For many music-lovers, the holidays are not complete without Handel’s all-time favorite, Messiah, and in what has become an annual tradition, Blue Hill Bach will present the work’s Christmas selections on Saturday, December 16 at Blue Hill First Congregational Church. The cast of soloists will feature students Lorna Stephens and Ellenore Tarr, mezzo-soprano, alto Catharine Cloutier, and tenor Zachary Fisher, as well as sopranos Sarah Schneider and Michele Corbeil, mezzo-soprano Marcia Gronewold Sly, tenor Francis John Vogt, bass John David Adams, and trumpet player Jack Burt.
A small ensemble featuring some of the area’s finest Baroque musicians, under the direction of Gerald Wheeler, will include concertmaster Heidi Powell, violinist Mary Jo Carlsen, violist Anatole Wieck, cellist Max Treitler, bassist Christopher Kapsha, trumpet player Kyle Goupille, and timpanist Lynette Woods. Using Handel’s original instrumentation, they will be joined by the 20-voice Blue Hill Bach chorus. In what has become a Blue Hill Bach tradition, the audience will be invited to join in singing the “Hallelujah” chorus at the end of the evening.
Founded in 2011, Blue Hill Bach brings historically informed performances of Baroque music for voice and instruments to Downeast Maine. In the coming year, Blue Hill Bach will celebrate J.S. Bach’s birthday with an all-Bach concert on Sunday, March 18 at St. Francis Episcopal Church featuring organist Jonathan Dimmock. The 2018 summer festival on July 26 – 28 will present Bach’s Mass in B minor and Purcell’s opera, Dido and Aeneas.
Blue Hill Bach draws on the wealth of talent in the region—including high school and college students—and visiting artists who specialize in early music. The young organization has received strong support from the community for its programs, with sold-out audiences, an active volunteer board, and funding from individuals, businesses, and foundations. Blue Hill Bach has received grants from Early Music America and the Maine Arts Commission for outreach programs, and from the Maine Community Foundation for capacity building and for the Marville Young Artist Fellowship. The fellowship, which was instituted in 2013, offers emerging young musicians opportunities to learn about Baroque performance practice by working with established performers.
This year’s performance of Messiah will begin at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 16. Admission is by advance reservation or at the door: $25 general/$10 students/under 18 free. For tickets and information, go to www.bluehillbach.org or phone (207) 613-5454.