POUGHKEEPSIE, NY—The Choir of Queens’ College, Cambridge University, considered among the best mixed choirs in England, will perform during a special concert to benefit Community Works on Wednesday, December 10, at Vassar.
The benefit concert will feature sacred and secular choral favorites and will begin at 6:00 pm in Skinner Hall of Music. On behalf of Community Works, which provides financial assistance to local not-for-profit organizations, there is a suggested donation of $10. Admission and seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis.
“The presence of the Choir of Queens’ College at Vassar came about because of the friendship between Lord Eatwell and Barbara Vogelstein, a member of Vassar’s Board of Trustees. During a conversation, Lord Eatwell mentioned to Ms. Vogelstein his wish that the choir might perform a benefit concert for a local charity while they were in New York City,” noted John Mihaly, director of development for regional programs at Vassar. “Instead, Ms. Vogelstein wondered if Vassar might be able to take advantage of this wonderful generosity to benefit our Hudson Valley community, and put Lord Eatwell in communication with the college.”
The program will open with remarks from Catharine Hill, President of Vassar College, and Lord Eatwell, President of Queens’ College Cambridge. The concert will include performances by the Choir of Queens’ College of choral works by J.S. Bach, William Byrd, Edward Elgar, Giovanni Gabrielli, William Harris, Charles Villiers Stanford, John Tavener, Thomas Tallis, among others. Concluding the program, the Choir will join with the Vassar College Madrigal Singers for performances of Herbert Howell’s “A Spotless Rose,” and the traditional song, “Tomorrow shall be my dancing day.”
ABOUT THE CHOIR OF QUEENS’ COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE
The Choir of Queens’ College is a mixed-voice choir comprised of singers drawn from across the University of Cambridge, founded in 1448. Over the last decade the choir has established a reputation for the excellence and freshness of its interpretations and its commitment to a wide range of choral repertoire, sacred and secular. Madeleine Lovell serves as director of music, Alexander Breedon as senior organ scholar, and Jemima Stephenson as junior organ scholar.
The tradition of choral singing in Queens’ College’s historic chapels is a long one, and in addition to liturgical duties - leading worship according to the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, and occasional festal services - the choir maintains a heavy schedule of concerts, tours, and recordings.
The choir has a continued history as a promoter of contemporary music, dating from when Charles Villiers Stanford (himself a Queens’ Organ Scholar in 1870) wrote a setting of the Magnificat and Nunc Dimittis, The Queens’ Service, for the choir, in 1874.
The choir’s current tour of the Northeast will include performances in Manhattan at the Harvard Club and Trinity Church Wall Street, as well as Harvard Memorial Church in Cambridge, MA. Prior European tours have included performances in Germany, Japan, Italy, France, Switzerland, Spain, and the Channel Islands.
ABOUT THE VASSAR COLLEGE MADRIGAL SINGERS
The Madrigal Singers, directed by Drew Minter, is a select ensemble of singers whose musical and vocal skills are already significantly developed. To audition, singers in their first- or second-years must first be a member of one of the two larger choirs; the Vassar College Choir or the Vassar College Women’s Chorus. The group performs a wide-ranging repertoire, but it is centered in the early music (medieval through Baroque) and contemporary repertoires.
ABOUT THE COMMUNITY WORKS CAMPAIGN
Funded by donations from employees and students of Vassar College, Community Works is a philanthropic campaign whose mission is to provide financial assistance to local not-for-profit organizations. Since its inception in 2001, Community Works has raised more than $500,000 to fund 27 different institutions in the Hudson Valley. A committee of staff, administrators, faculty, and students selects recipients each year.
Last year’s campaign raised more than $100,000. “This year the need is anticipated to be much higher with the jobless rate in Dutchess and Ulster counties at a 14-year high,” stated Jeffrey Schneider, director of the Community Works Campaign for 2009. “Already, local food banks and other social service agencies are seeing a 15 to 20 percent increase in people seeing assistance and that number is expected to grow.” Ten local organizations have been chosen as recipients for the 2009 campaign. Additional information is available at http://communityworks.vassar.edu.
The Skinner Hall of Music at Vassar College is wheelchair-accessible. People with disabilities requiring accommodations should contact the Office of Campus Activities at (845) 437-5370. Free parking is available at Skinner Hall, and the campus’s adjoining south parking lot. Directions to the Vassar campus are available at www.vassar.edu/directions.
Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.