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Skidmore College

Chorus to present debut performance in Zankel Music Center

April 23, 2010

Chorus to present debut performance in Zankel Music Center

McGhee directs a performance earlier
this year

Ever since joining the music faculty at Skidmore College as choral director nine years ago, Janet McGhee has wanted to bring together her Skidmore choristers with the 90 or so singers in another area ensemble she directs, the Battenkill Chorale.

"And here we are," she says proudly, indicating the large stage in Ladd Concert Hall at the new Zankel Music Center, which will easily accommodate the massed 250-voice chorus, two grand pianos and percussion ensemble for the May 1 sold-out performance of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana.

Tickets for the event's open dress rehearsal are still available (click here) or by phoning 1-888-71-TICKETS. The open rehearsal will begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 28. General admission is $5; $3 for seniors and students; and free for Skidmore students with ID.

McGhee has rehearsed the two choral ensembles separately throughout the semester, and they will sing together for the first time just two days before the open rehearsal.

The Skidmore College Community Chorus has numbered about 120 in recent years, but swelled to 160 voices this semester.

The Saratoga Children's Chorus, a 31-voice ensemble of singers age 8 and older, also has been rehearsed separately for the performance by Susan Hermance Fedak.

"We'll have nearly 300 performers on stage," McGhee noted, confessing that she has never led such a large ensemble, and that she's spent more than a few nights wide awake in bed, worrying about how to get everyone on stage in a timely manner.

Soloists for the performance are soprano Gene Marie Callahan Kern; tenor Andy Truex; and bass-baritone Keith Kibler. Pianists are Erich Borden and Patricia Hadfield.

McGhee anticipates that the sound of the enormous chorus within Ladd Concert Hall's superb acoustics will be "electric."

"I wanted something over the top," she said in explaining her choice of Carmina Burana for her chorus's first performance in Zankel Center. Orff's powerful choral work is alternately dramatic, sensuous, humorous and romantic, and rhythmically charged.

"Zankel and Carmina? she mused. "It's a perfect fit."


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