St. Cecilia's 2012 Spring Concerts

As this paper hits the newsstands, the St. Cecilia Chamber Choir will be preparing for its final dress rehearsal for this weekend’s concerts in Newcastle and Camden.

At promptly 7:30 PM on Saturday night the 28th, audiences will begin enjoying sounds of the season employing texts concerning spring, nature, love, sacred themes, and for variety, a few sea chanteys.

Two of the latter, a rousing and amusing version of “What Can You Do with a Drunken Sailor” and a very British piece called “The Mermaid” are sure to be crowd pleasers.

From the Song of Solomon’s famous verses beginning, “For lo, the winter is past” to excerpts from five plays by Shakespeare, this is a program designed to delight listeners of all ages.

The thirty auditioned singers of the ensemble work hard for months to impart precision, passion and nuance to the music its director, Linda Blanchard, chooses. Entrances and cut-offs, dynamics, diction and beautifully rounded English vowels are stressed until she feels the group is performing up to its absolute potential.

It is the kind of effort and attention to detail which has kept an ever-growing audience coming back for 16 years.

Come hear sprightly madrigals in English, French and Italian intricately interwoven. Listen for the lovely jazz vocal solo of a teenaged member and the pieces accompanied by flute or recorder, supplementing Sean Fleming’s virtuoso organ and piano accompaniments. Let the fortissimos of a dramatic piece by English composer Stanford stir you. Close your eyes as Elgar’s lush and peaceful “Lux Aeterna” washes over you. Celebrate spring with John Rutter’s “For the Beauty of The Earth,” local composer Richard Francis’s “For Winter’s Rains and Ruins are Over,” and “A Prayer in Spring,” Robert Frost’s poem newly set to music by Todd Monsell.

Tickets are available now online at, at the Maine Coast Book Shop, Damariscotta, from any singer, or at the door at just $15 each. Children and all students are admitted free of charge. In Newcastle, the price of admission includes the reception which follows, offering not only refreshments, but a chance to chat with the musicians.

If you can’t make Saturday night at the Second Congregational Church, plan a scenic drive to Camden the following afternoon where the program will be repeated at the Congregational Church in the heart of town at 3 PM.