VoXX: Voice of Twenty, the highly regarded Midcoast a cappella ensemble, will present its annual high summer program three times in early July. The series will open Wednesday, July 6 at 7:30 p.m. at Pascal Hall (former Élan Gallery), 86 Pascal Ave., Rockport; a reception will follow. On Saturday, July 9, VoXX will perform at the Belfast Armory, Route 1, at 7:30 p.m. The series will conclude Sunday, July 10 with a road trip to the Maine Irish Heritage Center, 34 Gray St., Portland. for a 2 p.m. concert.

The group, formerly known as Ave Maris Stella, specializes in early music as well as more contemporary work; and the Innovation and Innovators series will explore the work of musical pioneers through the ages, from Hildegard von Bingen and Gesualdo through Monteverdi and J.S. Bach, culminating in Arvo Pärt and Eric Whitacre.

The repertoire will cover a broad spectrum. Medieval and Renaissance works will be contrasted with more modern pieces, and styles will range from chant through polyphony to contemporary. As part of the “innovation” theme, VoXX will showcase on-site collaboration with artists from other disciplines — painter David Estey of Belfast and dancer Joan Proudman of Freedom — and, rather than follow a music-through-the-ages approach, will group pieces in non-chronological ways to create some unexpected effects.

Tickets are $10, available at the doors. the group’s new CD will be available for sale ($15). For more information, call 236-9413 or visit voiceoftwenty.com.

The first half will open with the rousing “Hosanna to the Son of David” by Thomas Weelkes, then move from the 1500s for “Carmina Chromatico” by di Lassus and Gesualdo’s “O Vos Omnes”; to the 1800s for “Christus Factus Est” by Anton Bruckner. Then the program will jump back to the mid-1300s and feature the modally haunting Kyrie and Agnus Dei from the anonymous “Messe du Tournai” and “O Padua, Sidus Praeclarum” by Johannes Ciconia.

The first half will be rounded out with works by living composers — Sir John Tavener’s setting of William Blake’s “The Lamb” and “Magnificat” by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt. Award-winning abstract painter Estey will spontaneously interpret Pärt’s shimmering harmonies in acrylics on a large canvas while the members of VoXX perform this challenging work. Born in Fort Fairfield, Estey has degrees from the Rhode Island School of Design and George Washington University. He is known primarily for his abstract paintings and prints; and his strong, expressive, figure drawings.

The second half will open in a more traditional manner, with a work by writer, philosopher, Christian mystic and polymath Hildegard von Bingen. An arrangement of her haunting chant “O Virtus Sapientiae” shifts voice pairings above a hypnotic drone. In sharp contrast will be two pieces sung by subsets of the group: Janequin’s lively “Le Chant des Oyseaux,” complete with bird calls in tongue-twisting antique French; followed by Monteverdi’s “Cruda Amarilli,” which is based upon a tragi-comic pastoral drama.

A pair of pieces by Maurice Duruflé are from his 1960 “Quatre Motets sur des Thèmes Grégoriens.” “Ubi Caritas” will be sung by VoXX’s men and “Tota Pulchra Es” by the group’s women. That pairing will lead to VoXX’s first foray into the works of J.S. Bach, specifically two chorales and one chorus from “Jesu Meine Freude.” Dancer and artist Proudman, an alumna of the Ram Island Dance Company and the Portland Ballet, will interpret the Bach while the group sings. The concert closer will be Eric Whitacre’s elegiac “Sleep,” which had its world premiere “Virtual Choir 2.0” performance in April.

“We crafted this Innovation and Innovators program to expand our vocabulary a bit, and to add visual elements to what we do aurally. We also wanted to collaborate with more local artists because there are so many talented people in this area,” said music director Elena Hamilton.

Now in its second decade, VoXX has sung up and down the Maine coast and generally performs two scheduled concert sets per year, in January and early summer. VoXX recently released its first CD, a selection of “Favorites Old & New” from its Winter 2011 concert series. The disc is available for $15 from group members and online at CDBaby.com.

VoXX is unusual in that it is a collectively run, all-volunteer organization. Membership is by audition and singers come from all walks of life including teachers and students, professionals and retirees. Members share the responsibility of bringing music selections to the group and may take turns teaching and leading. The group has built a strong following and is well known for its efforts to inform audiences through program notes and spoken introductions. While VoXX mainly performs a cappella, appropriate instrumentation (recorders, percussion, strings) is occasionally added.

Upcoming projects include the group’s annual mid-January Musike for the Nywe Yeare set of concerts. The 2012 program will be built around works by the great Renaissance composer Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina and also will feature a selection of unusual holiday carols contrasted with a set of “remembrance” songs rounded out by English Masters such as Byrd, Tallis and Stamford.

VoXX is available to perform by invitation. For more information, visit voiceoftwenty.com or call 236-9413.

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