Vassar’s annual Modfest Festival has just begun. Running beond the whole month of February with a bewildering variety of activities in all the arts, it gathers greater momentum toward the second half of the month. This Thursday night ChoralFest with the Cappella Festiva Treble Choir and Vassar College’s Women Chorus under conductor Christine Howlett will offer an innovative program of traditional and new songs on the theme of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland to celebrate the 150th year of the book’s publication at Skinner Hall at 7pm. This event is free and open to the public; it promises to be filled with many amusing new songs that will delight people of all ages. In co-ordination with this concert, the Vassar Library will open an exhibit entitled The Age of Alice: Fairy Tales, Fantasy, and Nonsense in Victorian England. The exhibit will run from February 12 through June of this year.
Friday Feb. 6th will be Cabaret Night in the Rose Parlor (second floor) of the Main Building at 8pm. Jennie Litt will direct student singers with samplings from The Great American Songbook with songs from Gershwin, Kern, Porter Berlin, Rogers, Sondheim, and others. David Alpher will accompany singers on piano. Saturday evening features the big Modfest Concert with the Vassar College Orchestra in a program of works by Peter Hope and Osbaldo Lacerda; Drew Minter will direct the Vassar Madrigals in works by Irving Fine and William Schuman; Mahonngy Ensembles will perform new works by composer Timothy Takach and recent alumni will conduct their own compositions.
Monday afternoon at 3:30, February 9, the Drama Department will perform a version of The Lion in Winter at the Vogelstein Center with performers Darrell James and Shona Tucker. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for reservations. Friday, February 13, will present a program of film and dance. At 4:30 pm original short films by Vassar students will be screened at the Vogelstein Center; at 8pm the recent French film L’Amour (2012) will be shown. At 8pm in Kenyon Hall the Vassar Repertory Dance Theater will perform recent selected works.
For Valentine’s Day, February 14, there will be a semi-staged performance of Sarah Ruhl’s play Melancholy Baby at 3 pm in the Rose Parlor of the Main Building. At 8 pm at the Skinner Hall of Music a jazz concert of Valentine-themed work by the Brian Mann Trio. On Sunday, February 15 at 3 pm at Skinner Hall, pianist James Fitzwilliam and trombonist Paul Bellino will perform works by Galliard, Larsson, and Bernstein, and Mahler. On the following Thursday, the 19th, the Decoda Ensemble will offer a short program of chamber music in the Francis Lehman Loeb galleries. Decoda Ensemble, which is an Affiliate Ensemble of Carnegie Hall, will offer a full concert in Skinner Hall at 8pm that will feature works by Mozart, Brahms, Britten, Hersant, and the world premiere of Distractions, a sextet written for Decoda by Vassar Professor Richard Wilson.
On the 27th and 28th, a full performance of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth will be performed with students and actors from the Globe Theater, the London stage, and the Royal Shakespeare Company. For ticket information visit the Vogelstein Center’s website.
Most performances remain free but a few are ticketed. If in doubt, check online for further information. There are many more events than mentioned here. Modfest has been an impressive event for the past two decades, yet this year’s Modfest promises more spectacular events than past calendars.