Thursday, May 9, 2013

Dr. François Clemmons, Tenor, and Pianists Kate Gridley & Anne Ryan, Perform in Middlebury College Choral Program 8 PM May 10, 2013

Thank you in advance for publishing this information. I’m officially retiring this June. I’ll be an emeritus professor/artist-in-residence!!!!!
Many Thanks
Dr. François S. Clemmons

Middlebury College Choral Program
Friday, May 10, 2013

Dr. François S. Clemmons, Tenor
Kate Gridley, Pianist
Anne Ryan, Pianist

Hush Somebody Callin’ My Name Arr. Dr. Clemmons

We Are Climbing Jacob’s Ladder Traditional

Prepare Me One Body Arr. Roland Hayes

Mary Had A Baby Arr. William Dawson

Sustah Mary Had A But One Chile Arr. Roland Hayes

Lil Boy How Ol’ Are You Arr. Roland Hayes

Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Chile Arr. H. T. Burleigh

By An’ By Arr. H. T. Burleigh

Couldn’t Hear Nobody Pray Arr. H. T. Burleigh

Nobody Knows The Trouble I See Arr. Clemmons/Ryan

Ah Been In The Storm Arr. Clemmons/Ryan

Everytime I Feel The Spirit Arr. Clemmons/Ryan/Gridley

About the Performers…….
François S. Clemmons
Tonight’s program will include a selection of American Negro spirituals, popular show tunes, and other musical treats, interspersed with personal anecdotes and audience participation. Clemmons, who has performed and taught at Middlebury since 1997, plans to retire at the end of the school year. Clemmons has added color and soul to the Middlebury College scene for nearly 25 years. As Alexander Twilight Artist-in-Residence and director of the Martin Luther King Spiritual Choir, he is known by many names: the divo, the maestro, the reverend, doctor-madam-honey-man, sportin’ life, and even black magic. He has played the role of professor, choirmaster, resident vocal soloist, advisor, confidant, and community cheerleader. Yet his purpose is singular — to share hope through song. Born in Birmingham, Ala., in 1945, François Scarborough Clemmons first learned of the joy of song from his mother, who sang traditional spirituals as she worked around the house. His musical gift did not go unnoticed in school — he received music lessons and was encouraged to sing solos at school performances. Later Clemmons attended Oberlin College, and earned his master’s degree at Carnegie Mellon University. Shortly after graduation, he won a regional audition for the Metropolitan Opera Studio, and earned a place in the company. In seven seasons he played over 70 opera roles, traveling around the world. He has performed his favorite role, Sportin’ Life in the George Gershwin opera “Porgy and Bess,” over 200 times. His 1973 recording of that role with the Cleveland Symphony earned him a Grammy Award. Hungry for the opportunity to showcase the spirituals he first learned as a child in his mother’s kitchen, Clemmons formed his own musical group, the Harlem Spiritual Ensemble. Comprising six voices, piano, and percussion, the Ensemble performed faithful interpretations of this important historical and cultural art form. Clemmons visited Middlebury College with the Harlem Spiritual Ensemble several times in the 1980s and 1990s, and was awarded an honorary doctor of arts degree in 1996. He made Middlebury his home in 1997, joining the college as director of the college choir. Rather than recruiting only the best singers, Clemmons gathered a diverse cross-section of the campus community: American and international students, faculty from the arts and sciences alike, and staff from departments as various as the arts center, dining service, and financial aid. He wanted the music to unite and invigorate the singers in a glorious shared experience. Clemmons unwittingly made himself an impromptu ambassador of campus diversity. Later, his role evolved: he was appointed Twilight Artist-in-Residence (named after Alexander Twilight, the first African-American to graduate from an American college), and founded the Martin Luther King Spiritual Choir, leading a campus-wide celebration of the civil rights leader’s legacy for 15 years running. Clemmons has taught the January-term course “The History of the American Negro Spiritual and Its Influence on Western Civilization,” lectured in history classes, served as an advisor to students, and performed at campus and town events including everything from an annual concert of Irish music for St. Patrick’s Day to singing the national anthem at college athletic events. Despite his remarkable achievements as a musician, he is perhaps best known to American audiences as the friendly, singing policeman “Officer Clemmons” on the Emmy- and Peabody-winning children’s television show “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.” For two decades Clemmons shared an on-screen friendship with Fred Rogers that modeled mutual respect and love for a generation of eager-eyed toddlers.

Kate Gridley maintains a painting studio in Middlebury, Vermont, where she has lived and painted full time since 1991. Her portraits, landscape and still life paintings hang in public and private collections here and abroad. She recently completed the official state portrait of Governor Jim Douglas of Vermont, which hangs in the Vermont Statehouse.
Awarded a Hutchinson Memorial Fellowship on graduation from Williams College in 1978, Kate pursued her studies in New York City before moving to Florence, Italy for a year and a half of full-time study of renaissance painting techniques. She began exhibiting regularly in New York City and New England starting in 1983.
Gridley is currently at work on an installation called “Twelve: Oil Portraits of Emerging Adults,” a set of non-commissioned large-scale figurative pieces of young adults ages 17-24, which will be paired with oral portraits created by Kate and NPR foreign correspondent Anne Garrels. She has received support for “Twelve” from the Vermont Community Foundation and the Vermont Studio Center. The installation will open at venues in Vermont and beyond beginning in 2013.
Gridley’s paintings are in the collections of Quantum Chemical Corporation, The Vermont Law School, Phillips Exeter Academy, Middlebury College Museum of Art, Green Mountain College, Middlebury College, the Keewaydin Corporation, and private collections in Europe and across the United States. Her illustrations have appeared in a number of books, including The Cook and the Gardener, Art and the Gardener, Mission Rejected: US Soldiers Who Say No to Iraq, and national magazines.
In her youth, Gridley trained as a classical pianist at the Mannes School of Music in New York. She performs locally on occasion, as well as playing for the Champlain Valley Unitarian Universalist Society every other Sunday. She is married, with two sons and a garden that she writes about in a regular column in The Addison Independent.

[Henry "Harry" Thacker Burleigh (1866-1949) is profiled at, which features a Works list by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma,

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