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Name: Rachel Ruisard
Major/minor: B.Mus. In Vocal Performance, minor in Medieval Studies
Expected date of graduation: Spring 2014
Hometown: Whitehouse Station, N.J.
Activities: Moravian Choir, Women's Chorus, Opera Workshop, Mostly Monteverdi Ensemble, Vocalis, Improvisation Ensemble, Moravian College Community Orchestra, Moravian College's Gammi Pi Chapter of Delta Omicron (Music Honors Fraternity), Epsilon Xi Chapter of Gamma Sigma Sigma (National Service Sorority), and Moravian College's Circle of Omicron Delta Kappa (National Leadership Honor Society)
Awards: Judith Green Memorial Prize
Project title: Moravian Music: Editions, Performances, and Celebration
Project advisor: Hilde Binford, assisted by Gwyneth A. Michel, Moravian Music Foundation
Rachel Ruisard considers herself an academic and a “history geek” – her words, not ours. It’s why she relished the opportunity to conduct a SOAR project last summer, spending weeks among the archival collections of the Moravian Music Foundation, located on Bethlehem’s Locust Street.
“I have long set out to take all the opportunities I have to gain experience in research,” Rachel explains. “A summer SOAR project appealed to me as the best way to prepare myself for that world of research and music scholarship.”
For 10 weeks Rachel prepared modern performance editions of three anthems from manuscript copies in the archival collections. These three Moravian anthems will be published as a part of the Moravian Music Foundation's “Star Anthem Series.” In addition, she assisted in preparations for the quadrennial Moravian Music Festival, held at Moravian College, and participated in the July event.
“Forgive me for being a history geek briefly, but I adore delving into untouched manuscripts and unopened books that hold echoes of past lives and experiences,” she says. “The notion of bringing even a small portion of these documents to light was a thrilling one indeed.”
She called the opportunity to work with archives as an undergraduate student “extraordinary,” adding, “I simply could not pass up the opportunity to expand my horizons as far as possible.”
“From this project, I have gained irreplaceable knowledge of the intricacies, frustrations, and joys of music editing,” she adds. “I feel that I have attained a considerable amount of skill and experience in archival and research abilities, an accomplishment that shall prepare me for future graduate studies in musicology.”
Even though the anthems are completed, Rachel can see herself returning to the archives, if given the change. “As Gwyn Michel will tell you, an archivist's work is never done,” Rachel explains.
Once the fall 2013 semester began, Rachel kept herself busy, commencing work on an Honors project in music with Larry Lipkis, as well as an independent study in medieval literature and music with John Black.