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Concert Program Cover

Second Concert of the 74th Season

This Day

Sunday, December 9th, 2012
Cordier Auditorium
Scott Humphries, Conductor

  Sleigh Ride Leroy Anderson  
  Concert Suite from The Polar Express Alan Silvestri  
  Christmas Singalong John Finnegan  
  God Bless Us Everyone Alan Silvrestri
Glen Ballard
  Shelley Ploss, soprano  
  Hodie ("This Day") Ralph Vaughan Williams  

I. Prologue
II. Narration
III. Song
IV. Narration
V. Choral
VI. Narration
VII. Song
VIII. Narration
IX. Pastoral
X. Narration
XI. Lullaby
XII. Hymn
XIII. Narration
XIV. The March of the Three Kings
XV. Choral
XVI. Epilogue

  Daniel Belcher, baritone; Ben Kambs, tenor;
Joni Camille Killian, soprano

Program Notes by James R. C. Adams

  Sleigh Ride Leroy Anderson

Leroy AndersonLeroy Anderson was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in 1908, and died in Woodbury, Connecticut, in 1975. He studied composition at Harvard with George Enesco and Walter Piston. Anderson became very active in musical circles. He was chairman of the board of review of the American Society of Composers, and was a board member of the New Haven and Hartford symphony orchestras. He was a linguist, fluent in nine languages, but specializing in German and Scandinavian ones. He served with U.S. Intelligence in Iceland and in the United States during the Second World War, and was recalled to duty during the Korean War in 1951. He was stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. While working there in Military Intelligence, he found time to write several of his most popular works, such as Blue Tango.

He is best known for his attractive melodies and jaunty rhythms in such pieces as The Syncopated Clock and Sleigh Ride. He was also notable for his use of unconventional instruments, as in The Typewriter and The Sandpaper Ballet (yes, a typewriter and sandpaper were both used as instruments).

Anderson had been discovered by Arthur Fiedler, director of the Boston Pops Orchestra, and was championed by Fiedler, who invited him to conduct his own works with that orchestra. When he conducted The Typewriter, he did so wearing a green visor, with his sleeves rolled up, and pretending to be typing in time with the music.

Sleigh Ride is perhaps the most often performed Anderson work. The Manchester Symphony Orchestra plays it very often during the holidays.

  Concert Suite from The Polar Express Alan Silvestri
(b. 1950)

Alan SilvestriAlan Silvestri is a prolific composer of film scores, and surely all of you have heard his music. Among his film scores are Forest Gump, Back to the Future I, II, III, Cast Away, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Death Becomes Her, Contact, What Lies Beneath, Romancing the Stone, Cat's Eye, Fandango, The Abyss, Father of the Bride, The Bodyguard, Blown Away, Richie Rich, Judge Dredd, Contact, Stuart Little, The Mummy Returns, and, of course, The Polar Express. I could have gone on, but I'm low on ink.

The music for those movies is mostly orchestral, but he has also worked with electronic music in such films as The Clan of the Cave Bear, Delta Force, No Mercy, and The Flight of the Navigator.

Alan Silvestri was born in New York City and grew up in nearby Teaneck, New Jersey. Unlike so many successful composers, he did not come from a very musical family. He says that his family was "not interested in music." He began to show an interest in drums when he was three (but who didn't?). Some people credit this early interest in drumming to his notable sense of rhythm in his later years. By the time he was in high school, he had taught himself to play a number of instruments, but mostly the guitar.

He ascribes his career in films to an accident. He and his jazz band thought they had a contract, which turned out to be a fraud. To extract themselves, they went to Hollywood, where they made contact with a friend who wrote lyrics for some well-known performers. The friend got a phone call from a low-budget producer who mistakenly thought the friend was a composer instead of a lyricist. The friend put the caller on hold, and asked Silvestri if he wanted to do a film score. The deal was made. Silvestri was twenty years old.

Having no experience in composition, Silvestri went to a bookstore and bought a book called, How to Score a Film. He spent the night reading it, and met the director the next day. He was given two weeks to score the film. The film was called The Doberman Gang, and received fairly good reviews. Silvestri's career was launched.

  God Bless Us Everyone from Disney's A Christmas Carol Alan Silvestri
(b. 1950)
Glen Ballard
(b. 1953)

Glen BallardIt seems pointless to write another biography of Alan Silvestri, who is credited with the composition of this piece from A Christmas Carol. Glen Ballard is credited with the lyrics, so I'll write about him.

Ballard was born in Natchez, Mississippi, and is a song-writer and producer of some repute. He is the founder of Java Records. He won the 2006 Grammy Award for "Best Song Written for a Motion Picture" for the song Believe from The Polar Express. He was also involved with the recording and writing of Michael Jackson's Thriller and Bad, as well as for co-writing and producing Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill, which won a Grammy for "Best Rock Album" in 1995.

In addition to Michael Jackson and Alanis Morrisette, he has written songs for The Pointer Sisters, Paula Abdul, Sheena Easton, Van Halen, Aerosmith, Shakira, Christina Aguilera, Katy Perry, Stevie Nicks, and many others.

In A Christmas Carol, Silvestri does include snatches of familiar Christmas carols, but the piece God Bless Us Everyone is original, with lyrics by Glen Ballard.

  Hodie (This Day) Ralph Vaughan Williams

Ralph Vaughan WilliamsRalph Vaughan Williams was a major symphonist, writing nine of them. (Yes, it is pronounced "Rafe." That's the way Ralph is pronounced in England.) He was an extremely prolific composer in general, and wrote in many different genres. His early studies were with Parry and Stanford, and he eventually became far more successful and famous than either of them. At Cambridge, one of his cousins recalled overhearing a conversation about "that foolish young man, Ralph Vaughan Williams, who would go on working at music when he was so hopelessly bad at it."

Vaughan Williams was not a proud man, speaking of his "amateurish technique," early on, but resolving to persevere. He later studied with Max Bruch in Berlin, and Maurice Ravel in Paris. He went on to become the most influential English composer of his generation, and is credited with rejuvenating English music. Like several of his contemporaries on the Continent, such as Bartok and Kodaly in Hungary, he was a collector of folk music, and was known for the use of Medieval modes, often the mixolydian, a scale system common to folk music. Vaughan Williams became a close friend of the English composer, Gustav Holst, who also was enamored with folk music. Throughout their lives, they submitted their works to each other for criticism.

Vaughan Wiliams wrote a great deal of "religious" music, and was closely involved with church choirs and organ performances. I write "religious" in quotation marks because he was not religious in the conventional sense. He had been an atheist when he was at Cambridge, and then evolved into an agnostic, but he was deeply spiritual, if you can unravel the paradox. He was a very humane person, and had a reverence for the past, and the importance of each person who had contributed to that past in every way. One critic said that when listening to his music, one never knew whether he was hearing something very old -- or very new.

Hodie (This Day) is a telling of the Nativity. The words are from various sources, including the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, and works of John Milton, Miles Coverdale, Thomas Hardy, George Herbert, William Drummond, and the poet, Ursula Wood, who eventually married Vaughan Williams after the death of his wife. His "Englishness" is exemplefied by his use of so many English writers.


Manchester Symphony Orchestra Personnel

  Violin I
Elizabeth Smith, Concertmaster
Lois Clond
Sarah Hao
Bill Klickman
Rachel Nowak +^
Colleen Phillips

Violin II
Joyce Dubach *
Tyler Krempasky +
Linda Kummernuss
Alyssa Loos +^
Vickey Smith
Amy Ann Tylenda +^

Margaret Sklenar *
Benjamin Crim +^
Renée Neher +
Carrie Shank +^
Loughlin Wylie +

Robert Lynn *
Michael Rueff +^
Timothy Spahr
Tony Spahr

Darrel Fiene *
Jess Gaze
Katie Huddleston +^

Kathy Urbani *
Kathy Davis

George Donner *
Nyssa Tierney

Lila D. Hammer *
Mark W. Huntington
Sarah Leininger +^
Bass Clarinet
Sarah Leininger +^

Erich Zummack *
Elena Bohlander +^

John Morse *
Christen Adler **
Haleigh Mann +^
Michael Paynter +^
Kelly Weeks +^

Steven Hammer *
Nicholas Kenny
Dennis Ulrey

Jon Hartman *
Chris Hartman +^
Larry Dockter

Caleb Dehning

Dave Robbins *

Dave Robbins *
Timothy Johnson +
Mackenzi Lowry +
Katie Lowther +
Jeremy Nevil

Alan Chambers

Tim Reed

* Denotes principal
+ Denotes MU student
^ Denotes Keister Scholarship recipient
** Denotes assistant principal

Manchester A Cappella Choir Personnel

  Soprano I
Caitlin Kessler
Courtney Mensing *
Erika Reffitt
Cassie Whitaker

Soprano II
Emily Goins
Courtney Haines
Emilie Hunt
Angelina Jung
Haleigh Mann
Sheila Prather
Darcy Robins *

Tenor I
Adam Ousley *
Donnie Watkins

Tenor II
Levi Smith
Jeremy Walters *
Kahler Willits

* denotes section leader
Alto I
Megan Garner
Kelli Iler *
Britney March
Claire Miller
Kandace Terry
Miriam Zielinski

Alto II
Madeline Clark
Ashley Dobrzykowski
Alyssa McElwain
Chris Minter *
RaeAnne Schoeffler

Bass I
Eric Cupp
Gabe Hoagland
Caleb Noffsinger
Jeremiah Sanders *
Chris Teeters

Bass II
Tarek Al-Zoughbi
Alex Drew *
Dylan Hiner
Josh Plank
Michael Rueff

Debra Lynn, conductor
Alex Drew, assistant conductor
Alan Chambers, rehearsal pianist

Manchester Cantabile Personnel

  Soprano I
Courtney Haines
Ashlea Koehl *
Caitlin Yoder

Soprano II
Katelyn Carothers
Kortney Jennings
Tia Merritt
Erika Reffitt *
Amy Ann Tylenda
Abby Birnell
Ashley Dobrzykowski *
Hannah Glenn
Janelle Jacowski
Angelina Jung
Louise Magiera

* denotes section leader

Debra Lynn, conductor
Joanne Case, rehearsal pianist

Children's Choir of Huntington County

  Hailey Alford
Julia Baker
Kirsten Bickel
Alexandria Christman
Marianne Christman
Mia Cotton
Emily Cross
Jacob Daugherty
Reuben Davis
Lindsay Felton
Rachel Geders
Melanie Gradeless
Emma Gordon
Gabi Haneline
Lillian Holzinger
Abi Kline
Tori Kline
Grace Koons
Hannah Lehman
Levi Lehman
Brianna Mason
Cat Meeken
Eileen Mettler
Alena Miller
Gregory Miller
Rachel Moore
Lisa Nalliah
Emily Paulette
Lizzie Preston
Haley Reynolds
Audrey Rice
Gracie Rice
Leann Ringenberg
Hannah Ringo
Brydonne Rodriguez
Kirsten Roller
Eve Rowley
Andrea Sands
Hannah Schindler
Brianna Shane
Rebecca Short
Cassie Sloan
Morgan Stoltz
Eva Thomson
Hannah Thomson
Josef Thomson
Grace Tolson
David Troyer
Faith Vandermeir
Kirsten Walker
Pryce Whisenhunt
Bailey Zook

Sharon Basinger Lehman, choral director
Sue Nieman, accompanist

Northfield High School Treble Choir

  Jenna Bartoo
Allie Chaplin
Maddy Dale
Sierra Hobson
Pfeiffer Xaviera
Kaitlyn Prater
Liddia Crace
Javilyn Goshert
Ali King
Kelsy Reahard
Kim Renfrow
Taylor Renfrow
Lizzy Rohn

Mark Nevil

Northfield High School A Cappella Choir

  Lexus Biehl
Derrick Bone
Matt Carey
Hannah Cole
Paige Cole
Megan Corbran
Sarah Driscoll
Ali Dundas
Jared Fawley
Courtney Frank
Allison Haupert
Paige Holley
Chase Hunt
Abby Keaffaber
Hannah Kinnett
Clint Martin
Allison Middaugh
Jeremy Nevil
Alex Peterson
Polina Prater
Katy Rickner
Brody Ripplinger
Johnny Ritchie
Jessica Rose
Kasey Rose
Jessie Sears
Baylee Shoemaker
Morgan Sickafus
Collen Tackett
Kalanu Waston Dunn
Tim Webb
Mason Zolman

Mark Nevil
Daniel BelcherDaniel Belcher, baritone, comes to us on the heels of a busy 2012, most recently playing Taddeo in Rossini's L'Italiana in Algeri at Houston Grand Opera. Other highlights of the year include performing the role of Robert Kennedy in the world premiere of Robin De Raaff's Waiting for Miss Monroe at De Nederlandse Opera at the Holland Festival, Chou En-Lai in Adams' Nixon in China at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and Dandini in Rossini's La Cenerentola with the Madison Opera.

Mr. Belcher received a Grammy Award (for best opera recording) in 2011 for his role as Jaufré Rudel in Kaija Saariaho's opera L'Amour de Loin, conducted by Kent Nagano (CD on Harmonia Mundi label). Other recent performances include appearances at Carnegie Hall, Houston Grand Opera, Grand Théâtre de Genève, San Francisco Opera, New National Theater of Japan, Opera Ireland, St. Gallen Festspiele (Switzerland), New York City Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Opera Atelier, Garsington Festival, Arizona Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, and Opéra Montpelier, among others.

Sought after frequently for his interpretations of Rossini roles, Mr. Belcher is also in demand to develop roles in new (or newly discovered) compositions. Most notable among his premiered roles are: Robert Keneedy in Robin De Raaff's Waiting for Miss Monroe (mentioned above), Securo in Luigi Cherubini's Koukourigi at Stadttheater Klagenfurt in Austria (recently released on DVD), John Brooke in Mark Adamo's Little Women at Houston Grand Opera (available on Naxos DVD), Baklashov in Tod Machover's Resurrection at Houston Grand Opera (CD on Albany label), Andy Warhol in Michael Daugherty's Jackie O at Houston Grand Opera (CD on London Decca label), and Prior Walter in Peter Eötvös' Angels in America at Théâtre de Châtalet, for which he received Le Cercle International des Amis et Mécenes du Chatalet Award.

In the coming months, Mr. Belcher is scheduled to perform the role of Mercurio in Romeo et Juliette at Opera Colorado, Figaro in Le Nozze di Figaro at Florentine Opera in Milwaukee, and Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia at Central City Opera in Colorado. He is also scheduled to premiere a new chamber piece by Kaija Saariaho at Houston Grand Opera in February.
Joni Camille KillianJoni Camille Killian, lyric soprano, is a native of Columbia City, Indiana. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Choral Music Education from Anderson University and a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Arizona State University. While attending Arizona State University, Ms. Killian received such honors as the Fine Arts Graduate Teaching Assistant Award, Concert of Soloists winner, winner of the San Francisco Merola Auditions in Arizona, and First Place in the Arizona NATS competition for Graduate Women, and Most Promising Singer Award. Her opera roles include Baby Doe in The Ballad of Baby Doe, Celidora in Loco del Cairo, and she has performed such musical theatre roles as Maria in West Side Story and Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof. She was the soprano soloist in the Arizona premiere of James DeMars' An American Requiem with the Phoenix Symphony and has also performed Mahler's Symphony No. 4 with this prestigious orchestra. She made her Canadian debut with the Vancouver Chamber Choir and Orchestra as soprano soloist in Mozart's Requiem. She has performed the soprano solos in such works as the Brahms Requiem, Handel's Messiah, the Fauré Requiem, Respighi's Laud to the Nativity, Vivaldi's Gloria, and Jean Belmont's Electa. She taught on the faculties of Arizona State University, Arizona College of the Bible, and Grand Canyon University, and was the full-time Worship Pastor at Huntington First Church of the Nazarene before coming to Huntington University. She also directed the Concert Choir of the Children's Choirs of Huntington County. She has been a featured soloist with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic and continues to sing professionally. She and her family live in Huntington.
Shelley PlossShelley Ploss is an American operatic soprano, recently graduated from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. Ploss has performed the roles of Mimi in La Boheme, Princess Nicoletta in The Love for Three Oranges (Prokofiev) and the title role in Puccini's Suor Angelica.

While at IU, she studied with Metropolitan Opera baritone Timothy Noble and Distinguished Professor of Voice Scharmal Schrock. Ploss also participated in Opera Workshop under the direction of world-class soprano Carol Vaness and master classes with Nic Muni, James Marvel, and Virginia Zeani.

Ms. Ploss is a native of Peru, Indiana, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Butler University along with her Masters in Music and Performance Diploma from IU. She recently became the newest Adjunct Voice Faculty member at Manchester University.