RIT Singers team up with Madrigalia and RIT exhibitors

Concert aims to help appreciate and protect the Earth


‘Earthkeeping II’ is a concert featuring local choir Madrigalia along with members of the RIT Singers and others from campus. The concert, April 23, in the SHED, focuses on saving Earth and nature with sustainability, and will feature exhibits from RIT clubs and research from students on those topics.

The RIT Singers will join members of the local singing group Madrigalia to present a concert dedicated to protecting and sustaining the Earth, and revitalizing nature. Formed in 1975, the chamber choir has collaborated with local and international audiences as well as premiering new works.

“Earthkeeping II,” in conjunction with the College of Science and the School of Performing Arts, will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. April 23, (the day after Earth Day), in the Sklarsky Glass Box Theater in the SHED. Admission is free and open to all.

The concert is a sequel to Madrigalia’s original “Earthkeeping” show six years ago, also with a theme of telling the beauty and fragility of Earth, and the hopes and challenges for it that lie ahead.

But this is the first time the 20-member choral group will be joined by RIT students in song.

“This is pretty unique for us. We’re pretty excited,” said Cary Ratcliff, artistic director of Madrigalia, who checked out the theater in the SHED weeks ago. “I felt like I was on another planet. It’s fabulous.”

The connection was originally made by Allyson Jefferis, senior staff assistant for the Thomas H. Gosnell School of Life Sciences. “It takes all of us to take care of the Earth,” she said.

Jefferis is helping coordinate the concert along with Ben Willmott, director of operations for the School of Performing Arts.

“The School of Performing Arts views itself as a catalyst for cross-campus interdisciplinary collaboration through the performing arts,” Willmott said. “Our new Sklarsky Glass Box Theater is the ideal location for “Earthkeeping II,” and the performance has many ways our students and faculty can easily get involved.”

Along with members of the RIT Singers, students and staff from the College of Science are expected to join for the finale. Gavin Palmer, a second-year electrical engineering major from Goffstown, N.H., will also play cello for one of the pieces. And percussion instructor Ted Canning will also be participating, most notably “with a thunder sheet that makes the sound that you would expect,” Ratcliff said.

Ratcliff said one piece will be a reenactment of a jazz saxophone and dance performance, “Eagle Song,” by Joy Harjo, a Native American poet who served as United States Poet Laureate from 2019 to 2022.

Another piece, an adaption of “Before the Deluge,” by Jackson Browne, was personally approved by the singer-songwriter for Madrigalia.

“It’s about the greed and arrogance that is destroying the Earth,” Ratcliff said. “I transcribed it to a choral arrangement and he gave us permission to play it. He loved it.”

Ratcliff hopes audience members will come away with more than enjoyment from the beautiful choral pieces. “I hope they will be inspired by the beauty and magnificence and uniqueness of our planet and want to become involved in its safekeeping,” he said.

A reception will follow the concert in the Louis S. and Molly B. Wolk Atrium outside the theater, featuring College of Science student researchers, poster displays, and environmental and sustainability-focused campus groups, including Engineers for a Sustainable World, the RIT Community Garden, and the RIT Beekeeping Club.

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