Concert: “The Seasons in Song”

Concert: “The Seasons in Song”

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The Seasons in Song

Recital:  October 11, 2015, 4:00 pm

Greene Memorial United Methodist Church

Valerie MacPhail, soprano

Deanne Vance, piano

with Aimée Dumouchel Gans, mezzo-soprano

and Elly MacPhail Keyser, flute


Italian Songs

Se laura spira                                                              Girolamo Frescobaldi

Se tra l’erba                                                                Stefano Donaudy

Freschi luoghi


French Songs and Arias

Nuit de juin                                                                 Louis Lacombe

Automne                                                                     Gabriel Fauré

Noël des enfants qui n’ont pas plus de maison         Claude Debussy

Plus de tourments et plus de peine, from Le Cid       Jules Massenet


German Duets

Herbstlied                                                                   Felix Mendelssohn

Wie kann ich froh und lustig sein?

Maiglöckchen und die Blümelein

Sommerruh                                                                 Robert Schuman


English Songs and Arias

The Last Rose of Summer                                          Benjamin Britten

The Spring and the Fall                                              Jeff Blumenkranz

The Trees on the Mountain, from Susannah             Carlisle Floyd

Waiting                                                                       Henry Mollicone

Spring                                                                       Dominick Argento

Summertime, from Porgy and Bess                           George Gershwin


Final Duet

Sous le dome épais, from Lakmé                              Leo Delibes


 Program Notes


Italian Songs

 Se laura spira, by Giralomo Fresobaldi

If the charming breezes blow, laughing roses and emerald hedges do not fear the summer heat.  Nymphs, come to the dance, and sing to drive away the winds of cruelty

Se tra l’erba, by Stefano Donaudy

When the world turns green at spring’s return, and I roam through the meadows with you, life is beautiful.But when winter returns and I am alone, without the kisses from your divine lips, then life is sad to me!

Freschi luoghi, by Stefano Donaudy

May this fragrant meadow not go to seed in summer, nor autumn or winter take away its splendor.  Clear streams, don’t be miserly with your water late in the year.  One day I want to walk there with her, when at last she knows my love.


French Songs and Arias

  Nuits de Juin (June nights), by Louis Lacombe

At day’s end, I smell the flowers’ perfume and hear the murmuring sounds of a summer night, while the pale dawn seems to hover beneath the sky.

Automne, by Gabriel Fauré

Autumn of misty skies and heart-rending horizons–your days are melancholy.

My thoughts roam through the enchanted hills of my happy youth, as if our lifetime could be reborn, and my eyes fill with tears that my heart had forgotten.

Noël des enfants qui n’ont plus de maisons, by Claude Debussy

(Christmas of the children who have no more houses)

We have no more houses.  The enemy burned everything,–our school and our church.  Papa has gone to war, and Mama has died.  What are we to do?  Christ child, don’t go to their houses—punish them! Give us our daily bread, and avenge the children of France!

Plus de tourments, by Jules Massenet, from the opera Le Cid

The King’s daughter, the Infanta, sings at the spring festival:  May the days of spring bring an end to the pain and torment of past days.  God will not abandon us, if we do     not forget him.

I am happy to have my daughter, Elly Keyser, add a lovely flute line to the accompaniment of this aria!


German Duets

Herbstlied (Autumn Song), by Felix Mendelssohn

How soon the cycle ends—spring turns to winter, and happiness turns to sorrowful silence.  Were my thoughts of love only a dream, disappearing as quickly as the spring?  This longing will never fade away.

Wie kann ich froh und lustig sein (How can I be happy and gay?), by Mendelssohn

How can I be happy, when the boy I love is gone away?  It is not the winter wind  that makes my eyes teary.  Now, the long winter is over—surely he will return…..

Maiglöckchen und die Blümelein (Lily-of-the-valley and the little flowers), by Mendelssohn

All the different flowers gather to sing and dance in the moonlight.  Jack Frost grumpily chases them away, but when he departs, they quickly return.  I can’t stay at home either—I join the flowers in the dance!

 Sommerruh, (Summer peace), by Robert Schumann

Summer peace, how beautiful you are.  Nightingales sing sweetly, bells gently ring,         and angels float through the air to their azure home.

English Songs and Arias

The Last Rose of Summer (Poem by Thomas Moore, Arrangement by Benjamin Britten)

Moore’s poem employs a dying rose as a metaphor for the end of life.  The traditional Irish tune is given a haunting arrangement by Britten.

The Spring and The Fall (Poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay, Music by Jeff Blumenkranz)

Hints of Blumenkranz’s Broadway roots can be heard in this depiction of a relationship that was fresh and new in the spring, but showed cracks by the fall.

The Trees on the Mountains (from Carlisle Floyd’s opera Susannah)

Susannah sings of a young woman’s despair, having been abandoned by her lover            in the cold winter of the Appalachian mountains.

Waiting (Poem by Henry Behn, Music by Henry Mollicone)

This charming song shows a different aspect of winter, in which flower seeds and              other living things are merely sleeping, waiting for spring to bring them to life.

Spring, (Poem by Thomas Nash, Music by Dominick Argento)

The sounds and delights of spring are captured in this Elizabethan poem, evocatively            set by Argento.

Summertime (from George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, Libretto by Dubose Heyward)

This quintessential song about a season evokes the lazy summers on Catfish Row                   in Charleston, South Carolina.

Final Duet

 Sous le dôme épais (from Léo Delibes’ opera Lakmé)Jasmine and roses bloom around us.  Let us float along the river’s current past the flowering banks where the birds sing, and gather the blue lotus at the joyous pool  where the swans glide.


Soprano Valerie MacPhail is the coordinator of the voice faculty of the Petrie School of Music at Converse College in Spartanburg.  In addition to her teaching duties, she is also the newly-appointed Director of the Lawson Academy of the Arts, a branch of Converse’s School of the Arts that offers music lessons and classes to students of all ages in the Spartanburg community.

Dr. MacPhail received the Doctor of Musical Arts degree in vocal performance from the University of South Carolina, where she studied and coached with Walter Cuttino and John Keene. She holds a Master of Music degree in voice performance from Florida State University, and the BA from The College of William and Mary in Virginia.

Dr. MacPhail has sung with regional orchestras such as the Brevard Music Center Orchestra and the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra. As a chamber musician she has performed on the Brevard Music Center Chamber Music Series and with the Tallahassee Bach Parley, as well as on numerous faculty recitals. She has been featured in oratorio and recital performances in South Carolina, North Carolina, Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Illinois and Pennsylvania.

She has appeared with the South Carolina Opera Theatre, The Spartanburg Repertory Company, and the Converse Opera Theatre, where her roles include the Countess in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, Sister Constance in Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites, Lucy in Menotti’s The Telephone, and Donna Ximena in Gazzaniga’s Don Giovanni. She created the role of Beatrix Trenholm in the world premiere of To Him Who Waits, by Dr. S. David Berry, Petrie School of Music faculty member and composer, and recently appeared in the world premiere of Troiades, also by Dr. Berry.  Favorite musical theatre credits are the role of The Witch in Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods and Mrs. Nordstrom in Sondheim’s A Little  Night Music.

Dr. MacPhail teaches both undergraduate and graduate voice majors at Converse, and also teaches some very talented younger students in the Lawson Academy.  Her students have competed successfully on a national level.  One recently won the youngest division of the Hal Leonard Art Song Competition, and two others advanced to the semi-finals in the National Student Auditions of the NATS organization (National Association of Teachers of Singing).  Others have been accepted at prestigious music schools, including the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, the New England Conservatory, and the Manhattan School of Music. She enjoys helping all of her students achieve technical expertise along with meaningful expression in every performance, and always to find pleasure in singing.


Throughout her career, Deanne Vance has been active as a recitalist, chamber musician and teacher. She holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano performance from the University     of Michigan. Her teachers have included Paul Badura-Skoda, Dady Mehta, Theodore Lettvin, and Barbara Lister-Sink.

Dr. Vance has taught at Eastern Michigan University, the University of Michigan and the Academy of Music at St. Francis in the Fields in Louisville KY. She has also maintained a private teaching studio in her home for 42 years.  Additionally, Dr. Vance has adjudicated  at festivals and competitions and has conducted master classes for young students.

A native of Grand Rapids MI, Deanne resides in Roanoke VA with her husband, Dr. Sam Vance.


Aimée Dumouchel Gans was introduced to opera as a sophomore in college when she was cast as the title role in Dido and Aeneas. Since then, she has performed in collegiate and community opera productions with roles ranging from Mother (Amahl and the Night Visitors) to son (“Hansel” in Hansel and Gretel), Sorceress (Dido and Aeneas) to fairy (title role, Iolanthe), to Prince (“Orlofsky” in Die Fledermaus). Additionally, Mrs. Gans is at home in solo recital and concert repertoire, appearing in works such as Dubois’s Seven Last Words of Christ and several performances of Handel’s Messiah.

Outside of opera, Mrs. Gans has also performed in several musicals and plays, and has been heavily involved off-stage with technical support teams, as a director, (Amahl and the Night Visitors, Clue murder mystery, All that Jazz! musical revue), and as a choreographer (Amahl, Jazz!, and Iolanthe). She is also a member of theatre and music honor societies (Alpha Psi Omega, Pi Kappa Lambda) and serves on the board of directors of the Spartanburg Repertory Company.

Mrs. Gans graduated summa cum laude from Erskine College in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts  in music and Spanish, where she was a student of Lucie Svatonova.  She then continued her vocal training under Dr. Valerie MacPhail at Converse College, where she earned a Master of Music in Vocal Performance in 2014.  Additionally, Mrs. Gans spent a semester in fall 2010 at the Universidad de Alicante in Spain, including a weekly performance seminar course at the Conservatorio Profesional de Música de Elche, and studied art song in summer 2013 as part of the Cornish-American Song Institute in England.  Mrs. Gans resides in Spartanburg, SC with her husband Stephen and new son Andrew, where she teaches voice lessons and an acting class through the Lawson Academy of the Arts at Converse College.



Elly MacPhail Keyser graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Music Therapy from Converse College, where she studied flute with Dr. Christopher Vaneman and performed with the orchestras and wind ensemble. She spent three summers directing music for the Pre-Clubs program at Montreat Conference Center in North Carolina, and has taught preschool music for several years. She enjoys songwriting and performs interactive concerts for children. Elly currently lives in Bedford County with her husband, and is a full-time mom to a  boisterous toddler.