WILLIAMSTOWN -- The Williams College Department of Music presents the Williams Concert Choir and the Williams Chamber Choir performing Mendelssohn’s "Elijah," in Chapin Hall on the Williams campus Friday, May 3 at 8 p.m. A second perfomance is offered on Sunday, May 5 at 3 p.m. Both performances are free and open to the public.
Director Brad Wells leads the combined choirs and chamber orchestra, performing one of the best known and most important oratorios in the choral repertoire. When Felix Mendelssohn premiered "Elijah "in 1846, it was an immediate and resounding success. Part of the appeal of this enduring work is no doubt its dramatic quality, which can at times border on operatic. The biblical story of Elijah is full of action, which Mendelssohn infuses with Bach-inspired chorales, romantic arias and rapturous choruses.
Baritone Keith Kibler sings the title role. Kibler was twice a Fellow of the Tanglewood Music Center, and earned his doctorate at Yale University and the Eastman School of Music. Kibler is an artist associate in voice at Williams College and lectures frequently at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. He is joined on stage by his colleague Kerry Ryer-Parke, soprano. Ryer-Parke is known as a skilled and intuitive performer of many musical styles, from oratorio, opera, early music and new works to jazz and beyond.
She has been the director of the Bennington Children’s Chorus since 1994, and the director of the Bennington Voice Workshops since 2002.
Mezzo-soprano Katherine Beck is a native of Bennington, Vermont and a recent graduate of the Crane School of Music, having just received her B. M. in performance. Miss Beck has performed throughout the northeast and in Salzburg, Austria, both in operatic roles and as a soloist in art song and oratorio repertoire. Her unique timbre and flexibility have attracted the attention of multiple well-recognized performers, as she has participated in master classes and coachings given by Christine Brewer, Martha Arapis of Greece, Bach specialist and Australian mezzo Sophie Harmsen, and others.
Beck has also coached privately at the Metropolitan Opera with world-renowned mezzo and mentor, Stephanie Blythe. Favorite operatic roles include Dorabella in "Cosí fan tutte," L’Enfant in "L’Enfant et les Sortiléges,’ and Mother in "Amahl and the Night Visitors." Miss Beck is a long-time student of Kerry Ryer-Parke of Bennington, and studied with Prof. Deborah Massell at the Crane School of Music. She is currently studying in New York with soprano and esteemed teacher of voice, Ruth Golden. Beck plans to pursue her career goals in music while attending graduate school in the upcoming years, and will return to Middlebury’s Italian School this summer as a language immersion student and featured soloist in Italian repertoire.
Tenor Rich Miller has made a specialty of operetta and oratorio since studying with the likes of Metropolitan Opera tenor John Alexander, Earl Wrightson and Robert White. He has performed in many of the works of Gilbert and Sullivan and Victor Herbert, with professional and amateur companies, international festivals, and college organizations, and has been characterized as having "a voice of considerable power and sweetness, an oboe rather than a violin." Miller has performed as a featured artist with the Albany Symphony Orchestra, Amato Opera, the Blue Hill Troupe, Ltd., The Lake George Opera Festival, Kent State University, Staten Island Theater, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, Park Playhouse, Octavo Singers, Peak Opera, The Riverside Orchestra and the International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival in Buxton, England, where he has performed regularly since 2002.
Miller is a graduate of Williams College (class of 1986), Albany Law School of Union University, and the New York University School of Law. He is the President of the Metropolitan Opera Guide and an Advisory Director of the Metropolitan Opera and has served on the Boards of the Lake George Opera Festival and Glimmerglass Opera. He is a Trustee of the Bagby Foundation for Musical Arts, Inc., the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the American Associates of the Royal Academy Trust, the American Friends of the Salzburg Festival Society, and the American Friends of the Trasimeno Music Festival. In 1998, Governor Pataki appointed Miller as Chairman of the Nelson A. Rockefeller Empire State Plaza Performing Arts Center Corporation.
For info: music. williams.edu, 413-597-3146.