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    Fifer, Bruce

    Bass-baritone who graduated from Westminster College in 1967 and went on to wear many hats in the music business, including actor, choral director, department chairman, soloist, and teacher.  He helped co-found The Philadelphia Singers, who have since become the chorus-in-residence of The Philadelphia Orchestra. 

     

    In 1973, he played the Ferryman in a production of Benjamin Britten’s Curlew River at the First United Methodist Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  He also helped premiere the Charles Ives songs “In the Alley” and “Marie” and they were released on the Vox label in 1974.  In 1975, he recorded Leonard Bernstein’s “Dybbuk Suite No. 1” and appeared on William Vollinger’s More Than Conquerors.  He was the bass soloist in a performance of George Frideric Handel’s Judas Maccabaeus on 9th December 1978 at North Junior High School, in tandem with The Great Neck Choral Society.  In 1979 and 1980, he toured in productions of Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly and Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata and with Eastern Opera Theatre. 

     

    He performed at the MacLeish Symposium at Greenfield Community College in 1982 in a rendering of Alice Parker’s “Songs for Eve”, in concert with The Manhattan String Quartet.  In 1983, he sang on Ray Manzarek’s Anglicization/modernization of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana.  He was the Production Manager for the Martin Edmonds/Paul Halley/Dave Hunsaker musical, The Wildman, in 1987.  On 2nd 1989, he wed Helena Comfort White, an actress and masseuse from The Big Apple. 

     

    He sang on the soundtrack of the animated Walt Disney musical, Beauty and the Beast, in 1991.  In April 1993, he celebrated Palm Sunday by conducting the choirs at Cathedral of St. John the Divine in a program that included works by Johann Sebastian Bach, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and even King John IV of Portugal.  Bruce served for over twenty years at the cathedral, first as first assistant and eventually as director of their liturgical drama and music. 

     

    In 1996, he was appointed to the faculty of The Taft School of Music in Watertown, Connecticut, where he became the chairman of the Arts and Music departments.  It did not halt his recording career.  He went on to appear on Leonard Bernstein’s Jubilee Games and Judaica, Pete Seeger’s self-titled Pete, and Wondrous Love:  Choral Works of Paul Halley.  In 1999, he performed on the Jason Schafer composition, “Enter You”, on soundtrack of Trick. 

     

    In the new millennium, he has appeared on a handful of CDs:  Bernstein Conducts Bernstein, What Child Is This?, and The Young Ives:  Early Choral Music of Charles Ives.  He participated in the Baroque Concert Series at St. Mary’s Anglican Church in Crousetown in the summers of 2008 and 2009.  On 14th June 2009, he was a guest soloist at St. John’s Anglican Church in Nova Scotia, Canada, where he sang Ralph Vaughan Williams’ “The Call”.  He went on a weekend tour of San Francisco, California, with frequent collaborator Paul Halley and Taft’s Collegium Musicum in March 2010.  Less than two weeks later, he was on tour in Nova Scotia as a soloist in a presentation of J.S. Bach’s St. John Passion, in concert with the University of King’s College Chapel Choir, at The Cathedral Church of All Saints and St. John’s Anglican Church. 

     

    Sources:

    1. http://www.taftschool.org/contact/bio.aspx?id=36
    2. http://frankhamilton.org/ph/ph2.pdf
    3. http://www.charlesives.org/01jun.htm
    4. http://www.leonardbernstein.com/works_concert.htm
    5. http://www.leonardbernstein.com/disc_lb.php?disc_lb.php=&page=2
    6. http://www.gnchoral.org/oldprograms.html
    7. http://library.rider.edu/talbott/wcc_newsletters/WCC_NL_March_1980.pdf
    8. http://books.google.com/books?id=o15uAwUKHV0C&pg=PA280&lpg=PA280&dq=%22Bruce+Fifer%22&source=bl&ots=__A4A4IKOn&sig=b1qhRfQf8z5yplNDGRBS72MrVYg&hl=en&ei=YfDuS97kEpO8NtPRkN8P&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CCAQ6AEwAziWAQ#v=onepage&q=%22Bruce%20Fifer%22&f=false
    9. http://www.cduniverse.com/search/xx/music/pid/2579385/a/Carmina+Burana.htm
    10. http://www.mettawee.org/slide13.html
    11. http://www.nytimes.com/1989/07/02/style/helena-white-is-wed-to-bruce-fifercathedral-s-liturgical-music-director.html
    12. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0276504/
    13. http://www.nytimes.com/1993/04/02/arts/the-voice-of-the-choir-shall-ring-out-for-easter.html
    14. http://www.pelagosmusic.com/Current/pages/CD%20Pages/Wondrous%20Love.html
    15. http://www.answers.com/topic/pete-folk-album
    16. http://www.amazon.co.jp/Bernstein-Jubilee-Games-Bruce-Fifer/dp/B0000012X9
    17. http://www.bfi.org.uk/sightandsound/review/568
    18. http://www.southshorenow.ca/archives/viewer.php?sctn=2001/071801/inside&article=8
    19. http://www.iclassics.net/artist/releases/default.aspx?aid=4962
    20. http://www.christmasreviews.com/wchorusangelicus3.shtml
    21. http://www.target.com/Young-Ives-Choral-Charles-included/dp/B002Y4OE02
    22. http://www.prnd.ca/PRNDstmaryconcert08.html
    23. http://www.stjohnslunenburg.org/bulletins/2009/bulletin090712.pdf
    24. http://www.prnd.ca/PRNDstmaryconcert09.html
    25. http://www.pelagosmusic.com/Current/pages/Schedule%20Pages/Events.html
    26. http://www.ukings.ca/event/chapel-choir-university-kings-college-perform-bachs-st-john-passion
    27. http://www.stjohnslunenburg.org/music-concert-schedule.html
    28. http://www.destinationhalifax.com/visitors/newsletter/recent
    29. http://www.caisct.org/cais/schoolfinder/SchoolDetails.aspx?SchoolID=74&SchoolName=The+Taft+School
    30. http://www.taftschool.org/arts/collegium.aspx

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     



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