Past Adventures

Although the Alumnae Chorus is a fairly young organization, we’ve already been busy.

2019: Slovenia Tour
2016: Cuba Tour
2014: Weekend of Song in Celebration of Alice Parker ’47
2013: Baltics Tour
2011: Sicily Tour
2010: 125th Anniversary of the Glee Club

Slovenia Tour
From July 13 to July 21, 2019, the Chorus toured Slovenia with a stop in Trieste, Italy. Concerts of Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass (Missa in Angustiis) and Duruflé’s Requiem were held in Koper and Ljublana.

Cuba Tour
From July 23 to July 31, 2016, the Chorus toured Cuba. Concerts of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater and Vivaldi’s Gloria were performed in Matanzas (Iglesia San Pedro) and Havana (Sala Covarrubias, Teatro Nacional).

Weekend of Song in Celebration of Alice Parker ’47
On September 21st, 2014, SCAC gave a concert in which we performed music by prolific choral composer Alice Parker (Smith ’47), as well as selections from Ralph Vaughan Williams’s Folk Songs of the Four Seasons. Parker was in attendance and conducted some of the pieces; we were proud to honor such a distinguished alumna!

Baltics Tour
From June 21 to July 2, 2013, the Chorus toured the Baltic States and Russia, visiting Riga, Latvia; Tallinn, Estonia; St. Petersburg, Russia; and Helsinki, Finland. Concerts of Beethoven’s Mass in C and Choral Fantasy were held in Tallinn and St. Petersburg, with two sets of musicians and male singers.

In Tallinn, we received the Ambassador’s Award for Cultural Diplomacy from the U.S. Embassy in Estonia.

Sicily Tour
From June 17 to June 26, 2011, the Chorus toured Sicily, where they performed Mozart’s Requiem with the Italian choir Ad Dei Laudem. The group included alumnae ranging from the classes of 1947 to 2009 and even a current Smithie, who was rounding out her junior year abroad in Florence. Check out the tour blog on the Alumnae Association’s website:

Soprano: Deborah Garrett
Mezzo-soprano: Greta Motts Birkby
Tenor: Salvo Fresta
Bass: Alessandro Vargetto
Conducted by Jonathan Hirsh

Highlights from the Tour Journal

“Choirs and Glee Club were such an important part of my life at Smith that it is a thrill to recreate the experience. And to do it in Sicily, a place I’ve heard wonderful things about but never visited, is a special treat. Most of the classmates I know and connect with at reunions I know from choir. I had the pleasure to sing for Amy Kaiser, Iva Dee Hiatt and John Oliver (from MIT). Our great claim to fame was that we performed Stravinsky’s Les Noces, and chose to sing it in Russian. It was an unforgettable experience which has made me appreciate the performances of Les Noces that have popped up recently as Stravinsky’s music has been explored and celebrated. Thank you, thank you, thank you to those who have put this trip together.”
– Debbie Gastler ‘75

“Proposed lyrics to be sung to the tune of ‘June Is Busting Out All Over’:
June is bustin’ out all over
Especially in Sicily this year
For we love to ‘carpe diem’
As we sing Mozart’s Re-qui-em
And we ‘shine our little lights’ on all those here”
– Heather Hyde ‘61

“We had a very successful concert last night in Acireale […]. Once the Mozart started, it became an ethereal experience. I’m one of the soloists, so I got to hear the beauty of the choir behind me and it was as if a celestial chorus was emerging from the ether of a Sicilian night. […] We had a very full house last night – and in the front row (five feet away from me) sat the priest of the cathedral and the mayor(ess) of the town. After we finished, the priest stood up and kissed Deborah and my hands, as if a courtier to a lady. Jonathan in a bit of quasi-vaudeville had us go out three times for bows and we had a standing ovation. Everyone was very enthusiastic about the performance.”
– Greta Motts Birkby ‘82

“This morning I was thinking about how it seems to me that Smith women have a most special bond. I was resting on one of the comfortable chairs at this lovely pool, and became aware that on the other side a conversation was going on between Sue Neil and Deb Davis. It was about reunions. The sharing from the experience of Sue with Deb really touched me. It came from a place in my soul that is the forever-Smith-connection, which is indescribable, no matter how hard I try to put words to it. Here we are, renewing friendships, making many new friends, touring, talking and most especially singing together, and there’s a thread that sews us to each other, and those we love who are with us. It has moved me to tears many times on this trip, and will be present with me as I savor my memories in the years to come.”
– D (Diane) Foubert ‘67

“Rich, poor, childless, married, divorced, unemployed, entrepreneurial, Ph.D., MFA, MD, JD, etc. (!), overworked, underemployed… We are a gestalt of 8+decades of women’s experience. Smith and music are the glue in an amazing, humbling, uplifting mosaic.”
– Dorothy Chansky ‘73

“This was truly a highlight of my life—a lovely and inspiring group of accomplished women singing the Requiem throughout Sicily, on the milestone Alumnae Chorus tour! Jonathan delivered beautifully as our conductor in the center of Mozart’s musical moments. Thank you to all for this opportunity and experience. Side note: food was gourmet.”
– Jodi Kaplan ‘89

“What an amazing experience! Singing with Jonathan, which I would have done anywhere, but here in Sicily with Luigi’s expert leadership and Giuseppe’s good-natured and skilled transport. Such pampering, such luxury, such opportunities to learn about Sicily’s rich heritage. It was a gift to us. Thank you, Emily, Eliza and Kate. Thank you, Luigi and Giuseppe and Jonathan. Thank you to Iva Dee Hiatt and Smith. Let’s do it again soon.”
– Pam Lovell Parker ‘65

Tour Participants

Louise Armstrong ‘69
Kay Bedeau ’60 and Bill Bedeau Jr.
Greta Motts Birkby ’82* and Dana Bliss Birkby
Alice (Tansy) Howard Blumer ‘65
Cornelia Tuttle Bowe ‘47
Giovanna Breu ‘51
Katharine Chaffee ‘05
Jennifer Chang
Dorothy Ann Chansky ’73 and Terry Andrew Bennet
Karen Amelia Conner ‘98
Joanne Corey ‘82
Lee Cushman ‘60
Deb Davis ‘76
Katherine Griest ‘06
Sandra Cummings De Murley ‘51
Kate Elizabeth de Riel ‘68
Anna Dengler ‘04
Ann Farbman ’60
Diane Foubert ‘67
Deborah Garrett ‘84*
Debra Gastler ‘75
Alexandra Ghiz ‘12
Elizabeth Griffith-Smith ‘63
Heather Hyde ’61 and Bruce Stowell
Jodi Kaplan ‘89
Debbie Keeney ’66 and Terry Keeney
Barbara Alexander Keller
Karen Knight ‘65
Barbara Kornfield ’61 and Mike Kornfield
Jane LaMotte ’63 and Francis Gibbs LaMotte
Laura Levin ’09 and Ryan Lower
Julianne Renée Levin
Lynn Milliner ‘81
Maeve Montalvo ‘07 and Robert Yasinsac
Jen Morgan ’03 and Winston Cheng
Amanda Mott ‘85
Suzanne Chambliss Neil ‘67
Rosalie Nesbit ‘82
Pam Parker ‘65
Susan Podmayer McGlew ’83 and Ed McGlew III
Barbara Watson Rawls ‘63
Marie Scavotto ‘81
Susan Seamans ‘70
Emily Spura ‘03
Pam Stratton ’76 and Ed Case Jr.
Mary Strizek ’82 and Daniel Strizek
Peggy Tumey ‘83
Tricia Tyler ‘82
Marjo Valliere ‘65
Mary Wadleigh ’07 AC
Heidi Woehlck ‘82
Anne Woodworth ‘65
Eliza Zingesser ‘05

* denotes soloist

125th Anniversary of the Glee Club
In celebration of the 125th anniversary of the Smith College Glee Club, the current members of the Glee Club invited all alumnae of the group to participate in an on-campus anniversary concert in April 2010. Many thanks to Abigail Kellogg ’11 for her organization of the event.


Johann Sebastian Bach, “Wir eilen mit schwachen, doch emsigen Schritten” (Cantata BVW 78)
Lili Boulanger, “Les sirènes”
Johannes Brahms, “Ave Maria”
Pablo Casals, “Nigra sum”
Clifton J. Noble, Jr., “Old Ship of Zion”
Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, “Salve Regina”
Charles H. Parry, “I Was Glad”
Franz Schubert, “Psalm 23”
Randall Thompson, “Alleluia”
Donald Wheelock, “Glory”
… and Smith songs!