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VAN FEATURES
Broadway actor/singer from Teaneck revisits Bernstein connection
Posted 6/1/2019

David CryerVeteran Broadway actor and singer David Cryer, a resident of Teaneck, had the opportunity to work with the prominent composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein on more than one occasion, developing a special connection with him. When he was a senior at DePauw University in Indiana, Cryer traveled East to look at graduate schools and, he recalls, “the first Broadway play I saw was West Side Story” with music composed by Bernstein. His reaction: “I was in shock and awe, and I believe nothing I’ve seen since has been better.”

Upon graduation from DePauw in 1958, Cryer accepted a Rockefeller Fellowship to study for the ministry at Yale Divinity School. He also applied to Harvard Law School and was enrolled in the fall of 1959. But while performing as Curly in a summer production of Oklahoma at the Polka Dot Playhouse in Bridgeport, CT, he decided to go into the theater instead. He enrolled at Boston University and earned an MFA in directing in 1961. He rekindled his connection with Bernstein in 1963 when he played the role of Tony in West Side Story in a touring production opposite operatic singer and actress Anna Maria Alberghetti. “Oh my stars!” says Cryer, “For me, it doesn’t get any better.” More...


The intersection of environmental awareness, poetry and music
Posted 6/1/2019

Wendell Berry Choral ProjectIn the canon of American literature, there are certain writers who seem to be magnets for composers of choral music. In this regard the names Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman and Robert Frost readily come to mind. The pictorial nature of some of Frost’s poetry attracted several composers to set his words to evocative miniatures, such as Frostiana by Randall Thompson. On the other hand, Walt Whitman, with his grand command of the epic and his individual sense of Americana, inspired composers to set monumental works using texts drawn from his works.

In our day and age we have a writer from Kentucky who has also inspired a substantial number of reputable composers to set his words to music. That writer is Wendell Berry, recipient of the National Humanities Medal bestowed by President Obama in 2011, and best known for his gently lyrical works celebrating nature, as well as provocative manifestos decrying the abuse of the earth. His book The Unsettling of America (1977) is regarded as a classic of American letters, and the essays contained within prompted many at the time to regard him as both esteemed writer and prophet. Both of these estimations have been a draw for composers such as Dave Brubeck, Libby Larsen, Olli Kortekangas, Gwyneth Walker and several others. More...


Archive of old VAN Features

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NEWS
VAN welcomes news of interest to the vocal ensemble community. Send stories to the editor.
  • Read the New York Times obituary of Joseph Flummerfelt, who died last week at the age of 82. (2019-3-6)
  • The GMChorale, a 90-voice choir based in Middletown, CT, has announced the appointment of Melissa Rooklidge as Assistant Conductor and Director of Operations, the first person to fill these newly-created roles. For more details, visit www.gmchorale.org. (2019-2-28)
  • Ember has moved its Tuesday-evening rehearsal location to the Opera America building, 330 7th Avenue (2-1/2 blocks south of Penn Station) effective as of March 5. As Ember draws its membership from New York and New Jersey, the new location, near Penn Station, was selected for its accessibility to singers from both states. For more details, see Ember's audition ad on the Choir Auditions page. (2019-2-26)
  • Interkultur's American International Choral Festival runs February 14-18, 2019 in Princeton, NJ. For details, visit www.interkultur.com/events/2019/princeton/. (2018-12-30)
  • Florilegium Chamber Choir has appointed James Knox Sutterfield as its music director, the fourth in its forty-three year history. (2018-12-20)

Archive of old "News" items


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NEW ON VAN
The latest additions to the site's content and features.
  • May 20, 2019: New VAN QuickLink for Sounds Choral, broadcast on WWFM.
  • April 30, 2019: New Choir Directory listing and Choir Auditions ad for Here to Sing, a non-audition pop/rock community choir in Manhattan.
  • April 25, 2019: New link for Singing A Cappella at Home, a HomeAdvisor (!) tutorial with an interesting collection of a cappella resources.
  • March 27, 2019: New link for The London Singing Institute, offering singing lessons for those in or near the UK capital.
  • February 5, 2019: For those using non-Microsoft browsers, we've changed the layout of the Info Exchange so as to show only the ad titles upon first viewing the page. You then have the choice of expanding all of the ads or just the individual ads you'd like to see. (This feature is implemented using standard features of HTML5 that are not supported in Internet Explorer or Edge.)
  • January 15, 2019: New Choir Directory listing and Choir Auditions ad for the Flushing Schiller Institute Community Chorus.
  • November 12, 2018: New Choir Directory listing and Choir Auditions ad for CantaNYC, a new choir directed by Claude Lévy.
  • October 31, 2018: New link for Music Books Plus, offering music and audio books, videos, CD-ROMs, DVDs, software and sheet music.
  • October 26, 2018: New Choir Directory listing and Choir Auditions ad for The Choir, a new community choir based in lower Manhattan that focuses on pop hits along with contemporary and classic Broadway tunes.
  • October 19, 2018: We've done some long-overdue housekeeping on the VAN Store page. Aside from freshening the look to be consistent with other pages on the site, we've restarted our Amazon Associates program. Once again, you can support VAN when you make purchases from Amazon by starting your shopping at the VAN Store. We've even got some new music and book recommendations.

Archive of old "New on VAN" items


SERVICES
See also the Info Exchange.
  • Need some exquisite beaded jewelry to complement your concert attire? Or perhaps a distinctive gift for that special singer in your life? Or maybe you'd like to host a jewelry show to benefit your favorite non-profit organization? Try Carnelian Knoll, where you'll find necklaces, bracelets and earrings of vintage beads and silver handcrafted by Julie Siegmund.
  • Looking for rehearsal space or performance venues? Try NYC Music Spaces, part of Fractured Atlas's SpaceFinder NYC database of available rehearsal and performance spaces for instrumental and vocal musicians. You'll find places to rent, from studios to large venues, for classical, jazz, rock--whatever you need to rehearse or perform in NYC.
  • Looking for an outstanding vocal ensemble coach? Mark Johnson, possessor of an amazing ear and terrific interpretive insights in a variety of styles, is available to coach your group. Contact Mark via e-mail.
  • Liz Fleischer's Sight-Singing Program is offered each season at the Kaufman Center (129 West 67th Street). Classes include ear-training, rhythm and pitch reading, music theory, basic notation and terminology, with emphasis on learning to hold a part with confidence. For more info, visit www.kaufman-center.org/lucyadults_mus_sight.htm, e-mail fleischerliz@aol.com or adultdivision@kaufman-center.org or call (212) 501-3362. The sight-singing program is just one of the classes offered by the Kaufman Center's Lucy Moses School.

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Vocal Area Network gratefully acknowledges the support of the following Sustaining Member ensembles:

GOLD
The Dessoff Choirs, Grace Church Choral Society, The West Village Chorale

SILVER
Big Apple Chorus, The Brooklyn Community Chorus, The Brooklyn Contemporary Chorus, The Canby Singers, The Cecilia Chorus of New York, Cerddorion, Chelsea Song, Dalton Chorale, Florilegium Chamber Choir, Greenwich Village Chamber Singers, Riverside Choral Society, St. George's Choral Society, Schola Cantorum on Hudson, The Stonewall Chorale

Americas Vocal Ensemble, AmorArtis, The Babylon Chorale, C4: The World's First Choral Composer/Conductor Collective, Cantabile Chamber Chorale, Choral Chameleon, Chorus 802, Christ Church Choir, Douglas Frank Chorale, Down Town Glee Club, Greater Nassau Chorus, Lehman College and Community Chorus, New Amsterdam Singers, The New Choral Society, New York Choral Society, Nikolai Kachanov Singers, North River Sing, The Peace of Heart Choir, Renaissance Street Singers, Renaissance Vocal Ensemble, Riverdale Choral Society, Russian Chamber Chorus of New York, Sacrum Convivium, St. James' Compostela Choir, St. Paul's Englewood, Sing We Enchanted, Uncommon Chord, Voices of New York, Women Singing

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