Defying Gravity: The Music of Stephen Schwartz and Eric Whitacre

Defying Gravity: The Music of Stephen Schwartz and Eric Whitacre
Sunday, Mar 30, 2014
2:00 PM
David Geffen Hall, Lincoln Center
Eric Whitacre, Composer/Conductor
Stephen Schwartz, Special Guest Artist
Ashley Brown, Soprano, Broadway's original Mary Poppins
Contact us about this concert and future performance opportunities.

Participating Ensembles:

The Adrian College Choir
Chorus Angelicus and Gaudeamus
Eastern University Choir
EnChor Chamber Choir
JanuaVox
Spring Arbor University Chamber Choir
SUNY Orange Treble Makers
St. Maries Musica
Cherokee High School Choir
Cherry Hill High School East Singers
The Chamber Singers of Concordia International School Shanghai
Davis High Advanced Treble and Madrigal Choirs
Friends’ Central School Chorus
Grand Junction High School Chamber Choir
Pope High School Chorus
Savannah Arts Academy Chorale
Viridis

The Adrian College Choir

The Adrian College Choir has been a fixture at Adrian College for over 150 years. The choir is made up of one hundred men and women from across the campus, who choose to make singing in choir a part of their liberal arts experience. The Adrian College Choir has toured Europe and China, and regularly tours the Midwest and East Coast. They have performed with the Adrian Symphony Orchestra and Toledo Symphony Orchestra. In April 2010, the choir made their Carnegie Hall debut, performing a concert of American contemporary music. Other choirs at Adrian College include the Men's Choir, Women's Choir, Chamber Choir, and Jazz Choir.
 
Dr. Thomas M. Hodgman is in his 15th year as Director of Choral Ensembles at Adrian College. He has served as guest conductor and adjudicator in California, New Jersey, New York, Michigan and Ohio. His choirs have performed at Carnegie Hall and Kennedy Center, and have toured China, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and the United States. He co-authored three books with his wife, Colleen Conway: Handbook for the Beginning Music Teacher (GIA, 2006), Teaching Music in Higher Education (Oxford, 2008), and Handbook for the Beginning Music Mentor (GIA 2010). Dr. Hodgman earned a doctorate at the Eastman School of Music and masters degree at Westminster Choir College.

Chorus Angelicus and Gaudeamus

Gabriel Lofvall
Gabriel Lofvall
Now entering its 22nd year, Joyful Noise is the proud parent of Chorus Angelicus, made up of a junior choir ages 10-13 and a senior choir of teens, and Gaudeamus, the adult choir. Performances have included collaborations with the Hartford Symphony and the Paul Winter Consort. The choirs have appeared in Boston Symphony Hall, The Cathedral of St. John the Divine, in New York, and Ozawa Hall at Tanglewood. They have extensively toured the northeast and performed at many workshops and music festivals.
 
Gabriel Löfvall is a conductor, pianist and tenor. He received his bachelor's degree from the National University of Cuyo in his native Argentina, and his Master of Music in Piano Performance and Masters Degree in Choral Conducting from the Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford. He co-directs the vocal ensemble Vallis Musicae, a community chorus that has performed internationally, and served as the assistant conductor for The Main Street Singers of New Britain. He is currently the Director of Music for St. Patrick-St. Anthony Church in downtown Hartford and the Artistic Director of Chorus Angelicus and Gaudeamus.
 
 

Eastern University Choir

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Richard Frost
Richard Frost (Rick) did his undergraduate work at St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN, where he studied under Olaf Christiansen and Kenneth Jennings. He received a Master of Arts degree in Choral Music from the University of Iowa, studying with Daniel Moe. He taught music and conducted choral programs at the high school level for three years before moving from Minnesota to Coeur d'Alene, ID, where he conducted the choral program and taught Music Theory at North Idaho College for seventeen years from 1971-1988. He and his wife, Julie, and his four children moved to Wayne, PA in 1988, responding to a call from Church of the Saviour to fill the position of Pastor of Worship and Music. In 2000 he joined the faculty of the music department at Eastern University, St. Davids, PA. His present responsibilities are conducting the University Choir and teaching Choral Conducting, Musicianship, Introduction to Composition and the Church Music Program.

When not teaching or conducting, he enjoys composing and arranging, golfing and, with his wife, spending time with their five grandchildren.
           


The Eastern University Choir has been in existence for over fifty years. It has been an organization committed to presenting the Christian message through excellence in performance and  through singing the best of the classical choral literature, from the Renaissance to the present, as well as ethnic and American folk literature and spirituals. .

            The choir sings at the major music festivals on campus, the Gala Benefit concert each Spring in Wayne, PA, as well as in the surrounding communities of Wayne, Devon, and West Chester. In 2009 the Gala showcased David Kim, principal violin of the Philadelphia Orchestra, who was featured with the choir. Also, the choir for the last forty years has toured extensively in the north eastern United States -- New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts and Maine.
            Richard Frost, now in his sixth year as conductor of the choir states: “Our goals are simple -- to be the best we can be with what God has given us and to communicate as effectively as we can the musical and textual elements of each piece so that our listeners are profoundly impacted.”

EnChor Chamber Choir

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Elizabeth Paynter
Elizabeth Paynter has been a music specialist with the Calgary Board of Education for over 20 years and from early in her teaching career, began directing choirs in the Calgary choral community. Currently, Elizabeth is the artistic director of “Arioso,” the children’s choir at Mount Royal University, EnChor Chamber Choir, an auditioned vocal ensemble, One Accord, a 50 voice community choir, and she is the director of Music and Spiritual Arts at Scarboro United Church in Calgary. She is in demand as a choral clinician, and in recent years, Liz directed the Calgary Multicultural Choir, and was the artistic director of the Calgary Men’s Chorus.
In her role as director of Spiritual Arts at Scarboro United, as a teacher passionate about learning through the arts, and EnChor Chamber Choir’s mandate to collaborate with other Canadian artists, Elizabeth has had the privilege of working with some of Western Canada’s top artists.  Her most recent collaborations included work with Corps Bara Dance, The Foothills Brass, Fire Exit Theatre, Lily String Quartet, The Karl Schwonick Jazz trio, and the University of Calgary Orchestra. This summer, Elizabeth’s children’s choir at Mount Royal University will be travelling to Vienna to perform and participate in workshops with the Vienna Boys’ Choir. 
EnChor Chamber Choir is a dedicated group of musicians whose distinct talents combine “in chorus.” Our members are all experienced singers who delight in performing a vast array of choral music, from Renaissance motets, to the latest contemporary vocal works, to musical theatre, and large scale choir and orchestra masterpieces. One of EnChor’s mandates is to collaborate with other artists, and we also proudly highlight the work of Canadian composers, including Canadian content in every concert.

JanuaVox

Roberta Paraninfo
Roberta Paraninfo
JanuaVox is the youth mixed choir of Genoa Vocal Academy (Accademia Vocale di Genova). It is made up by the choristers of Genova Vocal Ensemble (a female group and the Academy's first national and international award-winning vocal ensemble, today one of Italy's most renowned groups) enriched by young male voices.
The group's primary aim is the constant deep study of  polyphonic sacred and secular repertoire ranging from Renaissance polyphony to unique jazz and Pop arrangements, and it has been praised for exquisite singing and stunning performance. 
JanuaVox has performed widely in several high-profile concerts and festivals winning many important prizes.
Roberta Paraninfo is a highly-trained qualified pianist who specialized with Alexander Lonquich and Alessandro Specchi. Her conviction of the importance of music from the early childhood in everyone’s growth has made her elaborate her own personal teaching methodology. She regularly promotes projects on music training and development of choral abilities for primary school students and teachers throughout Italy. 
She is the President of the Genoa Vocal Academy, as well as conductor of all its choirs (Genova Vocal Ensemble, JanuaVox, and others). Roberta Paraninfo was awarded the prize for "Best Conductor" three times, both in national and international competitions.

Spring Arbor University Chamber Choir

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Charles Livesay
The Spring Arbor University Chamber Choir is the select and touring ensemble for this 1500-student Christian liberal arts university in South Central Michigan.  This 40-voice mixed ensemble performs both sacred and secular literature for audiences on its campus and in churches and schools, both regionally and nationally during its semi-annual tours.  While affiliated with the Free Methodist denomination, Spring Arbor invites students of all denominations to the serious study of the liberal arts, faith in Christ as a perspective for a deeper understanding of that study, and a critical participation in the affairs of the contemporary world.
Charles Livesay is in his 39th year of teaching at Spring Arbor, spending the last 32 as its director of choral activities. He has adjudicated choral festivals throughout the state of Michigan, and has been an active member of the American Choral Directors Association. He was Michigan ACDA’s College/University chair for two separate 4-year terms, and was Michigan ACDA President from 1990-93. He was also publicity chair for the 1998 ACDA Central Division convention in Detroit. He received his B.M.E. from Westminster Choir College, and an M.M. and a D.M.A. in choral conducting, from the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, respectively.

SUNY Orange Treble Makers

Kim Hoffner
Kim Hoeffner
The SUNY Orange Treble Makers were formed after Kody Andreas was inspired to form an accepella group at SUNY Orange in the spring of 2012.  Soon after auditions the group started to meet, preparing songs from composers ranging from Eric Whitacre to student composed a cappella versions of modern pop songs such as “Somebody That I Used to Know” by Gotye.  The Treble Makers have performed at the SUNY Orange winter and spring concerts, and student recitals.
Kim Hoeffner from Montgomery N.Y. began singing at the age of eight. She began in her church and performed at Carnegie Hall three times with the Middletown City Chorale, which fueled her passion to pursue a Liberal Arts Degree with an emphasis in music. While attending SUNY Orange, she performed with several chorale groups under the direction of Christa Damaris. Soon after, she began performing with the Hudson Opera Theater under the direction of Ron Defesi. Kim has performed in operas ranging from Dialogue of the Carmelites to Orpheus in the Underworld, and currently rehearsing to perform in Norma.

St. Maries Musica

Krystal McCoy
Krystal McCoy
In 1971, a group of neighbors in Southern Maryland gathered together to share their love of madrigal music and formed the Madrigal Concert Ensemble. Ten years later, the name was changed to Saint Maries Musica and the group grew to 21 members from throughout the region. Today, our singers come from all walks of life: engineers and music teachers, retirees and housewives. Some members have been with us for less than a year, and some have been with the group since the beginning. Over the years, we have performed at a variety of locations during our Spring and Christmas concert seasons. We regularly perform free public concerts at regional churches, as well as fundraisers for Historic Saint Mary's City, the original capitol of the Maryland Colony. We have even performed in such prestigious venues as the Kennedy Center and the Old Executive Office Building in Washington, D.C.
Krystal Rickard McCoy is an adjunct faculty member at the College of Southern Maryland where she teaches music appreciation and conducts the CSM Chorale. Additionally, she directs St. Maries Musica, a select community choir based in Southern Maryland and is the director of the Southern Maryland Encore Chorale at Asbury in Solomons. She is past-president of the Maryland/DC American Choral Director's Association. Ms. Rickard McCoy adjudicates at choral festivals and clinics in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New Jersey. She presents at conferences and choral reading sessions and has conducted honor choirs on the east coast. McCoy holds a Bachelor's Degree in Music Education from Bucknell University and a Master's Degree in Choral Conducting from Westminster Choir College. She has studied conducting with Joseph Flummerfelt, Andrew Megill, James Jordan and William Payn. She is currently pursuing her Doctorate of Musical Arts in Music Education from Boston University. Her research interests include community engagement and adult music education.

Cherokee High School Choir

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Brad Ellis
The Cherokee High School chorus has sent a select group of singers that have chosen to take on the challenge and experience of Defying Gravity: The Music of Eric Whitacre and Stephen Schwartz.  The chorus at large is involved in the community of Canton, GA singing at public events from Patriotic events to grand openings to nursing home visits.  The program allows for beginning musicians as well as auditioned singers in advanced choirs.  The groups, from beginning to advanced consistently earn Excellent and Superior rates at Large Group Performance Evaluation.
Brad Ellis is in his 9th year as the chorus director at Cherokee High School in Canton, GA. He earned his Bachelor of Music Education degree from Shorter College in 1994. He received his Master’s in Music Education Degree in 2006 and his Specialist’s Degree in Music Education in 2012 from The University of Georgia. He began teaching in Cherokee County in 1995 where he taught at Johnston Elementary School. He braved middle school chorus for 8 years at Woodstock Middle School. As a clinician, Mr. Ellis has conducted honor choirs around the state. He is a member of the National Association of Music Educations and the American Choral Director’s Association. His desire is to lead students in music making that causes them to go outside their present circumstances to a place that is different. Sometimes this place makes them smile or laugh, but sometimes it make them come to terms with the emotional experience of being human.

Cherry Hill High School East Singers

Lauri Lausi
Laurie Lausi
Cherry Hill High School East consistently ranks among the top high schools in the state and nation both academically and musically. The East vocal department boasts an enrollment of over 300 students who perform in 8 different performing groups. Many East vocalists place in regional, state, and national honor choirs. This year, a record 25 singers placed into the All-South Jersey Chorus with East placing all the 1st chair sopranos and altos and most placing in the top 10 of their section. The East Singers have performed in Carnegie Hall, Kimmel Center and Lincoln Center.
 
Laurie Lausi is in her 17th year at Cherry Hill High School East where she is the director of East Singers, Concert Choir, Vocal Workshop, the Belles of East and Madrigal Singers. Ms. Lausi is a cum laude graduate of Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, TX. She earned her Master of Music Education at Westminster Choir College in Princeton. She is on the board of the New Jersey American Choral Directors Association (NJ-ACDA) as Senior High R&S Chair and Past President. Her guest conducting experiences include the Delaware Junior High All-State Chorus, the Maryland Junior All-State Chorus, and the Senior High All-South Jersey Chorus.

The Chamber Singers of Concordia International School Shanghai

Meg Ideker
Meg Ideker
The Chamber Singers of Concordia International School Shanghai is a select choir of sixteen members: eight women and eight men. Each year they perform on four major school concerts, their Singing Valentines fundraiser, and the APAC Choral Festival, during which they have traveled to locations such as Manila, Philippines and Seoul, Korea. They have sung under Dr. Jerry Blackstone, University of Michigan; Dr. Pearl Shangkuan, Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan; and Dr. Edith Copley, Northern Arizona University. They sing a varied repertoire from Renaissance madrigals to Broadway medleys. Not only are these students wonderful musicians who are dedicated to their craft, they are also part of a school which is renowned for its academic rigor, having received the highest SAT scores of any international school in the world for the past four years.
Meg Ideker has been the Choral Director at Concordia International School Shanghai for eight years where she conducts nine of the twelve choirs, including: three high school curricular choirs, four middle school curricular choirs, and two co-curricular choirs. In addition, Mrs. Ideker also serves as the music director for the annual musical, and she leads the Chamber Singers to the APAC choir festival each autumn. She also sings with the Shanghai International Choral League, and the Shanghai International Festival Choir. Mrs. Ideker hails from Iowa and Michigan, and has lived abroad in Beijing; Paris; Manchester, UK; and currently lives in Shanghai. She lives with her husband, John, their twin daughters, Martha and Sophie, and their cat and two dogs.

Davis High Advanced Treble and Madrigal Choirs

The Davis High Madrigal Singers was founded in 1966 and are an auditioned group of 32 high school students from Davis, California, who perform a wide variety of music dating from the 15th century to the present. In their distinctive, Renaissance-inspired costumes, the chamber choir currently enjoys about 40 performances per year within the United States and abroad.
 
This highly accomplished class, within the CA public school system, demands the best of these young musicians’ talents and they have had the pleasure of working with many renowned U.S. and International musicians. Some of the Madrigals’ most treasured experiences, however, have been through community outreach. From the time-honored tradition   of The Madrigal Dinner, a 16th Century holiday feast, to the preparing and serving of meals at The Wayfarer Center and many choral workshops and benefit concerts in between, the Madrigals are committed to their "musical message of joy and hope" through song and service.

Friends’ Central School Chorus

Michele Zuckman
Michele Zuckman
Friends' Central School is a Quaker, independent, coeducational, college preparatory day school for students in Nursery through grade 12. Located on two campuses in Wynnewood, PA, just outside of Philadelphia, Friends' Central blends a rigorous curriculum with enduring Quaker principles of kindness, compassion, and generosity of spirit to create a solid foundation that ensures both the opportunity and ability for extraordinary achievement. The visual and performing arts are integral to the core curriculum and are essential to every student's experience at Friends' Central.
 
The Friends' Central School Chorus is open to all students in grades 9-12. Nearly 100 students participate in the Chorus, which studies and performs music from a wide range of genres, including classical, multicultural, and contemporary choral works. Friends' Central also offers the opportunity for chorus members to audition for one of three select vocal groups, which perform regularly for school and community events and raise money for local charities.
Michele Zuckman joined the faculty of Friends' Central School in 2011 as Middle and Upper School Vocal Music Teacher. Ms. Zuckman conducts the Upper School Chorus, accompanies the Middle School Chorus, leads three select vocal groups, and teaches music theory and 8th and 10th grade music. Prior to her appointment at FCS, Ms. Zuckman was a Choral/Vocal Music Teacher at the Lehigh Valley Charter HS for the Performing Arts in Bethlehem, PA. Ms. Zuckman is also the Music Director/Conductor of the Hopewell Valley Chorus in Pennington, NJ and a member of the Healing Presence Singers in Philadelphia. She holds and a BFA in Voice Performance/Music Education from Carnegie Mellon University and an MM in Choral Conducting/Music Education from Westminster Choir College of Rider University.

Grand Junction High School Chamber Choir

Marcia Wieland
Marcia Wieland
Grand Junction High School Choral Department from Mesa County, Colorado features seven choirs and involves nearly 150 students. Choral Director, Marcia Wieland founded the Chamber Choir in 2011 to offer the highest degree of excellence in classical choral literature.  This musically elite ensemble’s accomplishments include a clinic and commission with composer Eric William Barnum (2011) and an invitation to perform with Eric Whitacre in New York City (2014).  Students from this ensemble have participated in Colorado All State Choirs, regional and national ACDA Honor Choirs, and been offered extensive talent-based scholarships at prestigious collegiate musical institutions. 
Ms. Marcia Wieland holds a Bachelor of Music in Choral Music Education from Oakland University (2006) and a Masters of Music in Choral Conducting from Michigan State University (2010), both of which she attended on scholarship and graduated with honors.  This is Ms. Wieland’s seventh year teaching and fourth year at Grand Junction High School.  She enjoys an active professional status serving on the Colorado All State Board, participating in the American Choral Director’s Association, serving as a clinician for vocal and choral studies, and maintaining a large applied voice studio, yielding student acceptance to many prestigious institutions.  

Pope High School Chorus

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Zelda Johns
The Pope High School Chorus (Marietta, GA) is built on the philosophy of providing a safe environment that allows for risk taking and creative expression, and in doing so, we provide extraordinary musical experiences for young people. Students learn repertoire from all style periods from the Renaissance to the 21st century, and in all genres from traditional classical choral music to jazz, pop and Broadway.  Strong emphasis is placed on music literacy in addition to the wide variety of musical styles performed in an ongoing effort to grow complete musicians. We would like to thank DCINY for broadening our horizons and allowing us this opportunity to perform!
Zelda Johns is in her 8th year as choir director at Pope High School. Previously, she taught for 9 years in Florida. Her choirs have consistently received superior ratings at District and State performance evaluations. Zelda earned her Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Music Education from the Florida State University. When she is not teaching, Zelda enjoys being wife to Greg Johns, being mother to three future sopranos, photography and playing poker.

Savannah Arts Academy Chorale

Russell Watkins
Russell Watkins
Savannah Arts Academy became the first dedicated performing and visual arts high school in Savannah, Georgia in 1998. In the 15 years since the school opened, the  choral department has grown to four choirs and two ensembles. Nova Singers, Women's Cantabile, Men's choir, SAA Chorale, Skylarks (auditioned women's ensemble), and Downtown Sound (men's quartet). Under the direction of Russell Watkins, the four choirs consistently score superior ratings at Georgia Music Educators Association Large Group Performance Evaluation. SAA choral students have also distinguished themselves in the District and State Literary competitions, and a Multi-Cultural National Honor's Choir in Miami. SAA students are consistently chosen for All-State Choir, and All-State Reading Choir. Additional honors include selection to the prestigious Governor's Honors Choir Program. SAA choirs have performed at the historic Lucas Theatre in Savannah, Georgia, New York's Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, and the Music USA Festival in Orlando, Florida winning first place each time. Downtown Sound and the Skylarks have performed at City Walk in Universal Studios, and routinely perform at various venues within Savannah.
Russell Watkins has recently taken over the vocal department at Savannah Arts Academy, in Savannah, Georgia. He holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Angelo State University, San Angelo, Texas, and a Master of Music degree from Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, Georgia. After many years of singing operatic roles and ensembles, Russell has followed a desire to teach and conduct choral music. Having taught at all levels, from kindergarten to graduate school, Mr. Watkins has developed a passion for teaching high school students. Currently in his fifth year teaching high school, he is very pleased to be working with some of the most talented singers in the state of Georgia. After serving three years as an adjunct faculty member at Georgia College & State University, Mr. Watkins brings to his students a technical approach to singing, teaching a strong yet flexible technique with emphasis on resonance and placement in order to discover the natural voice.

Viridis

Ryan Guth
Ryan Guth
Viridis, a brand new project from VoiceWorks, is an auditioned high school vocal ensemble specializing in standard choral repertoire from the Renaissance to today. The word Viridis is Latin for "Green" or "Youthful," acknowledging the fact that, although this choir performs at a high level, they still have much to learn as young choral artists. Their inaugural year will include performances of Britten's Rejoice in the Lamb at Princeton University Chapel and Lincoln Center. The group rehearses for two hours each week at VoiceWorks: Marlboro.
Recognized for his energetic and fun approach to ensemble direction, Ryan Guth is currently serving in his seventh year as Choral Director at Marlboro Memorial Middle School in Morganville, NJ, where he directs four vocal and two handbell ensembles. Ryan also owns VoiceWorks, a performing arts school for young singers, actors, and handbell musicians. In addition to running the company, he directs two of VoiceWorks' high school ensembles: Viridis, a classical choral ensemble, and Impulse Handbell Ensemble, sponsored by Malmark Bellcraftsmen, and recognized as one of the nation's top teen bell choirs. Groups under Ryan's direction have been featured on radio stations throughout the US and Canada, in the Huffington Post Online, the Today Show, and on professional stages around New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Impulse Handbell Ensemble, his most sought-after performing group, was recently featured on the cover of Overtones magazine, the official publication of The Handbell Musicians of America. As a baritone, Ryan often sings as a soloist in choral-orchestral oratorio concerts. Ryan holds a bachelor's degree in Music Education from Westminster Choir College, and is currently pursuing his masters at the same institution. He currently resides in Princeton, New Jersey.