Message From The Director

Dear Chorus alums,

Greetings from the Hill!  

I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed my first year working with the Cornell Chorus.  They’re great people, as you already know — smart, interesting, funny, and always kind to each other — and it’s a pleasure to spend time in their company, whether in rehearsal, on stage, or on the road.  Every day I am inspired by their pride in the organization, and their professionalism in running it (thank you, officers!).  In rehearsal, their alert intelligence continually spurs me to listen for possibilities, and set them new challenges.  If you haven’t heard the Chorus recently, I hope you’ll get a chance soon — this year’s 56 singers, including fourteen wonderful new members, make an amazingly vibrant, warm, and expressive sound!

As I write this, we are gearing up for our Twilight concert on Parent’s Weekend, celebrating (as befits a university marking its 150th anniversary) the theme of Beginnings:   music about birth, childhood, mornings, new ventures, springtime, first love, portents, and so on.  We are especially excited to be working on Songs from Ort, this year’s No Whining, No Flowers commission by Rome Prize winner Lisa Bielawa — a challenging but compelling setting of poetry originally by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and transformed by many subsequent poets — which will receive its world premiere on November 1st in the presence of the composer.

I think everyone would agree that the highlight of the year thus far was our September 30th performance for the University Trustees, at a luncheon held just minutes after Cornell’s new president, Elizabeth Garrett, was announced.  What an honor that, out of Cornell’s 21,593 students, the members of the Cornell Chorus were chosen as the very first to meet Dr. Garrett and welcome her to campus, with a touching performance of The Hill!  We all look forward to seeing where Dr. Garrett takes the university, and hope that her inauguration as the first woman president of Cornell will bring more attention to women’s groups on campus, including the Cornell Chorus and its endowment drive. 

In closing, I just want to say how great it’s been to meet so many thoughtful, loyal, and dedicated Chorus alums over the past year, both on tour and during various events here on campus.  Each Wednesday evening as we gather to rehearse in Sage Chapel, I find myself imagining that behind the rows of current singers there are many more rows, filled with the generations of women who built this choir and lifted it to its current status, sometimes against significant odds.  You are with us in spirit every time, and the current membership, including me, are so grateful for it.