ROCKPORT, Maine — With a mission “to sing as a community for the community,” Midcoast Community Chorus will present songs of hope, peace and transformation at its “Rise, Walk, Sing” winter concert at 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 12, at Strom Auditorium in Rockport.
The audience will be treated to music from all over the world and from various traditions, including songs from Kenya, South Africa, and Israel, the American Folk tradition, and the Civil Rights movement. The common thread is the message that music serves a real purpose in the human experience that crosses all boundaries, and is a powerful vehicle for change, on both a personal and a global level. “There is an ‘of courseness’ to singing,” said Mimi Bornstein, founder and artistic director of MCC. “Music is an expression of our daily lives and should therefore be part of our daily lives. When we sing, we change who we are, and when we change who we are, we change the world.”
The January concert will be an intentional showcase of the full spectrum of MCC’s programs, bringing together the breadth of all the musical and educational programs and the participants who range from six year olds to seasoned professional musicians.
In place of its traditional spring semester, in 2013 MCC offered several workshops and special events. During that time, the chorus and its artistic director reflected on the questions of how to best serve the ever-growing diversity of singers while maintaining the quality that MCC is known for, and how to continue to offer ways for anyone to participate, regardless of musical background. “Diversifying our programming has been an organic process that has grown out of our success,” said Bornstein, in a press release.
The result is tiered programming with a number of new offerings to complement the existing 140-voice, non-auditioned Midcoast Community Chorus. There is a new 50-voice auditioned Chorale, drawn from MCC’s larger group. An optional music literacy class gives singers the chance to further empower their musical journeys, and enhance the skill level of the collective. The Midcoast Community Children’s Chorus (MC3!) has expanded to include two children’s choirs: Morning Doves for 6 to 9 year olds and Phoenix for 10 to 13 year olds, with Toki Oshima as the new director. Joining this full array of musicians at the January concert will be the house band comprised of Sean Fleming on keyboard, Chuck McGregor on bass, Jeff Densmore and Jeff Wolovitz on percussion, Phil Clement on guitar, and a trumpet trio. As always, the audience will be invited to join as active participants during the community songs.
The enthusiasm shown by audience members joining with the chorus to create nearly 1000 voices joined in song led to another new program, Community Sing!, now offered the fourth Sunday of every month. Led by Bornstein, the express purpose of these Sunday afternoon gatherings is to bring local community members together for the sheer joy of singing, with no preparation, practice, or training necessary.
Community-made music is a growing phenomenon and movement, with media coverage on NPR and in The New York Times that explores how music unites people in spirit and for social change. MCC has become a model for other groups across the country and will continue this mission to empower others through music.
Join MCC for an afternoon of song and celebration, and the anticipated announcement of its beneficiary for the upcoming June 2014 concert. The January concert promises to be uplifting and transformational. “There is an arc to the storyline of the concert. I ask all of us to go on a personal journey with these songs. They are our teachers, and it is up to each of us to listen for the meaning,” said Bornstein.
General admission tickets ($15) are available at: HAV II in Camden, The Grasshopper Shop in Rockland, and The Green Store in Belfast. Reserved seating ($22 and $25) and credit card sales are available by calling 207-975-0582 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The concert snow date is Sunday, January 19 at 4 p.m. at the Strom. FMI: 207-975-0582 or www.mccsings.org.