Greater Middletown Chorale Gains Grants Toward Timely Commissioned Work
Middletown- Over $16,000 in supporting grants has been received by the Greater Middletown Chorale in the past ten months.
Beginning early in 2012, the Greater Middletown Chorale, comprised of auditioned amateur and professional singers from forty-four towns, received four competitive grants from local, state and regional sources.
The awards are $2,500 from the New England Foundation for the Arts, $7,000 from the Connecticut Humanities Council, $5,000 from the Tenth Mountain Division and $2,000 from Choral Arts New England.
The grant from the New England Foundation for the Arts was awarded for the commission of the dramatic oratorio, Letter From Italy, 1944, which will have its world premiere on April 28th, 2013, at the Middletown High School Center for the Performing Arts. The Connecticut Humanities Council Award was given for the support of a series of community presentations and a documentary about the commissioned work. The Tenth Mountain Division grant was designated for the operating costs for the Letter From Italy, 1944, whereas the Choral Arts New England grant was earmarked specifically for the music of the work.
All of these awards are prestigious indeed, but the GMC will be proudly represented by four of its administrators to specifically receive the Alfred Nash Patterson prize that encourages choral excellence at the upcoming Choral Arts New England award ceremony in Boston on October 14th.
Letter From Italy, 1944, is a dramatic oratorio that tells a soldier’s story through music. The music was composed by Wesleyan faculty member and Grammy-nominated composer, Sarah Meneely-Kyder, and the lyrics were crafted by her sister and published poet, Nancy Meneely. It is an epic work representing years of loving labor, and it is based upon the story of their father, Dr. John Meneely, who served in the 10th Mountain Division in Southern Italy in World War II.
Letter From Italy, 1944, is timely. While he is now Medical Director for Child Psychiatry at Middlesex Hospital, Dr. Richard Pugliese spent many years treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at a veteran’s hospital. Of Letter From Italy, 1944, he states, “We’ve been aware of trauma for a long time in the medical field. In communities it is important to reach out to address the plight of those who have served. Here we are fortunate to live in a community that is strong in the arts. We know that it is through the arts that we help heal, educate and sensitize a community, reaching well beyond a professional therapist’s office.”
The awarded grants convey that the Greater Middletown Chorale corps of 75 auditioned singers provides a high level of quality in its music, programs, community service and administrative ability. The GMC has had the honor of serving the Greater Middletown area through celebratory events for thirty-five years. Artistic Director, Joseph D’Eugenio, will lead the group in a characteristically exuberant “Holiday From The Heart” concert on December 1st and 2nd at the Zion Lutheran Church in Portland.
The GMC presented a concert featuring the music of Bernstein, Britten and Brahms at the Bethany Covenant Church in Cromwell in the spring. Out-of-town audience member, Alice Edson, remarked upon the passionate focus of the singers, “These people, to a one, really sing from the heart.”
The Greater Middletown Chorale is a private, non-profit organization providing great music for the people of Connecticut. It is funded with the support of the State of Connecticut, Department of Economic and Community Development’s Connecticut Office of the Arts, Middletown Commission on the Arts, Aetna Foundation, Chevron Humankind Grants and Pfizer Foundation.
Submitted by Deirdre Roberts