CAMDEN — The Penobscot Bay Orchestra performs its second annual holiday concert Tuesday, Dec. 20, at 7 p.m. at John Street United Methodist Church, 98 John St.

Violinist Philipp Elsner of Northport and Montreal is the featured soloist in the “Allegro” from Bach’s “Brandenburg Concerto #1 in F Major.” Rockport pianist Chris Tofani joins the orchestra in Vaughan Williams’ seasonal classic “Fantasia on Greensleeves,” along with selections from Benjamin Britten’s “Ceremony of Carols,” arranged for orchestra by the conductor, and the “Largo” from “Dvorak’s 9th Symphony.” A sprinkling of seasonal favorites round out the program.

The Penobscot Bay Orchestra was formed last year by local musicians wanting a musical community that merges the arts and social issues. Concert proceeds, collected at the door in lieu of admission, will be given to the Waldo Community Action Partners (Waldo CAP), which provides home heating assistance, rental relief assistance, and other programs for people in need across Waldo, Knox and Lincoln counties.

The orchestra has grown since its start in 2021, with players coming from all over the Penobscot Bay region. “A community orchestra of this size and type is unique in the Midcoast,” said Deirdre McClure, the orchestra’s conductor. “And we are grateful to the John Street Church and its community, who have welcomed us in their beautiful home.”

“Penobscot Bay Orchestra provides an amazing opportunity to play varied music with like-minded players. Conductor Deirdre McClure is a sensitive and community-minded conductor of high caliber, yet she makes everyone feel at home,” said violinist Betsy Levine.

McClure brings a musical spirit and enthusiasm to her conducting, with an ear to phrasing, rhythm, intonation and shared interpretation. A seasoned professional, for 15 years she was music director of the Oakland Opera Theater, leading productions of contemporary operas by Glass, Stravinsky, Britten, Weill, Anthony Davis and many others. Now a resident of Portland, McClure is on the faculty of the University of New England and conducts the Sea Change Chorale in Portland. Prior to 2021, McClure was a member of the faculty of Bay Chamber Concerts, coaching chamber music and conducting its chamber orchestra.

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