Down East Singers start spring semester

Dec 31, 2012
Photo by: Phyllis Fales The Down East Singers and Mozart Mentors Orchestra are pictured in performance at the Camden Opera House.

Rockport — Down East Singers will begin its spring semester Tuesday, Jan. 8 at 7 p.m. at Nativity Lutheran Church, 179 Old County Road. Registration and voice-placement checks for new singers will start at 6:15 p.m.

Down East Singers was founded in 1979 by Marion Gray. Anthony Antolini of Cushing has been the group's artistic director since 1991. Jennifer McIvor of Wiscasset is the rehearsal accompanist. The singers, approximately 70, travel to Tuesday rehearsals (7 to 9:15 p.m.) from throughout the Midcoast, Waldoboro to Belfast.

The chorus will be preparing for its annual Memorial Day Concert to be presented May 27 at the Camden Opera House. The theme of the concert is Death and Heaven, featuring the 2005 Karl Jenkins Requiem scored for chorus, female soloists, shakuhachi (Japanese bamboo flute), French horns, percussion, harp and strings. In addition to the Jenkins Requiem, the chorus will perform four spirituals arranged by William Dawson about preparing to go to heaven or imagining what it will be like. The concert will begin with Igor Stravinsky’s arrangement of “The Star Spangled Banner.”

The performance will be accompanied by the Mozart Mentors Orchestra composed of string teachers and their top students and will feature shakuhachi virtuoso Ralph Samuelson. The Jenkins work melds the traditional western requiem text (a funeral service) with Japanese haiku on the subject of death. The haiku movements are sung by a women’s choir in Japanese.

Down East Singers 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. A voice-placement check for new singers will be given at the time of registration. All singers are expected to work on their music at home between the weekly rehearsals.

The membership fee is $50 per semester, and high school students sing for free. Music will be provided on loan free of charge but singers may choose to purchase new copies if they wish. For more information, visit  downeastsingers.org or call 701-7352.

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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