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Merry music from Boston Camerata

Posted on Nov 29, 2010

Union will again host a holiday concert by the celebrated Boston Camerata on Sunday, Dec. 12 at 3 p.m. in Memorial Chapel. Described by the Times Union as having a “graceful presence (that) seemed just short of religious rapture,” the group is lead by director and mezzo soprano Anne Azéma.

The program, “An American Christmas,” includes a wide range of Christmas-related songs, from familiar carols and New England anthems to rarely presented texts from the American Republic’s early years. During the show, the audience will be invited to sing along and join in the spirit of the holiday season.

Boston Camerata

The Boston Camerata, founded in 1954, was associated for twenty years with the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Camerata then began touring extensively in the U.S. and internationally, specializing in performances of European and American music of the Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque eras. The ensemble has appeared in such prominent venues as Lincoln Center, the Smithsonian Institute, London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, Paris’ Cité de la Musique and Barcelona’s Palau de la Musicá. Camerata has recently participated in early music festivals at Berkeley and San Antonio, as well as appearing multiple times at the renowned Tanglewood festival.

French vocalist, scholar and director Anne Azéma became Camerata's artistic director in 2008, replacing Joel Cohen after his remarkable 40-year tenure. A long time associate of Camerata, Azéma is a globally acclaimed singer, especially noted for her vibrant interpretation of songs and texts of the Middle Ages. She is also the co-founder of the Camerata Mediterranea, the director of the European based ensemble, AZIMAN, and a teacher at several conservatories and universities around the world. Just this past September, Azéma was named a Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Government. 

During the show, Azéma will direct and perform with an exceptionally talented group of artists including Jane Sheldon, soprano; Deborah Rentz-Moore, contralto; Dan Hershey, tenor; Donald Wilkinson, baritone; Joel Frederiksen, bass, guitar; Jesse Lepkoff, flutes, recorder, guitar; Joel Cohen, reader, baritone, guitar; and Benjamin Powell, violin.

The concert is free to members of the Union community. General admission costs $25, though area students may attend for $10. For additional information and a complete list of this season's performances, click here.

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Students in Schenectady spellbound by Harry Potter’s wand.

Posted on Nov 22, 2010

In time for Friday’s release of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1,” sixth-graders from Yates Magnet Elementary School in Schenectady got to see the actual wand used by actor Daniel Radcliffe in the latest blockbuster.

The wand was lent to the College by Alan Horn, a member of Union’s Class of 1964 and the president and chief operating officer of Warner Bros., producers of the Potter series. Horn is featured in the current Union Notables exhibit, a rotating exhibit that features three outstanding alumni and others connected to the College.

Students at Yates also learned about their school’s namesake, Joseph Yates, a founding trustee of the College who is also featured in the current “Notables” exhibit and Theodore Berger '72, the David Packard Professor of Engineering, professor of Biomedical Engineering and Neurobiology and director of the Center for Neural Engineering at the University of Southern California.

To read about the visit in the Daily Gazette, click here.

To view a photo gallery from the Times Union, click here.

To view a clip from Your News Now (Time Warner), click here.


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Harry Potter’s wand casts spell over campus

Posted on Nov 19, 2010

Kerensa Hughes is a huge fan of Harry Potter. So when the sixth-grader saw the wand used by actor Daniel Radcliffe in the latest blockbuster movie, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1,” she burst with excitement.

Harry Potter wand Yates School

“My God, I’m actually seeing it. This is so cool,” Hughes said as she walked past the secure, climate-controlled glass case that usually holds prints from the College’s original copy of John James Audubon’s “Birds of America.”

“I think I might faint. My God, I’m actually seeing it right here at Union College!”

Friday was a special day for Hughes and 49 of her classmates from the Yates Magnet Elementary School in Schenectady. The students took a field trip to the Thelma and Kenneth Lally Reading Room of Schaffer Library to learn a little about Union’s history and their school’s namesake through the current Union Notables, a rotating exhibit that features three outstanding alumni and others connected to the College.

The College has an ongoing relationship with the Yates School. In 2007, students invited College President Stephen C. Ainlay to speak at their sixth-grade graduation. The following year, Ainlay invited Yates students from the school to campus, where they were given a tour and learned about other Union notables, including Chester Arthur (Class of 1848), U.S. president; and William H. Seward (1820), U.S. secretary of state under Lincoln.

“They are so excited to be here” said their teacher, Danielle Rossner. “They’ve been working on writing letters to colleges they might want to attend one day. Union is a great school right in their own backyard, and to see it in person gets them thinking about what they can achieve.”

Harry Potter wand Yates School

Ellen Fladger, head of the College’s Special Collections, gave the students an overview of Union’s history and showed off some pieces from the Collection. She also highlighted the work of Theodore Berger, who graduated summa cum laude from Union in 1972.

Students listened intently as Rachel Seligman, Mandeville Gallery director, shared the story of Joseph Yates, a founding trustee of the College who became the first mayor of Schenectady in 1798, at the age of 30. He also served as a New York state senator. In 1808 he became a judge of the New York State Supreme Court, where he served for 15 years.

Then it was time for the wand. Students wanted to know how it magically showed up at Union. Librarian Annette LeClair, a self-described “Potter-head,” explained that the wand was lent to the College by Alan Horn, a member of Union’s Class of 1964 and the president and chief operating officer of Warner Bros., producers of the Potter series.

“We were extremely delighted to get this wand in the mail one day,” LeClair said as Fladger removed the prop from its case and carefully displayed it to the students. After a brief discussion of Horn’s career sprinkled in with a few Potter tidbits, LeClair ended the presentation by reminding them of the words Horn delivered to the Class of 2010 at commencement.

Harry Potter wand Yates School

“Be a person of character. Integrity and honor are everything. Actions define your character, and your character will define the kind of life you have. Character requires courage.”

Afterward, students said they enjoyed the program and were especially excited to learn more about their school’s namesake. But they couldn’t stop talking about the wand.

“I can’t believe I saw the wand at Union College,” said Christina Dileva. “I was freaked out!”

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Union College program draws older learners

Posted on Nov 16, 2010

The Union College Academy for Lifelong Learning (UCALL) was recently featured in the Daily Gazette.

The program began in 1988 with 15 members. Now, with nearly 400 members, UCALL has become a staple resource at Union for those who are never too old to celebrate the life of the mind.

To read the story, click here.

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