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Arts Calendar: Music in Central Vermont




Saturday, May 25, 2019

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Onion River Chorus concert “The French Connection”

Onion River Chorus concert “The French Connection”

Montpelier’s Onion River Chorus, under the leadership of guest conductor Richard Riley, presents “The French Connection”, a program of music by Gabriel Fauré and Maurice Duruflé, complemented by the contemporary American composer Giselle Wyers. The concert dates are Saturday May 25 and Sunday May 26; both performances begin at 7:30 pm at the Montpelier Unitarian Church on 130 Main Street. Tickets are available at the door: $20 for general admission and $17 for students, and seniors.

Guest director Richard Riley is well-known to Vermont audiences as the musical director of the Burlington Choral Society and of the Montpelier Unitarian Church. He also acts as guest conductor for Capital City Concerts. The Onion River Chorus is joined by guest organist Jenny Bower and vocal soloists Lindsey Warren, soprano, and Geoffrey Penar, bass.

The focal point of this “French Connection” program of music is the Requiem by Maurice Duruflé. Duruflé (1902-1986) is surprisingly well-known for a composer who published only fourteen compositions. Opus 9, the Requiem, written from 1941-1948 expresses, in a contemplative way, the human tragedy of World War II as well as the personal grief over death of his father in 1945, only five months after Paris was liberated. The compositional language used in the Requiem combines Duruflé’s brilliance as an organist and his reverence for Gregorian chant. The work also makes use of the high level of expertise in the French choruses of that time. The Requiem will be presented in its original form for chorus and organ.

The second French composer of this concert is Duruflé’s predecessor Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924), himself the composer of a very well-known Requiem. Here he is however introduced by his Pavane, Op.50. This choral work written to a very “light” poem captures something of the “Belle Époque” at the end of the 19th century - a time of great optimism and prosperity. Fauré modestly described his Pavane as "elegant, but not otherwise important.” The best-known piece on the program, Gabriel Fauré’s Cantique de Jean Racine, was written in 1865 when Gabriel Fauré was just nineteen years old. It was an entry into a composition contest at the prestigious music school École Niedermeyer de Paris and won first prize. It is to this day frequently performed by choirs both in church and in concert.

The program is completed by the American composer Giselle Wyers (b. 1969), a professor of choral music at the University of Washington. Although the only thing French about Wyers is her first name, her lyrical and introspective musical language mirrors and develops that of Maurice Duruflé and Gabriel Fauré. In the four poems that we hear set to music in this concert, we can hear Giselle Wyers’ characteristic use of melody lines that are spun independently in each part.

Founded in 1978, Onion River Chorus, which is open to any dedicated singer, has consistently presented high quality performances of rarely performed masterpieces ranging from Renaissance to contemporary.

5/25/19 7:30pm - 5/26/19 9:00pm

Montpelier Unitarian Church, Montpelier

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Summit School Spring Music Classes

Summit School Spring Music Classes

The Summit School of Traditional Music and Culture presents….

The Spring 2019 Session of Evening Music Classes at the Center for Arts and Learning
46 Barre Street in Montpelier, VT.

- Registration is now open for classes in Banjo, Fiddle, Guitar, Mandolin, Singing and more!
- Classes start April 1st and run through June 11th
- Cost is $25 per class.
- For full class descriptions and other details, visit:

Old Time Banjo with Ted Ingham | 8 classes | April 1 - May 20
Old Time Mandolin with Dana Robinson | 6 classes | April 29 - June 3
Old Time Fiddle with Dana Robinson | 6 classes | April 29 - June 3
Bluegrass Banjo Sampler with Jacob Stone | 3 classes | April 1 - April 15

Trad Music Ensemble with Jeremiah McLane | 8 classes | April 2, 9, 30; May 14, 21, 28; June 4, 11

Harmony Singing with Heidi Wilson & Avery Book | 6 classes | April 24 - May 29
Foot Percussion Basics with Ellen Cooke | 6 classes | April 3 - May 8 (no class April 17)

Rags and Blues for Fiddle with Mark DiStefano | 6 classes | April 1 - May 9
Advanced Blues Guitar with Dave Keller | 4 classes | April 4, 11, 25; May 2

Klezmer Tunes with Oliver Zeichner | 6 classes | April 5 - May 17 (no class April 19)

For questions regarding these classes, please visit, or contact Yasi Zeichner at

4/1/19 7:30pm - 6/11/19 8:00pm

Center for Arts and Learning, Montpelier