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Vassar Modfest preview

Vassar’s annual Modfest Festival has just begun. Running beyond 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. At Skinner Hall at 7 p.m. 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, celebrating the 150th year of the book’s publication. This event is free and open to the public; it promises to present 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, February 6, will be Cabaret Night in the Rose Parlor (second floor) of the Main Building, at 8 p.m. Jennie Litt will direct student singers with samplings from the Great American Songbook, with songs from Gershwin, Kern, Porter, Berlin, Rodgers, 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; Mahagonny Ensembles will perform new works by composer Timothy Takach; and recent alumni will conduct their own compositions.   Monday afternoon February 9, at 3:30, the Drama Department will perform  a version of The Lion in Winter at the Vogelstein Center, with performers Darrell James and Shona Tucker. Email for reservations. On Friday, February 13, programs of film and dance will be presented: at 4:30 p.m., original short films by Vassar students will be screened at the Vogelstein Center; at 8 p.m., the recent French film L’Amour (2012) will be shown; and at 8 p.m. in Kenyon Hall, the Vassar Repertory Dance Theater will perform recent selected works. For Valentine’s Day, February 14, there will be a semistaged performance of Sarah Ruhl’s play Melancholy Play, at 3 p.m. in the Rose Parlor of the Main Building. That evening, at 8 p.m. at the Skinner Hall of Music, a jazz concert of Valentine-themed work will be performed by the Brian Mann Trio. On Sunday, February 15, at 3 p.m. at Skinner Hall, pianist James Fitzwilliam and trombonist Paul Bellino will perform works by Galliard, Larsson, Bernstein, and Mahler. On the following Thursday, the 19th, the Decoda Ensemble will offer a short program of chamber music at 6 p.m. at the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center galleries as part of the Late Night at the Lehman Loeb program. Decoda Ensemble, an affiliate ensemble of Carnegie Hall, will complete its three-day residency at Vassar with a full concert in Skinner Hall at 8 p.m. on February 21, featuring works by Mozart, Brahms, Britten, and Hersant as well as the world premiere of Distractions, a sextet written for Decoda by Vassar professor Richard Wilson. On February 26 through February 28, students and actors from the Globe Theater, the London stage, and the Royal Shakespeare Company will present a full performance of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. 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 even more spectacular events than past calendars. Posted: 2/4/2015