ROCKPORT, Maine — The 35th season of Down East Singers will begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 9, at Nativity Lutheran Church, 179 Old County Road. Registration is scheduled at 6:15 p.m., and new singers will be asked to have voice-placement checks. This fall the ensemble will be directed by guest conductor Shannon Marsh Chase while artistic director Anthony Antolini is on sabbatical leave. Chase is artistic director of the Brunswick-based Vox Nova Chamber Choir, founded in 2009. Jennifer McIvor will return in her fifth year as piano accompanist.
The group’s annual December concerts will be a Latin-American Christmas with repertoire sung entirely in Spanish. The two featured works are “Navidad Nuestra” and “Misa Criolla,” both by Argentine composer Ariel Ramírez. The performances will also include Afro-Colombian music arranged by Antonio Rincón and other seasonal works from Central and South America. Performances will be on Thursday, Dec. 11, at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Newcastle, and Sunday, Dec. 14, at Camden Opera House. Tenor soloists in the Ramírez works will be David Myers Jr., and Anthony Antolini, accompanied by a combo of electric keyboard, two flutes, guitar and percussion.
The spring semester for Down East Singers will include a Memorial Day concert featuring Igor Stravinsky’s “Symphony of Psalms” (deemed the greatest choral work of the 20th century by Time Magazine) and a newly commissioned work by Brooklyn composer Elizabeth Brown for theremin, piano and chorus.
Down East Singers’ usual membership is about 70, and residents from throughout the Midcoast participate. It is open to all community members, and new singers are welcome. Sight-reading skills are desired but not required, as long as an ability to match pitch accurately is demonstrated. Singers are expected to work on their music at home between the weekly rehearsals. The membership fee is $65 per semester, and high school students sing for free.
More information is available at http://www.downeastsingers.org or by calling (207) 619-0413.