Fleming plays the Hook & Hastings

Jul 29, 2014
Sean Fleming

Waldoboro — The very talented and energetic Sean Fleming will take center stage in a solo concert Friday, Aug. 8, at 7 p.m. at Broad Bay Congregational UCC, 941 Main St./Route 220. Fleming will play the church’s recently restored 1875 Hook & Hastings organ.

There is no admission charge for the concert, which is a summertime tradition for the church and community, but a goodwill offering will be taken with proceeds going toward a sound system.

Anyone who frequents choral concerts or musical theater in the Midcoast has heard Fleming’s work as accompanist or musical director. In fact, any of the performances of literally dozens of choral groups in the area, from the Bowdoin Chorus to the Downeast Singers to the St. Cecilia Chamber Choir, has featured his accompaniment on piano and organ — and perhaps on other instruments, since he also plays saxophone, clarinet, euphonium, tuba, trumpet, Celtic harp and classical guitar. Fleming has directed or accompanied more than 65 musical theater productions nationwide.

On his Broad Bay playlist are Cesar Franck’s (1822-1890) Offertoire in E Flat Major, written around 1858 but not published until 1905;  Alexandre Guilmant’s (1837-1911) Organ Sonata No. 1 in D minor, Op. 42; Jean Langlais’ (1907-1991) Canzona from the Folkloric Suite; Harold Darke’s (1888-1976) A Meditation on Brother James’ Air; John Knowles Paine’s (1839-1906) Concert Variations on Austria, Op. 3; and Marcel Lanquetuit’s (1894-1985) Toccata en Re Majeur. The audience will participate in two songs: “Brother James’ Air,” music composed by Scottish minister and composer James Leith Macbeth Bain; and “Austrian Hymn.”

While Fleming said he loves all the pieces on the program, the Guilmant is his favorite. He called it an awe-inspiring piece, especially the third and last movement.

“I played it last at Bowdoin Chapel, and after I finished, I heard someone in the audience say, ‘wow!’ I think that is an accurate assessment of the piece,” he said.

Fleming, who grew up in the Rockland and Camden areas and studied organ and piano with Ray Cornils, John Doney, Michael Lindsey and Gerald McGee. For the past 19 years, he has served as organist at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church in Newcastle. In 2009, he received a St. Botolph Club Foundation grant award for achievements in music. The nonprofit recognizes the work of emerging and established artists in New England.

Fleming said loves the collaborative aspects of working with singers, both singly and choruses, and instrumentalists. While he is most often an accompanist, he gives a number of solo or small combo performances in concert settings and at private parties. Several weeks ago he played a concert of ragtime music on piano at Aldermere Farm in Rockport; and he recently gave solo organ recitals at St. Peter’s Basilica, Lewiston, the Bowdoin College Chapel and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Brunswick.

Broad Bay Congregational UCC is handicapped-accessible. Refreshments will be available during intermission.

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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