James Downs, associate professor of history and American studies, will spend the 2015-16 academic year studying medical anthropology at Harvard University.
December at Connecticut College starts on a high note, with seven concerts in nine days. This musical bounty comes courtesy of the Department of Music and includes everything from traditional holiday harmonies to jazz fusion. "We are pleased to have such a wonderful lineup of performances at this time of year," said Midge Thomas, associate professor and chair of the music department. "It's a time for celebrating and these concerts provide a marvelous soundtrack for the season, even those that don't focus on holiday music. The directors have all selected delightful pieces that audiences will truly enjoy." Many of the shows are free - prices are listed for events requiring tickets - and all are open to the public. •Dec. 2: The Berklee Yellowjackets Ensemble Concert will perform the music of the Yellowjackets Jazz Quartet, famous for their high-level jazz fusion. The show is at 1 p.m. in Fortune Recital Hall of Cummings Arts Center and will be followed by a Q&A with the musicians. •Dec. 2: Make We Joy is a community celebration of the winter solstice with music, dance and drama that has delighted generations from all over New England since 1981. Performances are at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. in Harkness Chapel. Seating is limited, so plan to arrive early. •Dec. 3: "'Tis the Season" brings together the Connecticut College Concert Band, directed by Gary Buttery, and the Coast Guard Academy Concert Band, directed by Ian Frenkel. Musical highlights will include Alfred Reed's "Russian Christmas Music," the haunting Huron carol "'Twas In the Moon of Wintertime," "Festive Overture" by Shostakovich, Norman Dello Joio's "Scenes from the Louvre" and some lighter seasonal favorites. The concert is at 7 p.m. in Evans Hall, Cummings Arts Center. •Dec. 5: "The Elegance of Ellington," a performance by the Connecticut College Jazz Ensemble and Traditional Jazz Band Concert, will honor the music of the great Duke Ellington. The program, directed by Gary Buttery, will feature Ellington standards like "Don't Get Around Much Anymore" and "It Don't Mean a Thing," as well as the Ellington/Billy Strayhorn version of Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite." The show is at 7 p.m. in Evans Hall of Cummings Arts Center. Tickets are $5 for general admission and $3 for seniors and students. •Dec. 6: The Connecticut College Orchestra, conducted by Mark Seto, performs a concert featuring a delightfully varied program including Hindemith's holiday-themed "Tuttifäntchen Suite;" Saint-Saëns's "Carnival of the Animals," with music department piano faculty Kumi Ogano and Patrice Newman and narration by College President President Leo I. Higdon Jr.; and Schumann's towering Fourth Symphony. The performance is at 7 p.m. in Evans Hall, Cummings Arts Center. Tickets are $5 for general admission and $3 for seniors and students. •Dec. 10: The Connecticut College Percussion and New Music Concert is dedicated to the great American composer Elliott Carter and directed by Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music Peter Jarvis with guest performer Lynn Bechtold on violin. The program will feature students and faculty performing a wide range of musical styles, including several world premieres. There will be music by Elliott Carter, John Cage, Christian Carey, Peter Jarvis, Jeffrey Perry, Gene Pritsker, James Romig and David Saperstein. The concert is at 7 p.m. in Evans Hall of Cummings Arts Center. Tickets are $5 for general admission and $3 for seniors and students. •Dec. 11: The Charles Shackford Memorial Student Composers Concert features Connecticut College faculty and students - directed by Arthur Kreiger, the Sylvia Pasternack Marx Professor of Music - performing original works by student composers. The performance is at 7 p.m. in Evans Hall and will be followed by a reception. For more information about any of these performances, contact the music department at 860-439-2728.