Welcoming, singing the summer solstice

Posted June 14, 2011, at 5 p.m.

BANGOR — Celebrating the beginning of summer is an age-old tradition honored around the world. This year several choral groups have joined together to plan a festive summer solstice celebration that welcome the public on Saturday, June 18, at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 120 Park St.

Beginning at 6 p.m., an open drum circle will set the beat for an art and craft show and sale, farmers market and socializing. Starting at 7 p.m., the concert and celebration will move into full swing.

Performances by Women with Wings, Voices For Peace and Circle Voice will share the joys of summer, growth, love and light while community ceremony is woven throughout the event.

For more than 17 years, Women With Wings, directed by Linda Koehler, has explored women’s spirituality through music. Through song and chant, Wings has nourished members’ spirits, enhanced consciousness of Mother Earth and celebrated traditions from around the world.

Voices for Peace, directed by Marty Kelley, has been singing songs that inspire peace, love, justice and hope for six years.

Both of these choral groups meet weekly in Bangor. Joining them from the Auburn area will be Circle Voice, directed by Leah Wolfsong. As Wolfsong’s website explains, “This rag tag collection of artists, mothers, teachers, laborers, people of all walks of life come together to lift the spirits of their listeners and enjoy the fruits of being part of something creative, all with the light of love guiding them.”

Organizers of this event said they hope that the 2011 solstice celebration will be the beginning of an annual tradition in Bangor, expanding to more venues and wider community participation.

Women with Wings will perform songs written by members of the group, including “When We Made the Music,” by founding director, the late Kay Gardner. Songs written by Mida Ballard, Jill Packard, Cathy Elliott and director Linda Koehler also will be featured.

Instrumentalists Tracy Bigney of Bangor on keyboard, Laurie Cartier of Bangor on drum, Dana Williams of Belfast on guitar and David Stillman on guitar and harmonica will accompany Voices for Peace when they sing their selections. These will include “By Our Lives” by Georgina Chambers, “Only Love Can Do That” by Richard Mekdei (arranged by Daryl Rhodes and Marty Kelley) and “All the Weary Mothers” by Joan Baez (arranged by Marty Kelley).

Circle Voice will perform several songs by their musical director Leah Wolfsong, including “Ceremony” and two by unknown composers: “Seed in the East” and “Spiraling into the Center.” Instrumentalists  Dan T. Bear, Reinaldo Cortez, Rich Frino and Leah Wolfsong will accompany the singers.

The  choruses will perform several songs together, and at the end all celebrators will be invited to join in the singing.

A suggested donation of $10 a person or $25 per family will benefit the Peace and Justice Center of Eastern Maine, which supports and links groups and individuals concerned with peace, justice and a sustainable environment; and the BARKA Foundation, which works toward clean water accessibility, sanitation, irrigation, sustainable agriculture, women’s empowerment, education and health care in Burkina Faso. Information is available at http://www.peacectr.org and http://thebarkafoundation.org.

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