Under the direction of Professor of Music Robert Cowles, the Colleges Chorale will perform Benjamin Britten's “A Ceremony of Carols” at the annual Madrigal Dinner Concert on Saturday, Dec. 1. The group will be accompanied by guest harpist Barbara Dechario.
The concert will begin at 6 p.m. in the Comstock Dining Room.
Each year this concert serves as a fund-raiser for a different local cause. This year's proceeds will benefit the Rape and Abuse Crisis Services of the Finger Lakes. In previous years, these benefits have raised more than $1,000 for area organizations including the Boys and Girls Clubs of Geneva and the Geneva Head Start program.
The HWS Colleges Chorale is a mixed 40-voice ensemble of students whose auditions are evaluated on vocal technique and musicianship. The Chorale traditionally performs a wide a cappella repertoire — selections from the Middle Ages to the present day. The group annually tours for four days in the spring and has released compact disc recordings.
Dechario is a member of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra and principal harpist with the Utica Symphony. A frequent soloist with area orchestras and a member of Rhapsodie, a trio for flute, viola and harp, she has performed in chamber music concerts throughout the United States, Mexico and Central and South America. Dechario holds degrees in harp performance from the University of Illinois and the University of Iowa.
Cowles chairs the music department and has been a member of the faculty since 1992, directing choral ensembles and teaching music theory and conducting. He is also artistic director of the Syracuse Vocal Ensemble, a semi-professional chamber choir. He is also known as a champion of new music, having conducted the world premiere performances of numerous works, many of them upon commission during his tenure at HWS.
During 2001-02, Cowles was a U.S. Fulbright Scholar in Estonia, where he taught choral music and conducting at the Estonian Academy of Music and guest conducted the Eesti koorijuhtide naiskoor, a leading Estonian women's chorus; and taught conducting master classes at the Sibelius Academy of Music in Helsinki, Finland.
Cowles received his B.A. from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn.; his M.M. from New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Mass., and his D.Mus. from Indiana University School of Music in Bloomington.
Tickets for the Madrigal Dinner Concert are $25 general admission and $15 for HWS students.