Anthony Antolini, artistic director of Down East Singers, has announced the start of this 70-voice Midcoast community chorus’ 32nd season. The first rehearsal will be Tuesday, Sept. 13 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. Jennifer McIvor will return in her second year as the group’s piano accompanist.

The chorus is preparing for its annual December concerts, with an all-French theme this year, to be presented Thursday, Dec. 8, at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Newcastle; Friday, Dec. 9 at the Franco-American Heritage Center in Lewiston; and Sunday, Dec. 11 at the Camden Opera House. The program will feature French, French-Canadian and Acadian Christmas music with Acadian ensemble Ti’ Acadie; and Francis Poulenc’s rollicking “Gloria” with soprano soloist Christina Astrachan.

For a second season, Down East Singers will continue the Core Choir, a small auditioned ensemble that is a part of the larger group but sings some repertoire on its own. Auditions for the choir will be held after the semester begins. The Core Choir will begin its season singing for a wedding in late October. It also will perform select repertoire during the Christmas concerts.

The spring semester will include a performance of Carl Orff’s beloved “Carmina Burana” April 14 at Strom Auditorium; and a Memorial Day concert featuring Handel’s “Utrecht Te Deum and Jubilate,” composed in 1712.

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 236-8328.

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