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Monday, February 24, 2014

Middlebury College Gets a New Steinway Concert Grand

Posted By on Mon, Feb 24, 2014 at 11:25 AM

  • Courtesy of Middlebury College
  • Steinway concert grand

The coming years at Middlebury College promises even greater euphony thanks to a brand-new Steinway. The grand is renowned as the piano of choice in concert halls around the world, and Midd recently became home to one of them. It is a gift of the Meredith, Ray and Nathaniel ('12.5) Rothrock family in honor of President Ron Liebowitz and his wife, Jessica Liebowitz.

Here are some fun facts: The piano has 12,000 parts. It is nine feet long and weighs 990 pounds. Steinway grands are painstakingly manufactured in a process that takes nearly a year to complete.

“It’s thrilling to see this instrument rolled out on our stage for the first time,” says Allison Coyne Carroll, associate director of the performing arts series at Middlebury, in a press release. “This piano is a wonderful addition to our concert hall, and its quality will be a joy for performers and audiences alike.”

Steinway artists and concert soloists Richard Goode and Paul Lewis, Middlebury faculty member Diana Fanning ’71, and Middlebury alumna Gwendolyn Toth ’77, traveled to the Steinway factory in Queens, N.Y., in late October 2013. They tested five pianos chosen to suit the acoustics of the Mahaney Center concert hall. Luckily for the world-renowned pianists who appear there, as well as listeners, a concert grand was the top choice.

The college celebrates its new, glossy-black Steinway on Saturday, March 1, with a lecture and concert. Guest Joseph Polisi, president of the Juilliard School, kicks off the event with a talk titled "The Arts, Education and the Human Experience" at 4:30 p.m. in the Mahaney Center concert hall. Polisi was awarded an honorary Doctor of Arts degree from Middlebury in 2010.

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Vermont Boy Choir to Appear on 'Good Morning America'

Posted By on Mon, Feb 24, 2014 at 8:30 AM

Mark Railey, director, Vermont Boy Choir - COURTESY OF MARK RAILEY
  • Courtesy of Mark Railey
  • Mark Railey, director, Vermont Boy Choir
On Wednesday, February 26, the Vermont Boy Choir will appear on the ABC network morning show "Good Morning America." The 20-member choir will be featured as part of a larger segment in which boy choirs from around the country perform a unique joint rendition of "Let It Go," from the 2013 animated movie Frozen. Taping for that segment took place on Friday, February 21, at Essex High School.

According to VBC director Mark Railey, each participating choir will record a performance of the song to prerecorded music. ABC will then splice those performances together into one rendition featuring each choir at various sections of the song — Railey says the VBC will be featured at the chorus. The mashed-up version of the song will be presented on air accompanied by a live orchestra.

"Can you imagine how difficult that is?" says Railey by phone of the unusual recording process. "I hope everyone stays on pitch and on tempo."

Railey founded the Vermont Boy Choir in 2012. He was previously the founder and director of the Palmetto State Boy Choir in South Carolina. He currently works as the director of music at the First Congregational Church in Essex Junction. The VBC is composed of 20 boys ranging in age from 7 to 21.

For more info on the Vermont Boy Choir, visit

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