Wesleyan Choir Joins Middletown Chorale for Performance

Keith Lee '09, a member of the Wesleyan Concert Choir, sings amongst Greater Middletown Chorale members during a rehearsal March 10 at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Middletown. (Photos by Olivia Bartlett)

Keith Lee '09, a member of the Wesleyan Concert Choir, sings with Greater Middletown Chorale members during a rehearsal March 10 at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Middletown. (Photos by Olivia Bartlett)

Twenty-four Wesleyan students will hit a high note in their singing careers April 19, when they perform with one of the preeminent choral groups in Connecticut.

The Wesleyan Concert Choir is teaming up with Greater Middletown Chorale, the region’s 32 year-old community chorus, and a 22-piece string orchestra of professional instrumentalists drawn from the New Haven Symphony and Yale Symphony Orchestras for a concert to be held at Crowell Concert Hall.

“On measure eight, energize it, not with volume but with energy,” says director Joseph D’Eugenio, during a March 10 group practice. “And be very anticipatory of the diminuendo in measure 55. But well done, beautifully sung.”

Joseph D'Eugenio, artistic director of the Greater Middletown Chorale and interim director of the Wesleyan Concert Choir, directs the combined choirs.

Joseph D'Eugenio, artistic director of the Greater Middletown Chorale and interim director of the Wesleyan Concert Choir, directs the combined choirs.

D’Eugenio is the artistic director of the Greater Middletown Chorale and interim director of the Wesleyan Concert Choir. For the April concert, both choirs will perform Schubert’s Mass in G, written early in the composer’s short-lived career. The Wesleyan Choir will also sing Mozart’s Ave verum corpus and Georg Phillip Telemann’s Psalm 117, written in 1758. Additionally, Lass dich nur nichts nichts dauren , Opus 30 by Johannes Brahms will be sung by the Greater Middletown Chorale and a divertimento by Mozart will be played by the chamber orchestra.

Although the Wesleyan and Middletown choirs have sung together in the past, most notably for the ceremony that celebrated the installation of Wesleyan’s new organ, the April event will be the first time the Wesleyan Choir has performed a full concert with the Greater Middletown Chorale.

“The Middletown Chorale loves having the students join in for these projects,” D’Eugenio says. “The Middletown singers offer 10 to 30 years experience of singing and skill to less experienced student singers, while the students add that youthful sound of their voices to the whole. So, in the end, the cross-generational vocal production makes for a wonderful blending of voices.”

Linda Secord, a member of the Greater Middletown Chorale, practices Schubert's <em>Mass in G</em> in preparation for a concert April 19 at Crowell Concert Hall.

Linda Secord, director of alumni relations, is also a member of the Greater Middletown Chorale. She practices Schubert's Mass in G in preparation for a concert April 19 at Crowell Concert Hall.

The Greater Middletown Chorale has distinguished itself on many occasions throughout the state, singing twice at the Governor’s Inauguration and recently touring the music capitals of Europe where it presented three concerts in Vienna, Salzburg and Prague. Its performance of Dvorak’s Mass in D has been archived at Prague’s Antonin Dvorak Museum.

Economics major Keith Lee ’09 is one of the Wesleyan Choir members performing at the April 19 concert. He started singing as a freshman in high school, and has since sung with the a capella group Outside-In, an Opera and Oratorio class, and the student group The Mixolydians.

“I wanted to sing during spring break, which is what led me to check out the Greater Middletown Chorale,” Lee explains. “I really enjoyed singing with everybody. They were all very friendly and quite enthusiastic about singing, which is not always the case at the student level. Singing with a group like the Chorale is definitely something I see myself doing as I get older as well.”

Several from the Wesleyan community sing in the Greater Middletown Chorale: David Morgan, professor of history, emeritus, is a past president; Linda Secord, director of alumni relations; Michael Sciola, director of Career Resource Center; Gertrude Hughes, professor of English, emerita; and Dzintra Infante, a former research assistant in the Biology and Molecular Biology and Biochemistry departments.

“This program represents a unique collaboration of a university and a community group, with each bringing its special talents and gifts to the project,” says Joyce Kirkpatrick, Greater Middletown Chorale board member. “The Wesleyan University Concert Choir has a long history, and a number of Freeman Scholars appear to be involved, which gives it a global flavor. It’s going to be an exciting town-gown project.”

The concert is at 4 p.m., Sunday, April 19 in Crowell Concert Hall. Tickets are $25 for the general public, $20 for seniors and students. Wesleyan students are free. E-mail boxoffice@wesleyan.edu for more information.