Call for ‘Missa Gaia’ singers

Feb 20, 2013
Photo by: Sarah Szwajkos Midcoast Community Chorus is directed by Mimi Bornstein and joined by composer Paul Sullivan and gospel singer Theresa Thomason during the winter concert in January.

Rockland — Midcoast Community Chorus invites local singers to be part of the group that will travel to New York this fall to perform Paul Winter’s “Missa Gaia” with the Paul Winter Consort. The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine will host the Saint Francis of Assisi Day Blessing of the Animals service on Oct. 6, a spectacular gathering of animals and a celebration of all living beings with music, dance and worship.

“Missa Gaia” is a powerful musical masterpiece that weaves together world music with songs from the wild to celebrate the whole earth as a sacred space. This popular contemporary “Earth Mass” features the voices of wolf, whale, eagle, harp seal, Amazonian musical wren and Russian loon. Performing this piece with the Paul Winter Consort, soloist Theresa Thomason and the hundreds of voices that gather to sing it every year at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine has been a musical highlight for Mimi Bornstein, founder and artistic director of MCC, and for all who participate in these events.

“The Blessing of the Animals celebration at St. John the Divine is at the very least a spectacle, and at its best, a transformative act of honoring and celebrating Mother Earth and all our relations, human and otherwise,” she said.

Weekly spring semester rehearsals to learn the score will begin Monday, March 4 and continue through May 13 (with an early April break). All rehearsals will be held Mondays from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the First Universalist Church, 345 Broadway, and will be led by long-term MCC accompanist Sean Fleming, with assistance from choral director Linda Blanchard. Fleming performs regularly with groups throughout the Midcoast; has directed or accompanied more than 65 musical theater productions nationwide; and has served as organist at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Newcastle for the past 16 years.

A “Missa Gaia” refresher course will be held in late September for those who complete the 2013 spring semester and for singers who previously performed the work in 2011.

The registration fee of $75 includes the loan of all musical scores, online practice tools, a short refresher course in late September and other pertinent information. The New York trip will require singers to pay for travel costs.

All singers must be MCC members, with annual memberships starting as low as $5 for students. Partial and full scholarships are available for registration fees, and payment plans are available. To pre-register, visit mccsings.org to download the registration form. Registration and early-registration packet pickup will begin at 5:30 p.m. on March 4, followed by the first rehearsal. Registration will continue prior to rehearsal on March 11.

MCC is a non-auditioned, multi-generational chorus established in 2008 that consistently draws 120 to 140 choristers each semester. All MCC concerts have been near or complete sellouts, confirming that Bornstein is not alone in her philosophy that music builds community and “When we sing we change who we are, and when we change who we are, we change the world … one song at a time.”

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115 or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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