In May 1977, the esteemed American choral conductor Gregg Smith visited Interlochen.
Smith founded the Gregg Smith Singers in the 1950s and specialized in the music of the United States at a time when not many musicians were doing so.
As Smith explained during his 1977 visit, even though the American bicentennial year had ended a few months prior, it was important to him to maintain the enthusiasm surrounding American choral music.
He led Interlochen Arts Academy students in a program entitled "American Music: Past and Present." The concert began in the 18th century and ended with the distinctly American sounds of Charles Ives.
Program (all music was performed May 7, 1977 and conducted by Gregg Smith)
William Billings, 4 Songs
3 Songs from the Sacred Harp; Virginia Hammer, Rebecca Russell, Ronald Smith and Kevin Cole, soloists
Stephen Foster, Come where my love lies dreaming; Anne Hunter, Deborah Lehn, Kenan Kelly and Bruce Conner, soloists
Stephen Foster, Some folks do; Jeffrey Dalton, guitar
Charles Ives, Crossing the bar; David Lake, piano
Charles Ives, Psalm 67
Gregg Smith, Four Concord Chorales
Charles Ives, The Circus Band
Charles Ives, They are There!
The archival recordings heard on this program are available thanks in part to the Association for Recorded Sound Collections' Classical Music Preservation Grant, generous support from our listeners and the Hamer D. And Phyllis C. Shafer Foundation.
Michael Culler provided audio engineering assistance.
Christine Kyprianides and Eileen Ganter provided research support.