among regional artists is organizing to perform the Brahms Requiem with full chorus, orchestra and vocal soloists, combined with puppets from the Bread and Puppet Theatre. The Haiti Relief Benefit Concert will take place at the Chapel of Saint Michael the Archangel at Saint Michael’s College in Colchester on Saturday, January 23rd at 2pm, co-hosted by Live From the Core and The Green Mountain Mahler Festival. Associate professor of music at Saint Michael’s College Nathaniel Lew will conduct the Requiem.

The inspiration for the concert came to Shyla Nelson, event organizer and founder of Live From the Core, this past weekend. “Music and the human voice unite and uplift people in ways that nothing else can,” said Nelson. “The spirit of cooperation among all of the organizations and people involved has been truly inspiring. It speaks not only to our responsiveness to the acute needs in Haiti, but to our community’s capacity to come together to mourn, to mark this tragedy, and to be inspired through music to work together toward a solution.”

Saint Michael’s College shares a long-standing connection to Haiti. College President John Neuhauser wrote in an address to the school’s community on Friday: “This week’s disaster in Haiti has affected many members of the Saint Michael’s community in a personal and profound manner…tragedy once again reminds us that in small things, we may differ, but in the large things, we are all much the same.”

The Haiti benefit concert is this Saturday, Jan. 23rd – 2pm at the St. Michael’s College Chapel. The concert is free and open to the public with donations being accepted at the door to benefit Partners in Health and Catholic Relief Services.

Click here for more information about the concert


November 12, 2009

Chicken KabobsHow’s that weekend shaping up? If your Saturday evening has room for a little dancing and interesting cuisine from places as disparate as Tibet, Africa, and Brazil – then maybe St. Michael’s College in Colchester is where you’ll want to be.

Time for the 6th annual International Festival, organized by the college’s language and multi cultural departments. One of my favorite scenes from last year’s event was a West African drummer in full costume talking to a young lady dressed like a Flamenco dancer, while balancing a Mid-Eastern plate of saffron rice and kabobs on his knee.

If you’re a St. Michael’s student you’ll get in for free. The rest of us are in for a $5 cover charge – and well worth it.

it ain’t over

August 24, 2009
Violinist/Artistic Director Soovin Kim

Violinist/Artistic Director Soovin Kim

Summers here are all the sweeter for the outdoor music. Right? It starts with the big bang of the Discover Jazz Festival just after Memorial Day. From there on out every restaurant, park and tent-able space erupts in sound, happily for weeks on end.

Did I mention the berry patches? Those too. One of my favorite places to kick off the shoes and enjoy some live tunes is the Owl’s Head Blueberry Farm in Richmond. Tuesdays and Thursdays through July and August offer live musical accompaniment to pick a few quarts. It’s great. And hey – it’s almost over. This is the last week, check out the schedule and by all means get there if you can. July’s rain has made for some of the biggest, fattest, sweetest berries in years. The 8 brimming quarts in the freezer can back that one up. I’m hoping to go for 16 before the week’s over. It’s a long time before next summer.

This year we even had the extra bonus of the Lake Champlain Quadricentennial events to keep things exciting through the end of June and start of July, before the “real” festival season fired up later in the month with the annual Vermont Mozart Festival, Marlboro, the Killington, Manchester, and Central Vermont’s Chamber Music Festivals, and … on.

So we come to late August and it feels a little empty. Like the day after Christmas, or that odd quietness in the house the morning after hosting a really great party.

Enter the Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival. I first heard about the plans around a year ago when Soovin Kim visited us at Vermont Public Radio. He came that day to play violin, and he mentioned his role as Artistic Director in getting the first plans for this summer’s LCCMF off the ground. It all seemed so far away then. Now it’s here: a new music festival starting in late August just as so many others are wrapping up.

The events began today as artist-in-residence David Ludwig led the first of the week-long “Listening Club” sessions (today’s subject: Shostakovich’s Op. 127 songs on poems by Alexander Blok). Schubert’s lovely song cycle Liederkreis is tomorrow’s discussion subject, and then you can hear soprano Hyunah Yu singing the Blok song cycle in the first of the Festival concerts on Weds. night, at 7:30. Two more concerts follow on Friday evening and Sunday afternoon.

Summer’s not over yet. It’s just rounding third now, fueled by the afterburn of an already very fine live music season.

Festival details (all concerts at the Elley-Long Music Center on the St. Michael’s campus):

the complete schedule, with the Listening Club workshop information

schedule information for concerts only


Engels in the architecture

March 12, 2009

Might seem like an easy question: ‘what do Tom Waits, Louis Armstrong and Vivaldi have in common?’ – well, music. Very good music. Yes.

3/11/09-statuary at St. Michael's College

3/11/09-statuary at St. Michael's College

These are also artists whose seeming creative  disparities are bridged by the common attribute of having inspired writing by poets John Engels, and David Huddle.

Last night’s memorial for Engels at  St. Michael’s College brought together images of these artists and a lot more, in thoughtful  readings by Engels’ daughter and his longtime friend and collaborator Huddle.

The event’s introduction came from a man who knew them both: Dr. William Marquess, from the St. Michael’s English Department. With insight telling of his own art, he described Huddle as a poet of “hard vision” and “unobtrusive craft”.

For a night when no actual music was played, the occasion was filled with it.

Huddle prefaced the opening selection (the seasonally mud-melancholy “Spring Prophecy”) with the reminder of Engels’ characterization of Vivaldi (from another poem, “Vivaldi in Early Fall”), as being “on the verge of thunderously sad”. Huddle made the important distinction between being at the rim of of that precipice,  and falling in – he smiled, and acknowledged that he would not be there to share Engels’ poetry with the audience if it were of the latter kind.

Huddle’s gently Virginia-tinged readings unfolded over the next hour to reveal a deep mutual respect and tender friendship between the two men on topics as wide-ranging as Alzheimer’s disease, fly fishing, an encounter with migrating songbirds, dog walking, and finally a rich poem in which Huddle describes his own arrival (long in coming!) in appreciating Louis Armstrong’s music.

Huddle and Engels often traded music recommendations, it turns out, and though Armstrong had been a favorite of Engels it was a recommendation that Huddles had steadfastly resisted for reasons that didn’t really need to be made clear. Music’s just that way, I guess. You either get it or you don’t. And sometimes it just takes some time.

Huddle describes the Armstrong piece that finally did it for him in the resulting poem “Search This World Over” – the title is a phrase from that Armstrong cornerstone, “St. James Infirmary”.

Most memorable line from the evening? In an hour filled with readings from two of the region’s top poets, you can imagine there were many. But as I left St. Michaels it was Huddle’s Louis Armstrong quote that stuck with me: “if you ain’t got it in you, you can’t blow it out.”

And there was surely no lack of inner source material last night…”on the verge of thunderously sad”, and otherwise.

[ David Huddle’s newest poetry collection is “Glory River” (2008, Louisiana State University Press) ]

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