What's New

May 15, 2024

Two scoops of ice cream are better than one; it’s true of Windham Philharmonic concerts, too!


On Monday, May 20, Hugh Keelan conducts this growing orchestra in Mozart’s Symphony No.
No. 36 in C (“Linz”)—composed in four days during a stopover in that Austrian town—and
Maurice Ravel’s Rapsodie espagnole. Latchis Theatre, Brattleboro, 7 p.m.


A short five days later, the orchestra heads to Wilmington, VT, to participate in the Red Door
Concert Series at St. Mary’s in the Mountains. The program begins at 7 p.m. and includes
Mozart’s Symphony No. No. 36 in C (“Linz”) and Haydn’s “Surprise” Symphony. Flutist Robin
Matathias makes a guest appearance performing Enesco’s Cantabile et Presto accompanied by
Hugh Keelan on piano.

 

April 24, 2024

Feria, meaning “festival”, is a series of celebratory days in Spain, including the famous “running of the bulls” in Pamplona.  Several ferias are held throughout Spain, and this May the Windham Philharmonic joins in the celebrations with a program featuring Maurice Ravel’s Rapsodie espagnole.

Ravel, though born in France, was influenced by his mother’s Basque heritage, as evidenced by his popular Bolero.  Rapsodie espagnole is his first work composed specifically for orchestra; Ravel composed a habanera (dance) in 1895, then later wrote three companion pieces, publishing the four together as the Rapsodie

Join the orchestra on May 20 as it celebrates the festival season.  The one hour program starts at 7pm at the Latchis Theatre in downtown Brattleboro.  Admission is by donation.  Salud!

 

March 26, 2024

Rehearsals are underway for the April 1st concert at 7pm at Latchis Theatre in Brattleboro.  Admission is by donation.  Hope to see you there!

 

March 13, 2024

The Windham Philharmonic is pleased to have welcomed three new violinists in recent months. Bobby Crocker, Maddie Grant and Anna Carson, thank you for your interest in playing with us!  Interested musicians are invited to inquire about joining the orchestra by sending a message through our "Volunteer" page.

New orchestra member Anna Carson with bassist Alan McLaine

 

March 3, 2024:

What are the duties of a Music Director?

Some thoughts from Hugh Keelan, Music Director of the Windham Philharmonic, previously the Windham Orchestra, since 2010.

In recent times there have been movies 'about' conductors; I am thinking of Tár and The Conductor.  These movies contribute in certain ways to mythologies, even clichés, about charismatic figures: the intoxicating swirl of ego and genius – perhaps tortured genius - and, above all, power and control. Perhaps the movies also give glimpses of the human fragility that might sit beneath the glamor and turbulence on the surface. By accident, perhaps they show us something about the duties and expectations of a Music Director/Conductor.

In simplest terms, a Music Director's duties are to rehearse and perform with an ensemble of musicians, to be the holder of standards and mission and to be the public face of the organization. So, at core, to be an outward-facing embodiment of the values and brand of the organization, realized primarily – but not only – in the public performance of music. The term 'Music Director' can usually be taken to mean 'Conductor', and in more prominent situations 'Principal Conductor'. Always, for better or worse, the strengths and weaknesses of this person will be seen and experienced as melded with, and reflected in, the orchestra or institution.

Working during the pandemic towards the rebirth of a group that is now called the Windham Philharmonic, it was important to set a level of commitment to some agreed upon values that all of us – a highly invested core group of instrumentalists and myself – could operate from. The values we agreed upon are love & acceptance, beauty, service, and listeningThese values are always declared on our posters and materials.  Our duties, and certainly those of the Music Director's, arise from these values. Here are some examples:

Repertoire choices for all concerts must contain elements of beauty. This duty compels me to replace the question “is this particular music beautiful (or not beautiful)?” with a different one: “can the players and I together play a piece of music with unbroken self-esteem and sufficient competence that we and others experience beauty?” So, primarily, the repertoire choices come from the body of players, not the composer or composition, or indeed from a set of personal preferences. My duty requires me to ask “what music shall we play in which all of these particular musicians will certainly sound excellent?”

Service gives me a duty to seek out and encourage alliances and partnerships for mutual growth and benefit by asking questions and keeping our ears to the ground, thus employing the fundamental musical value: listening.  We become interested in how we might answer community needs. How do we be integral, integrated, rather than ivory-tower isolated? The answer is going to be listening and service.

Love & acceptance form the duty to embrace the widest range of people who want to play with us, or attend concerts.  It is also to provide the language and actions that allow ease of access to concert attendance, and in rehearsal, to offer the least effortful lines of growth for any player at any level.

Back to Tár, and The Conductor, and you can see I have attempted to counteract a little bit of the myth-making.

It has been a long time since the tyranny and rudeness of Toscanini has been acceptable; sexism in hiring practices has been reduced because hiring power has been in great part transferred from Music Directors to committees of players, the “star power” of the conductor occurs in a more finely modulated context (thank you, DEI -diversity, equity and inclusion!).  In the end, I don't think the movies show us much about the duties of the music director as a set of specifics...but, then again, they do show us the strong expectation - the major duty - of providing inspiration.

Put it all together, and the full take-away is that as many people as possible leave any encounter with the Windham Philharmonic inspired, moved or delighted beyond their initial expectations. 

I am very happy that my duty as Music Director is to provide exactly that.

 

February 20, 2024:

Look who came to the Winter Carnival concert last night!  Frosty loved that the orchestra welcomed him with his favorite song, "Frosty the Snowman".  Even with single degree weather outside, Latchis Theatre was warm and inviting and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the wonderful music offered by the Philharmonic.

Frosty enjoying a moment with Music Director Hugh Keelan before the concert

 

January 21, 2024:  

What better way to spend an evening in February celebrating the beauty of winter in Vermont than by attending the upcoming Brattleboro Winter Carnival concert at the Latchis Theater?  Our upcoming concert features a wintery mix of pieces from Tchaikovsky’s “Seasons”, the “Winter Daydreams” movement from his Symphony No. 1, Debussy’s “Snow is Dancing” and “The Skater’s Waltz” by Waldteufel.

In addition, the orchestra will perform the "Winter" movement from Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons”.  Antonio Vivaldi, who spent a significant portion of his working life (1703 - 1733) mentoring talented young female musicians, would be pleased that Michelle Liechti will be the featured violinist for this concerto.  Michelle has been playing with the orchestra since 1989 and has been concertmaster on and off for the past several years.  She earned her B.A. at Mills College. A student of David Abel and Kato Havas, she is also a member of Arcadia Players and the Juno Orchestra. She teaches violin and coaches chamber music to students of all ages at the Brattleboro Music Center and especially enjoys teaching adult beginners.  Michelle specializes in the “New Approach to Violin Playing”, developed by Kato Havas to alleviate pain and undesirable tension through preventative exercises that bring attention into the body, helping the player discover and apply healthy motion into their technique.  She serves as the North American representative for this approach.  Michelle's interest in physiology and the mechanics of playing led her into the world of healing and in addition to "New Approach", she is also a certified Zero Balancing practitioner.  Developed by Fritz Fredrick Smith, Zero Balancing is a gentle form of bodywork that focuses on the skeletal system to release held tension and promote positive healing.  Michelle's personal musical journey is deeply informed by the melding of these two systems. In addition to teaching at BMC, Michelle teaches at Northfield Mount Hermon School.  Click <here> to listen to Michelle at the 2016 Brattleboro School of Music faculty showcase.

    

The Brattleboro Winter Carnival concert is Monday, February 19 at 7pm at the Latchis Theater in Brattleboro, VT.  Admission is by donation.  We hope to see you there!

 

December 18, 2023:  It was standing room only at the Holiday Treats concert at the Winston Prouty Center this evening.  Opening with Beethoven's 5th Symphony, the audience enjoyed a special follow up treat with harpist Rachel Clemente and bagpiper Dan Houghton playing the harp cadenza of Tchaikovsky's Waltz of the Flowers from The Nutcracker.  Leroy Anderson's Sleigh Ride finished up the evening, with everyone contributing to the sound of sleigh bells with the jiggling of keychains.  We thank all of our supporters for braving the elements (rain, wind and flooding!) to spend the evening with us.

                           

                                          

 

December 1, 2023:  Everyone will recognize the first four notes of Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, often described as “fate knocking at the door”.  The notes form the rhythmic and melodic anchor of the entire composition.  The appeal of this motif is reflected in its multiple uses beyond Beethoven’s 5th.  The Allied forces of WWII used it to signal a victory, as its rhythm – short, short, short, long – is morse code for “V”.  The 1970s disco scene included Walter Murphy’s “A Fifth of Beethoven”, and the motif has often been used in films and television commercials

Completed in 1808, Beethoven was facing increasing deafness and Napoleon’s armies were marching across Europe.  A sense of foreboding and triumph are felt throughout the symphony, the first symphony that Beethoven wrote in a minor key.  In the first movement, a stormy “Allegro con brio”, the core motif migrates from one section of the orchestra to another.  The more lyrical second movement, “Andante con moto”, includes two alternating themes with variations as they repeat.  The Scherzo Allegro third movement breaks the norm of symphonies written in the time period (a minuet and trio);  rather than using a stately minuet, Beethoven instead chose to use a light and playful scherzo and trio form.  The movement is best known for its transition to the fourth movement, considered one of the greatest musical transitions of all time.  Beethoven again breaks the mold by writing his fourth movement in a major key, as it was expected that a piece beginning in a minor key would end in the same key.  The final 29 bars of C major chords are needed “to ground the extreme tension of [this] immense work” according to pianist and composer Charles Rosen.  Beethoven’s 5th Symphony is one of the earliest symphonies to use the trombone, piccolo and the contrabassoon. 

Beethoven's 5th Symphony can be heard at the Holiday Treats concert on December 18, 2023 at the Winston Prouty Center in Brattleboro, VT.  The concert begins at 7pm.  Admission is by donation.  We hope that this performance enhances your holidays and that you enjoy a safe and healthy holiday season.

 

November 5, 2023:  Are you a musician looking to get involved with the southern Vermont music scene?  The Windham Philharmonic is always looking for new members, particularly string players. 

The not-for-profit orchestra depends on local volunteer musicians to both perform for the enjoyment of the community and to help raise awareness and funds for other local non-profits.  Its most recent concert raised funds for Groundworks Collaborative, which works with people and systems to create solutions to end hunger and homelessness for all people in the region.   In August, orchestra members participated in Rock Against Racism VT, which benefitted the Guy Hawkins Cancer Relief Fund.  Members also donate their time and baking skills to help raise funds for the orchestra itself, selling goodies at concerts.  Concerts are open to all in the community, with admission by donation of the attendees’ choice.

Musicians of all skill levels are welcome to join the orchestra.  Rehearsals are typically held on Monday evening in Brattleboro, and most concerts are also held in the city.  To see a list of events held in 2023, please visit the past events page of our online calendar.

If interested in learning more about playing with the orchestra, please fill out the form on the volunteer page and we’ll be in touch.  Thank you for your interest!

 

October 11, 2023:  Come celebrate Halloween with the Windham Philharmonic Orchestra on Sunday, October 29th at the Latchis Theatre in downtown Brattleboro, VT. 

The concert will feature Halloween traditions and other seasonal celebrations, including the enchanting melodies of Jerod Tate's "Coyote", the haunting music of Modest Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain," and the lively dance of  Moncayo's "Huapango".  Also included are two pieces featuring divas Jenna Rae and Elizabeth Wohl singing Rossini's "Duetto buffo di due gatti" and Saint-Saens' "Danse Macabre".  Rounding out the program is Grieg's "In the Hall of the Mountain King".

       

Halloween costumes are encouraged, and those in costume will receive a treat.  Baked goods will be available for sale, so bring your trick or treat bags!

The concert kicks off at the witching hour of 7pm.  Admission is by donation, a portion of which will benefit the orchestra’s concert partner, Groundworks Collaborative.  This local organization works with people and systems focused on creating solutions to end hunger and homelessness for all people in our region.  You can learn more about this organization’s important work at https://groundworksvt.org.

 

September 20, 2023:  The Windham Philharmonic Orchestra will present a work by Native American composer Jerod Impichchaachaaha' Tate on October 9th at the Latchis Theatre in Brattleboro, VT.

Jerod Tate (born July 25, 1968) is a Chickasaw classical composer and pianist.  His compositions are inspired by North American Indian history, culture and ethos.  His commissioned works have been performed by the National Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony and Chorus, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Oklahoma City Philharmonic, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, Colorado Ballet, Canterbury Voices, Dale Warland Singers, Santa Fe Desert Chorale and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival.  In addition to his work based upon his Chickasaw culture, Tate has worked with the music and language of multiple tribes, including: Choctaw, Navajo, Cherokee, Ojibway, Creek, Pechanga, Comanche, Lakota, Hopi, Tlingit, Lenape, Tongva, Shawnee, Caddo, Ute, Aleut, Shoshone, Cree, Paiute and Salish/Kootenai.  Tate earned his Bachelor of Music in Piano Performance from Northwestern University, where he studied with Dr. Donald Isaak, and his Master of Music in Piano Performance and Composition from The Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with Elizabeth Pastor and Dr. Donald Erb.

This concert will feature Tate’s “Spirit Chief Names the Animal People”, the Okanogan Indian story of how Coyote retained his name.  Coyote was not well liked by the other animals given the foolish things he did and the rude tricks he played on others.  He therefore wanted to be the first to receive a new name, whether “Grizzly Bear” (ruler of the four-legged people), “Eagle” (ruler of the birds) or “Salmon” (chief of the fish).  But through an assortment of misdeeds, Coyote found himself last in line for a new name, and was thus forever to be called “Coyote”.  The full story of Coyote and the naming of the Animal People can be found here

The Windham Philharmonic Orchestra strives to include American composers and artists in its repertoire, and it is with great enthusiasm that it presents this work by Tate.  The concert begins at 7:00p; admission is by donation.

  

 

 

September 3, 2023:  Members of the Philharmonic provided much needed coffee, baked goods, soup, sandwiches and other sustenance to travelers passing through the Guilford Welcome Center on Rt 91N (M5) during the Labor Day weekend.  The public was invited to enjoy both the music and the goodies for a donation of its choosing, with the proceeds to benefit the orchestra.  One happy traveler said that "Not only do the orchestra members play beautiful music, but they serve an awesome array of goodies!"  A big thanks to all the visitors who so generously contributed towards the organization, and we hope you all enjoyed a great weekend in beautiful Vermont.

 

                                                    

    

 

 

August 2023:  Members of the Windham Philharmonic joined in at the Rock Against Racism VT music festival at Adams Farm in Wilmington.  Donning their tuxedo tees, Susanna Stein and Amy Cann (violin), Louise LaChance (viola), Pedro Pereira and Jon Joyce (cello) and Alan McLaine (bass) entertained the festival goers with arrangements of “classical adjacent” rock music by Led Zeppelin and Queen, among others.   Proceeds from the festival benefitted the Guy Hawkins Cancer Relief Fund, which gives direct support to families in Southern Vermont affected by cancer.

 

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