Down East Singers start 34th season
Rockport — The 34th season of Down East Singers will begin Tuesday, Sept. 10, at 7 p.m. at Nativity Lutheran Church, 179 Old County Road. Registration is scheduled at 6:15 p.m., and new singers will be asked to have voice-placement checks with Anthony Antolini, artistic director.
Antolini, also director of the Bowdoin Chorus in Brunswick and the Lincoln Festival Chorus in Boothbay Harbor, has led Down East Singers since 1991. Jennifer McIvor will return in her fourth year as piano accompanist.
The group's annual December concerts will be in gospel style this semester featuring music historian Aaron Robinson's recreation of the 1961 Broadway gospel Christmas show "Black Nativity" by African-American poet and playwright Langston Hughes, who titled it a "Gospel Song-Play." Down East Singers will perform this work with pianist McIvor and B-3 organist Sean Fleming. The program also will include other gospel music arranged by Robinson.
Performances will be Thursday, Dec. 12, at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Newcastle; and Sunday, Dec. 15, at the Camden Opera House. Auditions for soloists will be announced at a later date. All soloists are expected to be members of Down East Singers for these concerts.
In addition to the December concerts, members of Down East Singers are invited to join with members of the Bowdoin Chorus and other singers to form the Rachmaninoff Choir, which will go on tour with performances of Rachmaninoff’s “Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom” Nov. 14 in Boothbay Harbor; Nov. 15 in Dover, N.H.; Nov. 16 in Cambridge, Mass; and Nov. 17 and Woonsocket, R.I. The Rachmaninoff Choir performed in Hartford, Conn., and Cambridge, Mass., in 2012; and toured Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece in 2009.
The spring semester for Down East Singers will include a Memorial Day concert featuring Maine composer Delmar Dustin Small's oratorio "As It Began to Dawn" for chorus and soloists, accompanied by the Mozart Mentors Orchestra.
Down East Singers' usual membership is about 70, and residents from throughout the Midcoast participate. It is open to all community members, and new singers are welcome. Sight-reading skills are desired but not required, as long as an ability to match pitch accurately is demonstrated. Singers are expected to work on their music at home between the weekly rehearsals.
The membership fee is $60 per semester, and high school students sing for free. More information is available at downeastsingers.org or by calling 619-0413.
Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115 or email@example.com.