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Musica Sacra: Advent 2013 to honor Blessed Mother at Saturday concert

Michael C. York | BDN
Michael C. York | BDN
Dr. Kevin Birch (right), music director at St. John Catholic Church in Bangor, directs the Chamber Choir of St. John's Parish as it rehearses Lenten music in 2009.
By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — Music in Honor of the Blessed Mother is the theme of Musica Sacra: Advent 2013.

It will be performed by the St. John’s Chamber Choir at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at St. John’s Catholic Church, 207 York St.

The concert will feature “Totus Tuus,” written by the late Police composed Henryk Goercki. It was written on the occasion of Pope John Paul II’s third pilgrimage to his native Poland, according to Kevin Birch, choir director and organist for the program.

“Totus tuus” was the Pope’s personal motto, Birch said recently in an email. The Latin phrase means “totally yours.”

“This phrase is not only an expression of piety, or simply an expression of devotion,” John Paul II, who died in 2005, wrote in his 1994 book, “Crossing the Threshold of Hope.” “It is more. During the Second World War, while I was employed as a factory worker, I came to be attracted to Marian devotion.

“At first, it had seemed to me that I should distance myself a bit from the Marian devotion of my childhood, in order to focus more on Christ,” he said of his motto. “Thanks to Saint Louis of Monfort, I came to understand that true devotion to the Mother of God is actually Christocentric, indeed, it is very profoundly rooted in the Mystery of the Blessed Trinity, and the mysteries of the Incarnation and Redemption.”

The choir will sing two motets, “Locus Iste” and “O Sanctissima,” by Welsh composer Paul Mealor and the “Magnificat,” or, “Song of Mary,” by British composer Grayston Ives.

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