PLYMOUTH, N.H. —A collaboration between the Manchester Chorale Society (MCS), founded and directed by PSU Professor of Music Dan Perkins and students, alumni and faculty of the PSU Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance at Plymouth State University resulted in highly successful production of Carmina Burana. The program was presented at both Plymouth State University and in Manchester.
The challenging Carl Orff cantata “spins through raucous drinking songs, stratospheric soprano solos and youthful exclamations about fate and fortune, love and passion, drinking and gambling—all indications that medieval concerns were not that different from our own,” according to Perkins. The cantata became the most famous piece of music composed in Germany at the time. The popularity of the work continued to rise after the WWII, and by the 1960s Carmina Burana was well established as part of the international classic repertoire.
The collaboration enabled current students, alumni and faculty to work with a professional ensemble. Several alumni are regular members of MCS and several students joined them for the rehearsals and performances. Alumna Janet Umstead Poisson participated as soprano soloist and current PSU student Rory Diamond was baritone soloist.
Department Chair Jonathan Santore says a partnership of this nature strengthens ties between the University and the wider community. “It gives our students opportunities to perform repertoire they might not experience here on campus, and lets them see former students working as professionals in the arts. It also lets people in the southern part of the state see that first-class arts training and creation is taking place at Plymouth State,” Santore says.
PSU Director of Dance Amanda Whitworth choreographed dances for the concert, danced by her company, Tributary Dance. The troupe included PSU alumnae Kathleen Pantos, Lindsay Jarvis and Erin McDonough, and current student Annamaria Klucevsek.
Alumna Krystal Morin directs the newly formed 2G MCS youth choir.
PSU collaborative pianist Charlie Blood and the PSU percussion ensemble provided musical accompaniment.
Professor of Music Dan Perkins, director of MCS and creator of the collaboration, says
MCS is enriched and challenged by collaborations like these with PSU students, alumni and faculty. “Not only do they see and experience PSU’s excellence, their own performance level is heightened,” Perkins says. He also says that “bringing our students and faculty together and then integrating them with singers from a wide range of professions serves as an internship in the process and value of arts in the economy.”
The dress rehearsal for the concert was made available to all Manchester area high school students free of charge, and some 100 chose to attend. Those students observed firsthand the value of a music education at Plymouth State University.
Information about the Department of Music, Theatre, and Dance is online at Plymouth.edu/department/mtd.