Posts Tagged ‘Music’

Chamber Choir Kicks off New Zealand Performance Tour

James Niblock, facing a momentous undertaking, thought of the stars.

“A week from now, you won’t recognize the constellations in the sky,” Niblock ’97, associate professor of music and director of choral activities at Allegheny College, wrote in an e-mail to his choir students.

An entirely different collection of stars shines in the Southern Hemisphere.

Today, after more than 18 months of planning, preparation and practice, 19 students from the Allegheny College Chamber Choir will depart for New Zealand in what will be the choir’s first international performance tour since 1980 and its first-ever tour to the South Pacific. The two-week trip will include performances in Auckland, Whitianga, Rotorua, Christchurch and Queenstown, along with plenty of sightseeing opportunities and an introduction to Māori culture.

For Morgan Hazzard, a 21-year-old biochemistry major from Lafayette, Colorado, the trip is the ultimate capstone to her college career. She was among the eight choir members who graduated on Saturday with the class of 2017.

“It will be the most incredible last experience I could have at Allegheny,” Hazzard said a few days before Commencement. “I couldn’t think of ending my senior year any other way. This is it. This is what we’ve been waiting for.”

The trip is breathtaking in both scope and purpose, involving more than 30 hours of air travel, including layovers (and that’s just one way); eight performances in five cities; and 27 pieces of music sung in eight different languages, including native Māori. It is one of the most logistically complex endeavors the choir has undertaken in recent memory, requiring extensive support from alumni and donors. There are also hundreds of people waiting on the other side, including partner choirs from other schools and organizations as well as host families who have agreed to house the students for parts of their stay.

The tour is the culmination of what began as decidedly smaller-scale discussion in November 2015. Then, Niblock was floating the idea of a California trip, maybe over spring break, or perhaps a European tour.

“By the time I said going to New Zealand was a possibility, everybody’s jaws just dropped to the floor,” said Niblock, who will lead the students along with pianist Douglas Jurs, assistant professor of music at Allegheny. Rounding out the entourage will be alumnus Jeffery L. Webb ’98, himself a collegiate choral director and avid singer.

“We’re not testing the boundaries of campus or the boundaries of Pennsylvania or how far we can take a coach bus,” Niblock said. “We’re testing the boundaries of what’s familiar. We’re going to a place where a European culture we understand very well exists side-by-side with a Polynesian culture most of us don’t know about. The ‘not familiar’ part meets a lot of musical and institutional goals.”

VIDEO

Chamber Choir New Zealand Tour – Allegheny College

John Knobel, a music major from Carlisle, Massachusetts, started singing in fourth grade. He joined the Allegheny choir as a first-year student and now plans to pursue a career as a choral conductor, a music teacher or a music therapist after graduation.

The New Zealand trip is a chance to grow and do what he loves while being an ambassador for Allegheny, said Knobel, 22.

“Anywhere we go, we always have Allegheny on our chest,” he said. “We’re all representing the college. The relationships we’re going to (build) with other schools and other choirs are very important to our education on an individual level, but also to the groups as a whole and to their improvement.”

He’s looking forward to staying with local families.

“I’ve stayed in a few different countries in hostels and you always meet different people and you always gain new perspectives on their lives and experiences,” Knobel said. “It’s always something you can grow from.”

Unlike Knobel, most of the students in the choir are not music majors. The 19 students traveling represent 26 different major and minor programs and nine different states. Ben Thomas, a tenor who joined the choir as a first-year student, graduated with a neuroscience degree on Saturday.

“In many ways it sums up Allegheny as a whole,” said Thomas, 22, of California, Pennsylvania. “There are only two or three music majors in the Chamber Choir and the rest of us are in different disciplines. We all get to take this trip halfway across the world to a place we’ve never been.

“It’s basically the textbook definition of ‘unusual combinations,’” he said, referring to Allegheny’s national reputation as a place where students are encouraged to explore their unusual combinations of interests and talents. Students often focus their energies and curiosities on courses of study that are not closely linked to their major.

Beyond the opportunity to travel abroad, the choir has helped forge deep friendships that will continue beyond college careers, Hazzard said.

“I could care less where we go,” she said. “I just want to be with this group of people.”

Read student blogs about the trip under “News & Events” on the Music Department website.

Percussion Ensemble

The Percussion Ensemble will perform its annual spring concert on May 1 at 8 p.m. in Shafer Auditorium. The group’s performance repertoire includes “Caravan,” “Irish Tune From County Derry,” “Three Asiatic Dances,” “Stinkin’ Garbage,” “Take Three,” “Living Room Music,” “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” and “Hip Hop Deluxe.” The ensemble is composed of seven students from the Music Department and is directed by Stephen F. Corsi. Audience seating will be on the auditorium stage.

Wind Symphony & Wind Ensemble

Wind Symphony and Wind Ensemble, with 95 students playing in the symphony and 35 in the ensemble, will perform on Sunday, April 30 at 3:15 p.m. in Shafer Auditorium under the direction of Professor of Music Lowell Hepler. Several faculty members are a part of the groups as well – Professor of Biology Dr. Lisa Whitenack plays with the Wind Symphony, adjunct instructor Thomas Leech joins the Wind Ensemble, and Dr. Ronald Stitt, adjunct instructor of trombone, plays with both groups.

Wind Symphony will perform “The Sinfonians” by Clifton Williams; “Irish Tune from County Derry” by Grainger; “Tableaux de Provence” by Paula Maurice, featuring senior soloist alto saxophonist Daniel Kerschner; “Alligator Alley” by Daugherty, featuring the bassoon section; “Mother Earth Fanfare” by Maslanka, conducted by Dearden; “Music for a Festival” by Sparke; “Danzon #2” by Marquez; “Dance of the Jesters” by Tchaikovsky; and “National Emblem March” by Bagley. Wind Ensemble will play “Schottische” and “Cakewalk” from “Suite of Old American Dances” by Bennett, and “Overture to Candide” by Bernstein.

Civic Symphony

The Civic Symphony will perform at 3:15 p.m. on Saturday, April 29 in Allegheny’s Shafer Auditorium. The performance is free and open to the public.

The symphony features 31 students under the direction of Associate Professor of Music Jennifer Dearden. Four faculty members play with the symphony — adjunct instructors Tom Leech and Stephen Corsi, Professor of Modern Languages Phillip Wolfe, and Professor of Political Science John Christie Searles – along with a few community members. They will perform “Russian Sailor’s Dance” by Gliere; “Beseda,” arranged by Robert Bauernschmidt; “Forlana,” from “Five Bagatelles” by Gerald Finzi, featuring senior clarinet soloist Melissa Ruszczyk; three movements from “Dances of Transylvania by Bartok;” “Tarantella” and “Polka” by Rieti; “Saturday Night Waltz” by Copeland; and “Danzas Cubanas” by Robert Sheldon.

Allegheny College Jazz Band Spring Concert

The Allegheny College Jazz Band will perform its annual spring concert on Sunday, April 23, 2017 at 3:15 p.m. in the lobby of the college’s Henderson Campus Center. The concert is free and open to the public.

The performance repertoire includes, “C-Jam Blues”, “The Tiger of San Pedro”, “The Girl From Ipanema”, “S’ Wonderful”, “Stompin’ at the Savoy”, “Sweet Georgia Brown”, “Cut the Cake”, “Moon River”, “Killer Joe”, “Somewhere”, and “Satin Doll.”

Instrumental soloists and a vocal soloist will be showcased.

The ensemble, made up of 27 students and one faculty member, is under the direction of Stephen F. Corsi.

Three Days, Three Concerts at Allegheny

Allegheny College will showcase the musical talents of its students, faculty, and members of the Meadville community with events spanning three days, beginning Saturday, April 29 with a performance by the Civic Symphony. The Civic Symphony will perform at 3:15 p.m. on Saturday, April 29, followed by a performance by the Wind Symphony and Wind Ensemble at 3:15 p.m. on Sunday, April 30. The Percussion Ensemble will wrap up the concerts on Monday, May 1, at 8 p.m. All shows will be held in Allegheny’s Shafer Auditorium and are free and open to the public. (more…)

Allegheny Chamber Singers Perform Opera Scenes

The Allegheny Chamber Singers will perform their annual Opera Scenes program on Saturday, April 29, at 7 p.m., in Ford Chapel. The ensemble includes 10 Allegheny students, and is co-directed by Vicki Jamison and Carol Niblock. (more…)

Allegheny Choirs Spring Concert

The Allegheny Choirs, under the direction of James D. Niblock, will perform a free concert at 3:15 p.m. Saturday, April 8, in Shafer Auditorium. The Allegheny College Chorus, Chamber Choir, Women’s Ensemble, Men’s Ensemble, and College Choir will each perform several works, and the groups will collaborate to close the performance as a choir of 111 voices. The concert is free and open to the public.

Allegheny College Jazz Band Presents Spring Concert

The Allegheny College Jazz Band will perform its annual spring concert on Sunday, April 23, 2017 at 3:15 p.m. in the lobby of the college’s Henderson Campus Center. The concert is free and open to the public.

The performance repertoire includes, “C-Jam Blues”, “The Tiger of San Pedro”, “The Girl From Ipanema”, “S’ Wonderful”, “Stompin’ at the Savoy”, “Sweet Georgia Brown”, “Cut the Cake”, “Moon River”, “Killer Joe”, “Somewhere”, and “Satin Doll.”

Instrumental soloists and a vocal soloist will be showcased.

The ensemble, made up of 27 students and one faculty member, is under the direction of Stephen F. Corsi.

Allegheny Choirs to Perform Spring Concert

The Allegheny Choirs, under the direction of James D. Niblock, will perform a free concert at 3:15 p.m. Saturday, April 8, in Shafer Auditorium. The Allegheny College Chorus, Chamber Choir, Women’s Ensemble, Men’s Ensemble, and College Choir will each perform several works, and the groups will collaborate to close the performance as a choir of 111 voices. The concert is free and open to the public.

The College Chorus will open the concert with “Fair Phyllis I Saw,” a playful English madrigal by John Farmer about a young shepherdess and her lover. Jewish composer Robert Applebaum will also be featured with his humorous Yiddish folk song “Chiribim Chiribom,” relating to the March holiday of Purim. (more…)