Down East Singers, a choral group that regularly changes its musical style each year in December, will collaborate with harpist Virginia Flanagan for a concert program titled Harps of Gold Thursday, Dec. 10, at 7:30 p.m. at St. Patrick's Catholic Church, 380 Academy Hill Road in Newcastle; and Sunday, Dec. 13, at 2 p.m. at the Camden Opera House, 29 Elm St./Route 1. Anthony Antolini of Cushing will conduct the performances.

The featured works include Benjamin Britten's "A Ceremony of Carols," written in 1942 when the composer was on board a ship in the Atlantic en route back to his native England from the USA as German U-Boats menaced travelers. Also on the program is a 2002 work by Chicago composer Frank Ferko titled "A Festival of Carols," which sets 19th-century American Christmas poetry to new music.

San Francisco composer Kirke Mechem's lively and entertaining "Seven Joys of Christmas," composed in 1966, will end the concerts with settings of carols from England, Spain, France, Japan and Germany. The performance also includes "Sleep of the Infant Jesus" by Henri Büsser, a rarely heard French Christmas song for solo voice and harp featuring tenor David Myers, Jr.; and Michael Larkin's "Fantasy on Creator of the Stars of Night," which weaves two Christmas Gregorian chants together in an unexpected way.

All the Harps of Gold music is accompanied by harpist Virginia Flanagan of Alna, who studied harp with Lucile Lawrence while earning a BA in Music from Wellesley College and holds a Master of Music degree in Harp Performance from Boston University. As a student, she attended the Tanglewood Institute and was the harpist for the MIT Symphony. Flanagan also studied with Alice Chalifoux at the Salzedo Harp Colony in Camden. She is part of Maine's vibrant musical life as a freelance harpist, performing regularly with the Midcoast Symphony and with Bangor and Augusta symphonies; and also with ensembles at Bates, Bowdoin and Colby colleges, Sheepscot Valley Chorus and Penobscot Bay Singers. In addition to regular private lessons, she is offering a new teaching program, Hands-On Harp, a group-format beginner-level introduction to the harp for those curious about the instrument.

Admission to the St. Patrick's Church performance is by suggested donation of $20; no tickets are necessary. Tickets for the Camden Opera House performance are $20, free for those age 18 and younger. Advance tickets are available from chorus members; online at; by calling 619-0413; or at the following retail outlets — The Highlands Coffee House, Thomaston; The Grasshopper Shop, Rockland; and The Owl & Turtle Bookshop, Camden.  If tickets remain, they will be available at the box office at 1 p.m. the day of the Camden performance.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or