“Heaven on Earth” is the theme of the Acadia Choral Society’s 2018 spring concerts at 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 5, and 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 6, at St. Saviour’s Episcopal Church in Bar Harbor. The final May concert will be at 3 p.m. on Sunday, May 13, at St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Ellsworth.
The program will include works in diverse styles — from Renaissance to contemporary — that evoke a heavenly feeling. The chorus is happy to welcome its third guest director, Sing Rose, an outstanding professional vocalist who selected the program and has shared her knowledge of choral singing with grace and enthusiasm. Kimberly Haller, accompanist and assistant director, will add her skill and artistry to the performances, along with Noel Chelberg on string bass and soprano soloists Cassie Belka and Annie Leonardi-Merchant.
The program will open with “O Vos Omnes,” a Rennaissance work with unique and surprising harmonic changes and beautiful lines. It will be followed by Arcadelt’s sweet and lovely “Il bianco e dolce cigno” and Samuel Barber’s “Sure on This Shining Night,” the most famous of the composer’s art songs. “In Windsor Forest” by R. Vaughan Williams will provide an earthy balance with singing of conspiracy, beer and fairies!
The program also will include Mozart’s “Laudate Dominum,” a setting of Psalm 117 for soprano solo and chorus that offers another moment of heavenly beauty.
“Jesu, Meine Freude,” the program’s featured work, is perhaps Bach’s most striking and unique motet. It is the longest and most complex of the motets, and every movement is beautiful, accessible and heartfelt. Gawthrop’s “Sing Me to Heaven” has been touching the heart strings of audiences since it was composed in 1991. It has sold nearly 10,000 copies each year since then, and it has been recorded hundreds of times. You will learn why as soon as you hear it.
As a special feature, the chorus will have the privilege to present the premiere performance of a contemporary piece, “Happiness,” composed by Sing Rose’s pianist/composer husband, John Alan Rose. This new work is filled with distinctive and spiritual colors and reminds the listener that happiness need not be sought after externally, but that it dwells within each of us.
Tickets for the May concerts are available for a suggested donation of $15 at Sherman’s Books & Stationery and Fiore Artisan Olive Oils & Vinegars, both in Bar Harbor; the Southwest Harbor Public Library; and the SevenArts Gallery at 192 Main St. in Ellsworth. Tickets also can be obtained from chorus members. For more info, visit www.acadiachoralsociety.org.