Anthony Antolini, artistic director of Down East Singers, has announced the start of this 70-voice Midcoast community chorus’ 2011 spring semester. The first rehearsal will be Tuesday, Jan. 11 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 is the rehearsal accompanist.

The chorus is preparing for its annual Memorial Day concert, to be presented Monday, May 30 at the Camden Opera House. The program will feature Mozart’s “Regina Coeli,” K. 108, and “Solemn Vespers,” K. 339, with soprano soloist Suzanne Nance, classical music director of Maine Public Radio, accompanied by a chamber orchestra of Maine string teachers and their top students. The program will be repeated at Blue Hill Congregational Church Sunday, June 19 at 4 p.m.

Down East Singers also will feature the new, smaller Core Choir that is a part of the larger group but performs repertoire on its own. The 20-voice ensemble, which sang for the first time in Down East’s December concerts, will perform a new work by New York composer Nathan Scalzone titled “The Tide Rises; the Tide Falls,” to a text by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

The spring semester also will include a concert tour of the Rachmaninoff Choir with performances of Rachmaninoff’s Vespers at St. Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church in Newcastle on Thursday, March 10 and at the Church of the Annunciation in New York City on Saturday, March 12. The 80-voice Rachmaninoff Choir includes choristers from Bowdoin Chorus and Down East Singers as well as members of the Choral Art Society in Portland and other choral ensembles throughout New England. Participation in the Rachmaninoff Choir’s tours is voluntary. Rehearsals are held during the final part of Down East’s regular Tuesday rehearsals or at Bowdoin College on Sunday evenings.

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. The Mozart scores will be sold to members at a subsidized price of $10. For more information, visit downeastsingers.org or call 236-8328.

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