The Hartt School Community Division Alumni Newsletter September 2017
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The Compass: September 2017

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September 2017

In this Issue

Welcome Letter from Director Noah Blocker-Glynn

Noah Blocker-Glynn

Greetings, Alumni and Friends!

It is hard to believe that we are in the third year of our alumni activities. Among The Compass e-newsletters, our annual Alumni Weekend, and the newly-minted Facebook group, we are (re)discovering the wonderful successes of our past students. For many people, a Hartt Community Division (HCD) education played a formative role in their life—and so many choose to pursue careers outside of the performing arts. We’ve heard from recent high school graduates, career musicians and dancers, retirees, University of Hartford administrators, and many more, that the relationships forged and the training they received while at HCD has served them in a variety of positive ways. I attribute this, solely, to the work of our dedicated faculty, without whom this legacy and our bright future would not be possible.

This year we are celebrating an important milestone for the Connecticut Children’s Chorus (CCC). CCC was formally founded in 1993 after an overwhelming response to a call for young singers to participate in a training choir with Doreen Rao. Since 1993, CCC has grown from one choir to today’s comprehensive program with seven graded choirs, over 220 participants from around greater Hartford, and a professional cadre of dedicated educators leading every rehearsal. The story of the CCC is an important one. It reminds us that the smallest seeds of interest, if fostered and guided, become something that can change lives, provide hope, and cultivate caring and well-rounded citizens. This story is not unfamiliar to The Hartt School, which began in 1920 as a small community music school in the home of a dedicated and visionary teacher. From those early days has sprung one of the region’s leading performing arts schools, both at the college and the community level.

Knowing our history and the stories of those who called our school “home” is important. Please share your story and let us know how Hartt has impacted your life, career, family, and more. For more information, or to tell us your story, email hcdpr@hartford.edu

Please save the date for our 2018 Alumni Weekend, June 1–3, where we will continue to celebrate the CCC, our graduating seniors, distinguished alumni, and more! For more information about alumni weekend, visit our web page.

With sincerest well wishes,

Noah Blocker-Glynn, Director

See photos from the first weekend of the semester on Facebook.

First weekend of fall semester 2017

Our HCD Family

Meredith Neumann, Director of the Connecticut Children's Chorus; Alumna Interview

By Suzanne Lis, Administrative Assistant

Meredith NeumannConnecticut Children's Chorus (CCC) Director Meredith Neumann’s career as a choral conductor and singer epitomizes the phrase “coming full circle.” When she was in fourth grade, Neumann joined the newly formed CCC, which will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2018. She immediately felt at home. “CCC was the first place where I felt like I really fit in. My mom said she was thrilled when she watched me interact with my CCC friends because she could tell we understood each other.” Apart from the social aspect, what she loved about the CCC was being surrounded by musical peers. "The music was challenging and exciting, and it was just so fun to sing at that level," says Neumann.

As the daughter of two music teachers, and a passionate choral singer, it’s no surprise that Neumann gravitated toward music in her studies. Neumann is a graduate of the University of Hartford's The Hartt School, with a master's degree in music education. After 10 years of teaching in public and private middle schools, Neumann began conducting the CCC's Concert Choir in 2011, becoming full-time director in 2016.

Neumann cherishes her childhood connection to the group. “I feel like it is my responsibility to maintain the integrity of the organization and live up to the example set by the first conductors that I worked with," she says. In that spirit, Neumann continues to draw upon her memories of being in the CCC as a child. This past summer, she took sixty CCC members to Disney World in Orlando, Fla., allowing today's members to form friendships and memories like she did. "In the mid to late 90s, the Concert Choir traveled to Tennessee to tour and collaborate with the Tennessee Children’s Chorus. I have many fond memories of this trip," recalls Neumann.

As director, she has resurrected many of the pieces she loved when she was a member of the chorus. "It is actually amazing to me that I have such strong memories of the music I sang, and as soon as I had a conducting gig of my own, I started with what I loved and remembered from CCC.”

Neumann's passion for the CCC has rubbed off on her students. She describes a student who, despite moving away, now commutes over an hour to rehearsal. “After our opening meeting, he told his mom it felt like coming home. That’s so cool! I hope we can continue to be a haven for kids who are passionate about music.”

Twenty-five years after its founding, the CCC is still going strong, with Neumann at the forefront. “Singing is the cool thing to do in these groups,” she explains. Most recently, the CCC choirs took on challenging repertoire, including the "Misa Criolla," of Ariel Ramirez and the Knabenchor part for Gustav Mahler's 8th Symphony, which they performed with Berkshire Choral International.

CCC presents an opportunity for singers to learn vocal technique, perform advanced repertoire, and be part of a community of singers and families. Neumann is grateful for this community, too. “When I get to rehearsal and start to dig into incredible music with these kids, everything makes sense and we understand each other. We speak the same language. Like that student said, it feels like home!”

The CCC rehearses Tuesday evenings on the University of Hartford campus. For more information on the CCC or how to join, visit our website, call 860.768.4451, or email harttcomm@hartford.edu

Come see the CCC in concert! The winter concert will be Sunday, January 28. The 25th anniversary concerts will be during Alumni Weekend, Saturday, June 2 and Sunday, June 3. CCC alumni are encouraged to attend. Check back for details about the Alumni Weekend concerts.

Save the Date: Alumni Weekend 2018

Join us for the third annual Alumni Weekend at the University of Hartford, 200 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford, Conn.

June 1–3, 2018

HCD third annual alumni weekend

We are excited to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Connecticut Children’s Chorus (CCC). Founded in 1993, CCC has grown from one 60-voice choir to seven choirs encompassing over 220 students (grades 1–12) from 40 Connecticut communities. Through a variety of musical experiences guided by dedicated, accomplished directors, choir members have the opportunity to develop comprehensive musicianship skills, engage in music making through a rich repertoire of choral music from different time periods and different cultures, and perform with professional musical organizations such as the Hartford Symphony, the Hartford Chorale, the New Haven Chorale, the Hartt Symphony, other outstanding children’s choirs from around the country, and professional tour artists that come through Connecticut. Participants develop self-esteem and a sense of musical accomplishment, interact with passionate and skilled peers, travel to choral festivals and conferences in the U.S. and abroad, and work with professional composers and guest directors. The culminating celebration of CCC’s 25th year will take place on the Community Division’s Alumni Weekend, June 1–3, 2018. Join us!

SCHEDULE

FRIDAY

6–7 p.m.: Alumni Social Event (off-campus food and fun)
Location: TBA
Come eat appetizers and socialize with HCD faculty, staff, and alumni!

SATURDAY

Connecticut Children's Chorus Junior Division Concert (evening time TBA)
Location: TBA

SUNDAY

Connecticut Children's Chorus Senior Division Concert (afternoon time TBA)
Location: TBA

RSVP online.

HCD Alumni are invited to join our HCD Alumni Facebook group.

Alumni Weekend 2017 Recap

The second annual Alumni Weekend in May 2017 featured the Connecticut Youth Symphony (CYS) and Greater Hartford Youth Wind Ensemble (GHYWE). The weekend kicked of Friday night with a gathering of alumni, faculty, and staff at J Restaurant Bar in Hartford. Alumni joined performers on stage at the CYS concert on Saturday, followed by a wine and cheese reception. On Sunday, 2017 graduating seniors joined HCD faculty, staff, and alumni for a dinner on campus, followed by the GHYWE concert. GHYWE premiered HCD staff and composer Dan Lis’s "Beyond This Time We Share," a double concerto written for graduating seniors and sisters Sarah (trumpet) and Kate Jessen (clarinet). A video of the performance is available on YouTube.

Alumni Weekend 2017

See more photos from the 2017 Alumni Weekend on Facebook. We hope to see you in 2018!

CCC Goes to Disney: A Recap

CCC goes to Disney

See more photos on our Instagram under the hashtag #CCCDisney.

The senior division choirs of the Connecticut Children’s Chorus had the exciting opportunity to go on tour this summer and perform for some brand new audiences. During the last week of June, right after school ended for most students, the choirs flew down to Orlando, Fla., for a week of performing, outreach, and fun at Walt Disney World Resort.

After an early flight out of Bradley International Airport on Sunday morning, students arrived in Orlando with great anticipation and excitement for the week ahead. On the agenda for the first day was the world-famous "Hoop-de-Doo Revue" dinner show located near Disney’s Magic Kingdom. Students and chaperones had a great time and enjoyed the hilarious performances along with the all-you-can-eat barbecue.

On Monday, the group headed to Epcot for a day of fun and professional development. One highlight of this day was when CCC students got to ride the new attraction based on the popular Frozen movie. It was easy to see who the movie fans were as they sang along to every song during the ride! In the evening, students participated in a voice and performance workshop with Disney Performing Arts, where they learned some tips and techniques from professionals in the entertainment and performing industry. During what became one of the major highlights of the tour, students were able to record a version of The Lion King and sing some of their favorite Disney songs, complete with choreography.

The next day brought our students to the Disney Springs shopping and entertainment district. This was one of the major performance days where students got to perform a concert outside on the main stage. The concert was also transmitted live to all areas of the Disney Springs complex, so anyone walking through the area that morning got to hear our fantastic chorus!

Wednesday was a day of fun at Disney’s Magic Kingdom Park, perhaps one of the most iconic. On Thursday, the students had the chance to use their vocal talents in a profound way as they participated in an outreach performance at a local Orlando community music center. Students sang for young children, who were attending a performing arts camp. CCC members had a positive experience interacting with the children, who were excited to hear about our students’ CCC experience.

Friday morning started off very early as the CCC students headed to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park to ride the legendary Expedition Everest roller coaster before the park officially opened to the public. This was a fantastic way to start the last full day, and students got to enjoy a breakfast buffet in the park afterward. On Saturday morning, before heading to Disney’s Hollywood Studios park for one last day of fun, students packed their bags and prepared to head home. The tour was an incredible opportunity and experience for our students and gave them the chance to perform, participate in community building and service, and have a great deal of fun with their fellow choristers. 

2017–18 FUND FOR ACCESS AWARDS

The Fund for Access is a means to provide high-caliber performing arts instruction to Hartford-area youth students who otherwise might not be able to afford it. Over time, the fund has been generously supported by private individuals, foundations, and corporations, but requires annual donations and gifts from the community to meet the ongoing need of qualified students. Please consider making a donation to support our outstanding students.

For the 2017–18 academic year, we have awarded $86,328 in tuition dollars to 107 HCD students. Thank you to everyone who has donated to this important fund. Applications for Fund for Access awards are accepted annually in June and December. If you'd like to apply for spring semester, please visit the Fund for Access page this November, when the new application will be available.

From the Stage: Upcoming Events

Visit our calendar online for a full list of upcoming events.

Boyd Meets Girl: A Fundraiser for HCD's Fund for Access

Friday, October 20, 2017
Reception: 7:30 p.m.
Performance: 8 p.m.
Tickets: $60
Performance Proceeds benefit HCD's Fund for Access.

Boyd Meets Girl

Greet Laura Metcalf and Rupert Boyd at their first homecoming concert in Connecticut. Join us at the home of Tim and Dina Fisher in Hartford, Conn. 

Reception includes dessert and champagne. Please RSVP to Lauren Farley at lfarley@hartford.edu or 860.768.4589 by Monday, October 16, 2018.

About Boyd Meets Girl
Boyd Meets Girl pairs American cellist Laura Metcalf with Australian classical guitarist Rupert Boyd in a duo which performs an engaging, eclectic blend of transcriptions and original works. Their appearance in Hartford is part of a 32-city world tour celebrating the release of their self-titled debut album, which reached No. 3 on the Billboard Traditional Classical Chart. Boyd and Metcalf (who is a proud alumna of the Hartt Community Division and West Hartford native) are honored to donate the profits from their concert to HCD's Fund for Access.

The Garmany Series

2017 Garmany Series

Join The Hartt School for the 2017–18 Richard P. Garmany Chamber Music Series, and become a subscriber. Series subscriptions are available through the University of Hartford Box Office. This year's performers are:

Hartt faculty, staff, and students are eligible for FREE tickets while supplies last. Please note that HCD students must present their HCD ID or proof of registration in person at the box office, located in Lincoln Theater, to obtain tickets. Tickets are not available to HCD students over the phone or online. Box office hours are generally Tuesday–Friday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., but may be altered for holidays. Call the box office at 860.768.4228 for ticketing information.

Visit www.hartford.edu/garmany for more on this year's Garmany Series performers.

The Nutcracker

The NutcrackerThe Magical Holiday Tradition Returns to the University of Hartford 

HCD’s annual tradition of The Nutcracker ballet continues in December at the University of Hartford, 200 Bloomfield Avenue, West Hartford. Tchaikovsky’s glorious score provides the backdrop for this full-length, family-friendly holiday production. The magical story of Clara, her Nutcracker Prince, and the Sugar Plum Fairy is beautifully staged and performed by the HCD dance department.

2017 Nutcracker Performances

  • Friday, December 8, at 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 9, at 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 10, at 2 p.m.
  • Friday, December 15, at 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 16, at 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, December 17, at 2 p.m.

Tickets go on sale October 27 at hartford.edu/tickets

MORE EVENTS . . . 

Practice-a-thon

2017 Practice-a-ThonNovember 27–December 3, 2017

This year's Practice-a-Thon will be Monday, November 27, through Sunday, December 3. During this one-week fundraising drive, students will secure pledges from family, friends, co-workers, etc., supporting their practice activities. In the spirit of friendly competition, HCD will award prizes to the following participants:

  • Most Hours Practiced
  • Most Money Raised
  • Most Pledges
  • Biggest Gift

One youth student and one adult will be eligible to win each award. Prizes include gift cards, tickets, fun giveaways, and more.

Last year's Practice-a-Thon raised over $3000 for the Fund for Access, which provides need-based financial assistance for HCD programs.  

Alumni Accolades

Gioia GedicksHCD alumni Gioia Gedicks, senior division prize winner for the 2017 Cayuga Chamber Orchestra (CCO) Youth Concert Competition and former violin student of Teri Einfeldt, performed at the CCO Grand Opening concert on Saturday, Sept. 23, at Ithaca College. Gedicks graduated in 2017 at is currently attending Boston College.

Share Your Story

If you are an HCD alumnus and are interested in being featured in a future edition of The Compass e-newsletter, email hcdpr@hartford.edu. Thank you for sharing your accomplishments with us!