Handel’s Messiah

ND Chorale in Rome (they travel out of country every three/four years)

The Notre Dame Chorale at the Vatican in Rome, Italy (Chorale travels out of country every three/four years)

Notre Dame Chorale, graces the Leighton stage with music every year in their fall concert (on Friday, November 8th, this year). In addition to their regular performances, Notre Dame Chorale and Notre Dame Chamber Orchestra  perform Handel’s Messiah every year to help kick off the holiday season.

Messiah is a famous English oratorio composed by George Frideric Handel and based on a libretto written by Charles Jennen. Handel was a devout Christian and Messiah reflects his faith. The text of the chorus was taken directly from the King James Bible. Jennen used it to interpret the Christian doctrine of the Messiah.

Messiah is Handel’s most famous creation and is one of the most popular and respected works in Western choral literature. The music for Messiah was completed in 24 days of swift composition. Comprised of three parts, Messiah includes the popular movement “Hallelujah!” during which everyone stands.

The custom of standing during the “Hallelujah!” chorus originates from a belief that at the London premiere of Messiah, King George II did so, but there is no evidence that the king was present at the performance (or any subsequent Messiah performance). The legend is that King George was so moved by the music that he stood to his feet when he heard it, requiring his subjects followed suit.

The Notre Dame Chorale and Chamber Orchestra presents Handel’s Messiah to a sold-out audience in the Leighton Concert Hall two nights in a row every year. This year’s presentation of Messiah is on Friday, December 6 & 7 at 8:00 PM.

This event has become a joyous tradition for the Notre Dame and South Bend communities to ring in the holiday season and a family friendly concert. Sign up for a shift and buy tickets for the family to enjoy Handel’s most well-known music.

Click “play” below to see the ND Chorale performing with the ND Chamber Orchestra in 2009. They performed on the Leighton stage with the director of the Notre Dame Chorale, Alex Blachly.


Managing Your Hours on MyVolunteerPage.com

Just as a reminder to ushers, hours are now being calculated on a calendar year rather than a fiscal year cycle beginning back on July 1st.  For our newest ushers, monitor your hours by simply consulting the “Hours” box on the right-hand side of your MyVolunteerPage.com account and look for “This Year” to see if you are on target for your 50-hour goal.

For veteran ushers who began volunteering at the center before July 1st, the steps to check your hours are below.  Beginning in January, you’ll be able to consult the “Hours” box from that point forward to always know if you’re on target.

  • Go to the Reports tab
  • Scroll down to Detailed Hours Report
  • For the Date Range, change to July 1, 2013 until the present
  • Select View Report

Catch Up with our Newly Graduated Ushers

It’s always nice to catch up with people who you haven’t seen in a while and ask a little about how they are doing and what they’ve been up to. Although I wasn’t able to reach all our graduated ushers since MurphyKate Montee is in Cambridge, Nick Huryk is in Seoul, and Sandra Laguerta is doing service work in New York, I was still able to get a hold of two of our newly graduated ushers, Alisa Rantanen and Elizabeth Demers (formerly “Maki”) and catch up a bit on their lives. Below is a little snippet of what they’ve been up to since graduation.

Alisa Rantanen – I spent the beginning of my summer traveling to California and northern Michigan to visit my collegealisa roommate and extended family, but eventually settled down in Chicago for my first day of work at Insight Product Development in mid-July. I interned at Insight last summer, though, so it was more like my second first day of work – what a strange feeling!

Insight focuses on medical design, so I am working on projects ranging from Parkinson’s disease to kyphoplasty. While I never thought I’d be designing for medical application, it’s compelling work and I love knowing that my designs will truly improve someone’s life. I’m also mentoring a few design students at UIC (University of Illinois, Chicago) and am enjoying getting to know the city better in my free time.

I often listen to music while I’m working; every now and then something from a performance at DPAC will play, reminding me of all the wonderful experiences I had there over the past four years. Miss you all and hope all is well!

Elizabeth DemingWhile I’m still working on coming to terms with life after ND and DPAC, there are so many new things happening in my life that are helping to ease the transition. 1239424_10151622788718388_649693096_nMy wedding to Daniel on August 3rd was absolutely perfect! We couldn’t have asked for a better day and everything really and truly went as well as we could have asked! Two months later, I am finding myself to be well-adjusted to married life, living in an apartment in Chandler, AZ (a suburb of Phoenix). My husband and I play Ultimate Frisbee three times a week and are especially loving it now that the weather has cooled off a bit!

I have been taking a few classes this fall because I just couldn’t stay away from academics for too long: Pathophysiology, Nutrition, and “Intro to Healthcare & Nursing”, what fun! In addition to classes, I just recently started a new job as a Nursing Assistant at a skilled-nursing facility just down the road from our apartment. The work is a lot different than being a student usher at DPAC, but I am really enjoying the hands on experience it is giving me as I prepare to apply to nursing schools! I only wish there was cinema-grade popcorn available at almost every shift…and that I could see all of the lovely DPAC staff and volunteers! I miss you all!

What is that?

Commonly used in text messaging and other forms of communication, abbreviations are rapidly becoming a major part of modern culture.  Here at the Performing Arts Center is no different.  Various departments, from FTT to the Department of Music, as well as the Performing Arts Center itself host performances and screenings, from the PS to MSM, but what do these abbreviations mean?  With so many new ushers on staff, let’s try to decode this lingo heard around the center…

What is the PS?


The center’s Presenting Series is programmed by Executive Director Anna Thompson.  The 2013-2014 season, titled “Be Open,” kicked off the season with Momix, this visually impressive dance company, and ends in May with the exuberant performance from the Roby Lakatos Ensemble, classical music seamlessly blended with jazz, pop, Broadway, and film scores.  In all, the Presenting Series will bring 25 unique and talented performers to the center’s stages.  Visit http://performingarts.nd.edu/newseason/ to learn more.

What is MSM?


Situated in the Department of Theology, but with major participation of the Department of Music, the Master of Sacred Music’s graduates are well prepared for work in Christian churches, for administrative and teaching positions, for work in the media, and for doctoral study in music and a variety of related disciplines. With performances mainly in the Reyes Organ and Choral Hall, names and faces like Professors Craig Cramer, Paul Walker, or Alexander Blachly usually pop up. Throughout the year, student organ recitals are performed as a partial fulfillment of their master’s degree.  Visit http://theology.nd.edu/graduate-programs/master-of-sacred-music/ to learn more.

What is FTT?


Housed inside the center, Notre Dame’s Film, Television, and Theatre Department presents theatrical performances throughout the year as well as film and television projects such as the annual Notre Dame Student Film Festival. FTT’s space, on the lower level of the center, is equipped with its own costume shop, editing studios, rehearsal hall, makeup studio, recording studio, lighting lab, creative computing lab, dressing rooms, and classrooms.  As you can recall, FTT kicked off their season with the student directed performance of On the Verge.  Coming up next month, Cabaret takes the Decio stage.  Visit http://ftt.nd.edu/ to learn more.

What is DOM?

Whether it is band, opera, choirs, or orchestra, the center hosts an array of performances sponsored by the Notre Dame Department of Music (aka DOM).

dye3Notre Dame Bands, under the direction of Dr. Kenneth Dye, is the oldest college band in the United States.  Throughout the school year, enjoy performances from the Symphonic Winds, Symphonic Band, Concert Bands, or Jazz Band.

Coming this spring, Opera Notre Dame will take the Decio stage.  While we’ve yet to learn their spring opera, past titles include Dialogues of the Carmelites and Sweeney Todd.

alexbnwUnder the direction of Alexander Blachly, the Notre Dame Chorale is an ensemble of 60+ voices performing pieces from the Renaissance to the present.  Dr. Blachly also presents Schola Musicorum, performances of Gregorian Chant directly from medieval manuscripts, which performs one concert in the fall and one in the spring.

cdan_stowe_3With performances throughout the year, the Notre Dame Glee Club, under the direction of Daniel Stowe, is considered one of the finest all-male collegiate choral groups in the country.  Professor Stowe also conducts the Notre Dame Symphony Orchestra with its 60-70 players made up of students, faculty, and staff.

Visit http://music.nd.edu/ to learn more.

Tip of the Week: Met Opera Ushering

Dear Miss Managers,

Since I am an usher at the center yet didn’t work this event, a friend who attended the Met Opera Encore emailed me two complaints…

…”A college-aged girl showed up with giant backpack after the intro (she missed the part where he says turn off your electrical devices) and had to crawl over all of us to take her 2 seats, one for her backpack. First, she scrolled through her text messages. I let it go because it was during the Met intro stuff before the opera started. Then she seemed to put it away so I thought all was good. Then about 20 minutes into the opera, she started to get restless, and I thought to myself that she was about to pull her phone out. I was right! On it came and she thumbed through a few things. I let it go about 5 minutes and then leaned toward her and said, “Perhaps you need to sit in the back so that you won’t bother others in the audience.” She mumbled something about she was trying to keep it out of sight, but she did put it away. No apology, of course.”

…”There was an older couple down in row 2 or 3, middle of the row. The husband (?) had a smart phone, which he seemed to have on as if he was recording during a stretch at the beginning and again during act 2. It was visible to everybody. I don’t understand why the ushers didn’t do something. I wanted to get up and tell them, but I was sort of trapped where I sat. As we came back in for the start of Act 3, my husband mentioned it to the usher at the door, but the older gentleman didn’t pull out his phone during the last act.”

In the midst of a performance, how should the ushers have managed these situations?


Missed Opportunity


Dear Missed Opportunity,

Since our ushers are the eyes and ears inside any venue, monitoring the behavior of the audience is their priority.  Let me offer some pointers for the future since we know patrons will continue to test the limits in all of our venues.

First, do your best to manage the situation while it’s in progress; catching someone in the act makes it easier to address, and it shows the audience surrounding the culprit that our staff is actively resolving the issue.

Second, report the issue to the House Manager.  The first thing your House Manager will ask is “What did you do to resolve it?”  If your efforts proved successful, great job!  If the misbehavior persists, immediately seek the attention of your House Manager who will step in and resolve the issue.

It’s always good to remember that our patrons can view the Met Opera at one of our local movie theatres.  At our local theatres, there isn’t an usher staff to keep order in the venue.  So when patrons make the choice to watch the opera at the Performing Arts Center, let’s dazzle them with our top-notch customer service and crowd management!

All knowing,

Miss Managers

An Interview with Paul Van Ness

Paul Van Ness - tallIn the fall of 2012, the Performing Arts Center staff welcomed Paul Van Ness to the Marketing Department as the new Marketing Program Manager.  Learn more about Paul and his role at the center from a recent interview:

Describe for us your role in the Marketing Department: 

I’m the man behind the website, the Facebook page, and the emails that patrons receive.  The emails sent out from Marketing serve to inform and excite people about events at the center.  Some emails are standard weekly Presenting Series and Cinema offerings, and then others are to season ticket holders for reminders.  Following an event, patrons are emailed to share their feedback.  I’m also responsible for getting information to other publications, such as In the Bend, submitting photos and performance details.  Finally, for all the show programs the ushers pass out, I gather the data for Tadashi to make pretty.

Where did you work before coming to the Performing Arts Center? 

Immediately prior to here, I worked at Market Day, based just outside of Chicago.  (If you’re a parent of a student in a Catholic school, you know Market Day fundraising very well!)

What has been your favorite PAC performance/screening?samsara

Audra McDonald, superb.  Since I attend a lot of films, Samsara was a favorite.

What’s your hometown?  

Muncie, INbsu

Where did you attend college?

“Fruit Jar Tech,” AKA Ball State University

What did you want to be when you grew up? 

A doctor or an architect

Do you have any pets?

One cat, Kali.  If Kali could talk, she would say, “Play with me.”

What’s your favorite quote? 

“Life is a series of choices.”  Not sure who said it, but my dad quoted it quite often.  My favorite funny quote is, “Don’t play leap frog with a unicorn.”

What song do you play most on your iPod?

Well I’m a huge Pat Methany fan, and his song, Last Train Home, would be a favorite.

For which celebrity do you often get mistaken?  johndenver

None, but when I wore “rounder” eyeglasses, John Denver was mentioned.

How would you pass 30 minutes of free time at home?

Read a book or watch Netflix movie.

Are you reading a book now? 

The Element for our center’s book club.

What’s the hardest thing you’ve ever done? 

Haven’t run a marathon yet, but once I went through an entrepreneurship program at Ball State, your final project was a business plan evaluated by real world entrepreneurs…..and it was very challenging, but a great experience.

The Five W’s of Bach’s Lunch

As we get further into the school year, we start to get busier and busier with performances, concerts and recitals. A reoccurring performance title that our ushers see on our listing of events is “Bach’s Lunch.” Hopefully your questions about these performances will be answered below.


Who performs in Bach’s Lunch?

Bach’s Lunch features music majors, including our own student usher Nick Goldsmith, to perform required recitals for their music major class requirements. The repertoire of Bach Lunch performers are mainly pianists and vocalists.

What is Bach’s Lunch?

Bach’s Lunch, with its fun play on words, is a series of lunchtime recitals (hence the play on words) hosted by the Department of Music here at Notre Dame.

Where is Bach’s Lunch?

Bach’s Lunch is held in the Penote Performer’s Assembly Hall (located on the first floor behind the Browning Cinema). The Penote is also used for meetings, rehearsals, and artist hospitality.

When is Bach’s Lunch?

Bach’s Lunch are held most (but not all) Fridays at 12:10 PM.

Why a lunchtime recital?

Bach’s Lunch allows for more of the campus and local communities to enjoy a free performance at the center on their lunch break, including the performers’ professors and classmates.

How much is Bach’s Lunch?

Free! Tell your friends, family, and neighbors so they can come for a free concert featuring several of the University’s talented student music performers!