Allegheny News and Events

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.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

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.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

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.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

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.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

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.

The Civic Symphony kicks off the performance set, featuring 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.

On April 30, the Wind Symphony and Wind Ensemble, with 95 students playing in the symphony and 35 in the ensemble, will perform 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.

The Percussion Ensemble will perform its annual spring concert on May 1 to conclude the music series. 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.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

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.

Jamison started the program in 1987, with the first concert in 1988 consisting mainly of solos. “I wanted my students to discover for themselves that opera is the marriage of challenging and beautiful music and drama that is accessible and enjoyable to performer and audience alike,” Jamison said. “I wanted to introduce them to a musical product that for the most part was totally unknown to them.”

The program became a registered course at Allegheny in 2000 that offered students a single credit. In the fall, members present duets, trios, and group numbers from art song and oratorio repertoire, and in the spring they present opera scenes. Vicki Jamison has been the vocal director with Ward Jamison as the accompanist since the group’s formation, and in 2014 Carol Niblock joined as a co-vocal director.

This year’s Chamber Singers group includes Letitia Campo, Brennen French, Ashley Mulrayan, Kyle Donnellly, Louis Fehér-Peiker, Daniel Keitel, Troy Dinga, Morgan Hazzard, Lauren Ottaviani, and Noah Dawgiello. The concert will begin and end with the ensemble performing as an entire group, singing “Hier die Buden, dort die Schenke” from “Martha” by Friedrich von Flotow, and “The Best of All Possible Worlds” from “Candide” by ​Leonard Bernstein.

The rest of the pieces are duets or trios: “Cinque … dieci” and “Crudel perque finora” from “Le Nozze di Figaro” by ​Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart; “We are Warriors Three” from “Princess Ida” by Arthur Sullivan; “Per queste tue manine” from “Don Giovanni” by Mozart; “Schelm, halt fest” from “Der Freischütz” ​by Carl Maria von Weber; and “Alle prove venga avanti” from “Il Turco in Italia” by Gioachino Rossini.

Guest director Jessica Sakal is this year’s stage director, and Ward Jamison will accompany the singers.

The performance is free and open to the public, and balcony seating is available.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

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.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

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.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

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.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

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.

The Chamber Choir will present four pieces from the repertoire for their upcoming spring tour to New Zealand, where the choir will hold nine performances in May. This concert will showcase “Le Pont Mirabeau” by French-Canadian composer Lionel Daunais. Another notable piece is “Father William,” an adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s poem from “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland,” composed by Irving Fine. Allegheny faculty Dr. Douglas Jurs will accompany the Chamber Choir at the piano for the concert as well as on their upcoming tour.

The Women’s Ensemble will round out the first half of the program with “The Seal Lullaby” by Eric Whitacre, and Baldassare Galuppi’s “Dixit Dominus,” which they originally performed in concert with the Alexander String Quartet during the quartet’s annual residency at Allegheny.

The Men’s Ensemble will open the second half with Jean Sibelius’ “Finlandia Hymn,” performing from a new edition by student Samuel Walgenbach ’19, who is part of the Men’s Ensemble and College Choir. This will be followed by Benjamin Britten’s “The Ballad of Little Musgrave and Lady Barnard,” an energetic adaptation of the folk tale “Matty Groves.” Britten’s work was written for prisoners of war and features frequent meter, tempo, and dynamic changes.

The College Choir will then perform a piece written by Allegheny’s first College choir director, Morten J. Luvaas, in 1945. “The Cry of God” was frequently performed by the Allegheny Singers on spring tours. The Choir will finish with “Pseudo-Yoik,” composed by Jaako Mantyjarvi. It is a fast-paced impression of a Lappish Yoik (a repetitive traditional folk song of the Sami people) with meaningless text, sung in a spirited and brilliant tone.

The choirs will combine to conclude the concert with the Horatian ode “Felices ter,” by Randall Thompson, and the College’s “Alma Mater, Beatissima.”

Collaborating with the choirs are student soloists and pianists Kevin Dill, director of music at First Presbyterian Church, and Allegheny Professor Emeritus of Music Ward Jamison.

Audience members are encouraged to sit in the balcony as well as in seats on the main floor of the auditorium.

Source: Academics, Publications & Research