Composer, Conductor Alice Parker Next Speaker in Threshold Series Oct. 19

by Public Relations | Sep 20, 2017

Sept. 20, 2017

Alice Parker

Composer, conductor and teacher Alice Parker will be the next speaker in the Saint Vincent College Threshold Series at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 19, at the Fred M. Rogers Center on the campus of Saint Vincent College. The title of her talk is “A Life in Music: Singing and the Human Experience, A Conversation and Community Sing.” The event is being jointly presented with the Ann Kinzer Clark, M.D. Memorial Lecture Series in cooperation with Latrobe Area Hospital Charitable Foundation.

Admission is free for the lecture but reservations are required. Persons requesting tickets may either call the box office at 724-805-2177 or register online at http://eventregistration.stvincent.edu/TLSFA17. Tickets will be held at the box office for pickup upon arrival for the presentation; no tickets are mailed in advance.

Dr. Andrew G. Clark, Harvard University faculty member, will moderate the presentation.

Of all the arts, singing is the most companionable. So says Alice Parker, a composer, conductor and teacher who’s been shaping the universe of chorale music for most of her 90 years. She began as a young woman, studying conducting with Robert Shaw at Juilliard and collaborated with him on arrangements of folk songs, spirituals and hymns that are still performed around the world today. Parker is also a bracing thinker and moving writer, a wise and joyful woman who speaks about why singing is able to touch and join human beings in ways few other arts can. “I think each one of us is a walking encyclopedia of all the sounds we’ve ever heard in our lives,” Parker commented. “And it takes color, or a representational object, or an occurrence, or remembering the first love, all those things. What they call forth, the kind of communication they call forth is music. Trying to get them in words is loads of fun. It’s a marvelous game trying to pin these things down. And the lovely thing with the music is that we don’t have to be limited by the way that words are limited by our rational minds.”

In 1985, she founded Melodious Accord Inc., a non-profit group which presents choral concerts and sponsors workshops, symposia and her many professional appearances. The Melodious Fellows programs have provided unique training for composers, conductors and song leaders. Her techniques have encouraged a generation of music teachers and choral conductors to think about music and the act of conducting in new ways. No less an authority than Robert Shaw himself has said of Parker that "…she possesses a rare and creative musical intelligence."

She has made 13 acclaimed recordings, most with the Musicians of Melodious Accord, a 16-voice professional chorus. Recent releases include  O Sing the Glories; The Family Reunion; Angels and Challengers; and remastered for CD, Songs for Eve; Singers Glen; Saints Bound for Heaven; And Glory Shone and Where Heart and Heaven Meet, the companion to the popular Melodious Accord Hymnal. The organization has received generous support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Copland Foundation and the New York State Council for the Arts.

Now a resident of western Massachusetts, Parker has published books on melodic styles, choral improvisation and 'Good Singing in Church'. Her detailed analysis, The Anatomy of Melody, was released in 2006. In 2010, as a part of the Melodious Accord 25th Anniversary celebration, The Alice Parker Melodious Accord Hymnal was introduced. Five videos have appeared, showing her work with hymns and folk songs.  She has been recognized by Chorus America, the American Guild of Organists, the American Choral Directors Association, The Hymn Society and Choral Arts New England for her lifetime contributions to choral music. She is the recipient of six honorary doctorates and the Smith College Medal.

The Ann Kinzer Clark Memorial Lecture Series, founded in 2001, honors the memory of a woman who came and lived among us with a unique combination of simplicity and elegance that touched our lives. Dr. Clark was unafraid to pursue the mysteries of life – from her love of God, to her constant pursuit of knowledge, to her excellence in the practice of medicine. She compassionately birthed babies, ideas and hope for the benefit of those she served and with whom she worked. The Series is made possible through the generous support of the R.K. Mellon Family Foundation and numerous contributions from the patients, friends and family of Dr. Ann Kinzer Clark.

Previous speakers include Joan Borysenko, Darcie Sims, Stanley Hauerwas, Gilbert Meilaender, Benjamin Zander, Herbert Benson, Raymond DeVries and Tamara M. Simon.

Latrobe Area Hospital Charitable Foundation was established in 1995 by Latrobe Area Hospital’s Board of Directors as a supporting organization. The Foundation distributes funds for Community Health and Wellness Education, Patient Care Enhancements, Quality and Patient Safety Initiatives, Professional Development, Student Scholarships and the Latrobe Hospital Family Medicine Residency Program.

Saint Vincent College established the Threshold Lecture Series in 1981 when the Kennametal Foundation of Latrobe made a substantial grant to the College for the creation of an ongoing series of lectures and cultural events.           

Previous Threshold speakers have included Carl Sagan; a Time magazine panel consisting of Hugh Sidey, Strobe Talbott and John Stacks; Amitai Etzioni; Alvin Toffler; Dixy Lee Ray; Donald Johanson; Isaac Asimov; Claire Bloom; Lawrence Stone; Rembert G. Weakland, O.S.B.; Alex Haley; Robert Claiborne; Arthur B. Laffer; Richard E. Morley and William A. Taylor; May Sarton; Mark Littman; Jehan Sadat; Tom Wolfe; Michael Kammen; Martin E. Marty; Lt. General James A. Abrahamson; Seymour M. Hersh; Stephen F. Cohen; Joyce Carol Oates; Estelle R. Ramey; Jeane J. Kirkpatrick; Stanley L. Jaki, O.S.B.; Ralph Nader; Daniel Callahan; Robert Jarvik; John E. Chubb; John Noble Wilford; Ronald A. Morse; Thomas Sowell; Michael Medved; Jane Bryant Quinn; Harold S. Kushner; James Q. Wilson; Robert F. Kennedy Jr.; James Burke; Bernard S. Siegal; Peter B. Dervan; Milton Katselas; Bill Moyers; Peter Stearns; Dean Ornish; Mary Pipher; Robert Munsch; Herbert S. Benson; Michael Turner; Susan Stamberg; Mike Jensen; Archduke Rudolph of Austria; Roger Cossack; Stanley Hauerwas; Regina Carter; Heinz-Joachim Fischer; Jonathan Kozol; Gilbert Meilaender; John Haught; Richard Louv; Steven Strogatz; Robert Putnam; Jerome Oetgen; Benjamin Zander; Colleen Carroll Campbell; Neil deGrasse Tyson; Arthur T. Downey; Jere Longman; Douglas A. Anderson; John Spike; Br. Guy Consolmagno, S.J.; Paul Tough; Alison Gopnik; Tamara Simon; Thomas Tull; Roman Verostko; David Willey; Steven Johnson; Catholic-Jewish Dialogue with Rabbi Abraham Skorka and Cardinal Donald Wuerl; and Michael MacCambridge.

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Photo: Alice Parker

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