We are off to a great start musically at Tabor. With major transition in the music department after two back to back retirements, we have been able to secure two fantastic additions to maintain the traditional strength of this important department. Dr. Tian Zhou replaced David Horne in the fall of 2018 as the head of vocal music instruction, now in his second year within the department. And this year, Ms. Nadine Cunningham joined us as the head of instrumental music. Cunningham has replaced the vacancy left by Phil Sanborn’s retirement after over 30 years of service. We are lucky to have them both!
Zhou, a former professional opera singer and college professor of music and current conductor of the Southcoast Children’s Choir and UMass Dartmouth’s University Choir, has maintained the choral program offerings and concert schedule while staying focused on improving our students’ technical capabilities. This year, he has added a faculty choir to his list of ensembles! Read more about Zhou.
Cunningham, too, will maintain the ensemble and performance options in place at Tabor traditionally. She is a lover of music of all kinds and plays a variety of instruments. (She is in our faculty choir, too!) She joins the Tabor community after teaching for five years at King’s Academy in Jordan as orchestra director, chamber coach, and music theory teacher. Nadine was also in charge of coordinating and teaching lessons on string, woodwind, and brass instruments at King’s. While studying for both of her education degrees, she performed on the violin as a soloist and in various ensembles, serving as the Concertmaster of the Crane Symphony Orchestra in Potsdam, NY. She continues to perform on violin, cello, bass, and piano in various solo, chamber, and jazz ensemble settings. Please read Cunningham’s recent blog post to learn more about her teaching background and her work with the ensembles to date.
To model what she hopes can be an increase in student performances at Tabor, Cunningham introduced herself through an impressive violin solo in the Wickenden Chapel during one of our first Monday morning chapel services of the year. Since then, there have already been three student performances shared with our community. We heard from a pianist in All School meeting, a fiddle player in Chapel, and most recently, our 2019 All-State violinist performed a violin concerto in Chapel. This is in addition to the choirs which have also been featured a few times already this month.
This week, Cunningham previewed the work of the String Ensemble and the Wind Ensemble in Chapel and All-School Meeting, respectively. This is the first time in a long time that either group has performed for the whole school before the opening number of the Winter Concert. This is a testament to her experimental style, her confidence in her students, and her dedication to sharing music widely and building recognition for the incredible talent among our Tabor musicians.
All in all, from vocals to instrumental music ensembles to our own singing as a community to great performances at our first Open Mic Night, we are enjoying the plethora of music on campus. It lightens our days, deepens our reflection, and provides both the listener and the performer great joy. It is such a pleasure to report that these programs, which have historically been so important to our school, have transitioned with such strength!
The Tabor community continues to uphold its commitment to ocean stewardship by participating in the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Clean-up.
On September 21st, thirteen students gave over three hours of their Saturday morning working with others to prevent coastal pollution from becoming ocean pollution at Fort Phoenix Park. The 110 volunteers that day picked up over 290 pounds of trash and three pounds of recyclable materials!
If you would like to be part of Tabor’s continued work to reduce ocean pollution, please join us on Sunday, October 27from 11 AM to 1 PM at West Island Town Beach in Fairhaven. We will be collecting and cataloging what we pick up to help inform the research of the Ocean Conservancy.
Contact faculty member Tamar Cunha for more information.
Please join the Tabor Academy choristers for a traditional holiday concert of Christmas music on December 15 at 7:30 PM in Wickenden Chapel, 86 Spring Street, Marion, MA. The event is free and open to the public. The concert will be live-streamed on the Tabor Academy Facebook page.