FOR RELEASE Week Ending December 14

Solaris Vocal Ensemble

Solaris Vocal Ensemble Holiday Concerts

Solaris Vocal Ensemble presents holiday concerts in three venues – Waterbury, Charlotte, and Burlington on December 14, 15, and 16, 2018. The choral ensemble, led by Artistic Director Dr. Dawn O. Willis, will be joined by guest instrumentalist, Grammy-nominated, Vermont based flutist Karen Kevra. Solaris also hosts, in its Waterbury concert, Harwood Union High School honors choir I Cantori.

The holiday-themed program, “Christmas with Solaris” includes festive selections for mixed voices with flute, organ, and four-hand piano.  Kevra, in addition to solo turns, joins the ensemble for Gustav Holst’s Christmas Day, and to premiere a stunning new arrangement of the beloved carol, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, by Vermont composer James Stewart. James is familiar to many as a regular host on Vermont Public Radio Classical. The performance also includes portions of Antonin Dvorak’s Mass in D Major, plus seasonal works by Rachmaninoff, by Robert DeCormier, David Dusing, Dale Warland and more.

The concerts will be held on Friday, December 14th at the Waterbury Congregational Church at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, December 15th at Charlotte United Church of Christ at 7:30pm; and on Sunday, December 16th at the College Street Congregational Church in Burlington at 3:00 p.m. Tickets are $20 general admission, $15 for seniors and students, infants under one year free. Tickets can be purchased at the Flynn Theatre Box Office ( or at the door. Visit the Solaris website for more information and to purchase tickets:

Solaris Vocal Ensemble is a Vermont based chamber choir of mixed voices dedicated to creating exciting and meaningful performances of outstanding choral repertoire.


Karen Kevra Joins Solaris for December Concert

WE thought you might like to know more about the guest artist for our 
December concerts, flutist Karen Kevra:
Karen Kevra has won attention as one of the country's outstanding flutists
through her distinctive warm and extroverted performances and has been
hailed as "having a musical focus and depth seen in few flutists anywhere."
Kevra's recording of Works for Flute and Piano by Louis Moyse along with
pianist Paul Orgel earned a 2003 Grammy nomination and accolades from
numerous American reviewers.  Romantic Music for Flute and Piano, her latest
CD with pianist Jeffrey Chappell, was praised by flutist Sir James Galway,
and the Boston Musical Intelligencer for "sublimely satisfying
flute-playing." Kevra has performed throughout the United States, Canada,
and Europe including performances at Carnegie Hall, the French Embassy in
Washington, DC, and on French National Television, and has shared the stage
with members of the Emerson and Talich String Quartets, the Paris Piano
Trio, Borromeo String Quartet, Boston Chamber Music Society, and Trey
Anastasio of Phish. Kevra is the founder and Artistic Director of Capital
City Concerts of Montpelier, Vermont.

Get Ready for Giving Tuesday!

Get ready for GIVING TUESDAY – the perfect antidote to Black Friday and Cyber Monday! On Tuesday after Thanksgiving, November 27, 2018, when you make a gift to Solaris via Facebook, it has the possibility of being matched dollar for dollar. Many, many non-profit groups are competing for these matching funds, so making your gift early in the day is suggested to receive the maximum benefit. The magic only happens that Tuesday! Because we are so excited by this opportunity, we are holding the printing of our 2018-19 program booklet in order to be able to include your name among the donors. We sincerely wish you a very happy Thanksgiving weekend, and hope you will also want to offer thanks for continuing choral music performances by Solaris, by visiting our Facebook page on Giving Tuesday!

To All Our Audience Members –

To everyone who rode the Wheel of Fortune with us Saturday night April 7 for our performance of Carmina Burana, THANK you for your attendance and support! Special thanks the the Saint Michael’s College Department of Fine Arts for sponsoring Solaris’ performance! O, Fortuna!

Final Prep for Carmina

We’re in final preparations to bring CARMINA BURANA to you! Saturday’s exciting Solaris event is the last performance of our Fifth Anniversary Season!

This setting of Carl Orff’s abidingly popular work – voiced by dual pianos, a full percussion section, chamber choir, and soloists – brings his Carmina Burana to life in a more intimate experience than is usually seen and heard, led by Artistic Director Dr. Dawn O. Willis. Sponsored by Saint Michael’s College Fine Arts Department.


All About “Carmina Burana”

The genesis of the texts that Carl Orff chose to set to music is so very interesting. Paraphrased from Wikipedia: The Carmina Burana, translating from Latin to “Songs from Beuern”; (“Beuern” being short for Benediktbeuern, a town in the area of Bavaria, Germany, which has an 8th century monastery) is a manuscript of 254 poems and dramatic texts mostly from the 11th or 12th century, although some are from the 13th century. The pieces are mostly bawdy, irreverent, and satirical. They were written principally in medieval Latin, a few in Middle High German, and some with traces of Old French.

They were written by students and clergy when the Latin idiom was the lingua franca throughout Italy and western Europe for travelling scholars, universities, and theologians. Most of the poems and songs appear to be the work of Goliards, clergy (mostly students) who satirized the Catholic Church. The collection was found in 1803 in Benediktbeuern, Bavaria. It is considered to be the most important collection of Goliard and vagabond songs, along with the Carmina Cantabrigiensia.

At some point in the Late Middle Ages, the handwritten pages were bound into a small folder called the Codex Buranus. However, in the process of binding, the text was placed partially out of order, and some pages were most likely lost as well. The manuscript contains eight miniatures: the rota fortunae (which actually is an illustration from songs CB 14–18, but was placed by the book binder as the cover), an imaginative forest, a pair of lovers, scenes from the story of Dido & Aeneaus, a scene of drinking beer, and three scenes of playing dice, tables, and chess.

Older research assumed that the manuscript was written in Benediktbeuern where it was found. Today, however, Carmina Burana scholars have several different ideas about the manuscript’s place of origin. It is agreed that the manuscript must be from the region of central Europe where the Bavarian dialect of German is spoken due to the Middle High German phrases in the text—a region that includes parts of southern Germany, western Austria, and northern Italy. Several theories based on extant evidence exist as to the exact origins geographically, but it is less clear how the texts ended up in Beuern.

The manuscript contains songs of morals & mockery, love songs, drinking & gaming songs, songs about the Crusades, several spiritual plays, reworkings of writings from antiquity, critiques of corruption in the Catholic Church, numerous satiric descriptions of a raucous medieval paradise, and many other themes. The manuscript was discovered in the monastery at Benediktbeuren in 1803 by librarian Johann Christoph von Aretin. He transferred it to the Bavarian State Library in Munich where it currently resides.

About one-quarter of the poems in the Carmina Burana are accompanied in the manuscript by music using an archaic system of musical notation.

Of the 254 texts, Carl Orff set 24 of them to music in a scenic cantata. In 1934, Orff encountered the 1847 edition by Johann Andreas Schmeller. Michel Hofman was a young law student and an enthusiast of Latin and Greek, who assisted Orff in the selection and organization of 24 of these poems into a libretto. divided into five section: Fortune, Empress of the World; In Spring; In the Meadow; In the Tavern; Court of Love.  The selection covers a wide range of topics, as familiar in the 13th century as they are in the 21st century: the fickleness of fortune, the ephemeral nature of life, the joy of the return of Spring, and the pleasures and perils of drinking, gluttony, gambling, and lust.

Carmina Burana “Libretto”

If you are curious about the texts used in the Carmina Burana score, here is a translation: