Thursday March 16, 2017
Her voice is her instrument and, as she describes it, her primary teaching tool. Others who listen may add the word gift to that list. Soprano Amy Frostman will share her talents at the Hinesburg Artist Series (HAS) 20th Anniversary Concert Sunday, March 19, in Hinesburg. Frostman, who has taught music at Orchard School for 18 years, is the featured guest soloist at the concert. Music director Rufus Patrick, who founded HAS in 1997, says, “Amy has been our featured soloist in several concerts and we are very excited to have her back this year.”
According to Patrick, the March 19 concert features historic church doctrine in more contemporary settings, “John Rutter wrote the ‘Magnificat’ in 1990 and ‘Festival Te Deum’ was composed by René Clausen in 2015. The music from both composers is absolutely stunning. I get chills every time we rehearse.” Also part of the program are performances of ‘Hine Ma Tov’ by Alan Naplan and ‘Make Me an Instrument of Thy Peace’ by Mary McDonald.
For her part, Frostman will be singing two movements of the “Magnificat,” which she describes as having gorgeous melodies. Patrick says, “I have listened to several professional and amateur groups performing the Rutter ‘Magnificat’ and can honestly say nobody sounds better than our own Amy Frostman.” In addition, the soprano joins Betsy Patrick and Amy Patrick for a trio arrangement of Billy Joel’s “And So It Goes.”
A born Vermonter, Frostman was inspired to pursue a career in music education by her Harwood Union High School music teachers, Diane Philips and Chris Rivers. She earned her degree from the University of Cincinnati College - Conservatory of Music. After graduating, she returned to her home state, “I pieced together two teaching positions at Orchard School and what was then Lawrence Barnes Elementary School in Burlington. The following year, I was fortunate enough to become the full time music teacher at Orchard, and have been there ever since.”
Although Frostman acknowledges the challenges of teaching music to 370 students, solely because she wishes she had more time to spend with each one, she says, “I enjoy the energy, playfulness, and creativity that arises in children when they sing, dance, and play instruments together.” She adds, “I also love how making music together fosters a kind and trusting community.”
Frostman first met music director Patrick when she was a student. She describes him as having a contagious passion for music, especially music that brings people together. “He has a great sense of humor, loads of energy, and creates a wonderful sense of community, family really, within his groups.” Since then, the two have even had the opportunity to sing together over the years.
Patrick, a well-respected and longtime Vermont music educator, has had a lifetime of creating music in community. He has served as president of the Vermont Music Educators and the New England Music Festival Association. He is a member of the Music Educator’s National Conference Executive Board and has been teaching and conducting for 47 years. He says music has been part of his life since he was a kid, adding, “My great grandfather, grandfather and uncles were members of the Hinesburg Town Band,” which is part of HAS. Patrick currently conducts the South County Chorus, as well as the Hinesburg Community Band, the a cappella group In Accord, the Wake Robin chorus, and the All Souls Interfaith Gathering Choir, as well as being music director for the United Church of Hinesburg. But as HAS holds a soft spot in his heart, he explains, “Let’s say I am heavily invested in the organization, it’s ‘my baby.’”
Along with Frostman, Sunday’s concert will feature other soloists including bass Gary Moreau, alto Amy Patrick, Margaret Roddy on clarinet, and Amy’s husband, Dan Frostman on oboe. Amy says, “Rufus asked me and Dan to pick a piece to perform together. We chose a sweet arrangement by Yo Yo Ma and Allison Kraus of the Shaker tune ‘Simple Gifts.’ Dan and I have loved this piece for a long time, and have adapted it for oboe and voice. Any opportunity to make music with my husband is special to me. We are excited to perform it together.”
Patrick is proud of his HAS choral group and orchestra, who he describes as eclectic groups with a mix of semi-pros and amateurs, in addition to being “an inter-generational phenomenon.” Members range from high school age to an 86-year-old tenor, who, by the way, also plays clarinet. Patrick says, “I feel fortunate to still be able to wave my arms in front of amazing people. Hopefully I inspire them, as they certainly inspire me.”
For Frostman, Sunday’s concert is an opportunity to use music as a gift to share, adding, “For me, the greatest reward in singing is stirring emotion in others. In those moments, it is difficult for me to not be swept away in the music as well!”
Hinesburg Artist Series 20th Anniversary Concert, Sunday, March 19, St. Jude Church, 10759 VT-116, Hinesburg. For more information about the concert and tickets, visit hinesburgartistseries.org, flynntix, or call 802-373-0808.