Anthony Antolini, artistic director of Down East Singers, has announced the start of the 70-voice Midcoast community chorus’ 31st season. The first rehearsal will be Tuesday, Sept. 14, at 7 p.m. at Nativity Lutheran Church, 179 Old County Road, with registration and voice-placement checks for new singers starting at 6:15 p.m. Jennifer McIvor will begin this season as the group’s new piano accompanist.

The chorus is preparing for its annual December Feast Music concerts, to be presented Friday, Dec. 10 at Second Congregational Church in Warren; and Sunday, Dec. 12 at the Camden Opera House. The program will feature choral works by San Francisco composer Kirke Mechem including his “Seven Joys of Christmas,” “Christmas Past and Christmas Present” and “Birthdays in Round Numbers.”

This season, Down East Singers will be inaugurating a new, small, auditioned ensemble that will be a part of the larger group but also sing some repertoire on its own. The size of this group is yet to be determined but will probably number no more than 24 voices. Auditions for the small ensemble will be held after the semester begins. Repertoire for the new ensemble will include Franz Biebl’s “Ave Maria” and Heinrich Schütz’s “Also hat Gott die Welt geliebt (For God so loved the world).”

Spring semester will be devoted to an all-Mozart program to be performed on Memorial Day, May 30, at the Camden Opera House and at Blue Hill Congregational Church on June 19. Repertoire will include Mozart’s “Regina Coeli,” K. 108; and Solemn Vespers, K. 339, with soprano soloist Suzanne Nance, music director of Maine Public Radio.

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; high school students sing for free.

For more information, visit downeastsingers.org or call 354-2263.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to dernest@villagesoup.com.