Heritage Christmas: Tradition with a jazzy note at Franco Center


Maine Music Society
joins with Voices of
Color in holiday event

LEWISTON — Glorious Christmas music will fill the Franco Center’s concert hall when the Maine Music Society presents the Androscoggin Chorale for “A Heritage Christmas” Dec. 13 and 14.

The Chorale will be joined by Voices of Color, which is the select audition-based choir of Oak Hill High School, Sabattus. Comprised of local students, Voices of Color has performed throughout the northeast and has twice performed at New York City’s prestigious Carnegie Hall.
John Corrie, the Maine Music Society’s artistic director, said this year’s holiday concert will feature several different versions or new arrangements of the seasonal selections.
“A lot of this year’s numbers are a bit more jazzy,” he said.
Voices of Color is marking its 25th anniversary. Its alumni have gone on to become performers and music educators and can be seen in community and professional theater roles statewide.
The 60-voice Androscoggin Choral, conducted by Corrie and accompanied by pianist Bridget Convey, opens the program with “Wassail Carol” by William Mathias, followed by “My Dancing Day” English traditional, arranged by Bob Chilcott, and “Cantate Domino” by Vytautas Miskinis.
Corrie said these are new additions to the Chorale’s repertoire.
The program continues with “Joy to the World!” arranged by Steve Zegree, “Sweetly the Bells are Ringing,” arranged by Karsten Gundermann, and “I Saw Three Ships,” English traditional, arranged by Kevin Robison.
The Oak Hill High School Voices of Color, conducted by John Neal, will perform “Matona, Mia Cara” by Orlando di Lasso, arranged by Russell D. Robinson, and “Avanza Navidad!” by Ruth Morris Gray, followed by three contemporary Latin settings by Jerry Gray (Kyrie, Adoramus te and Gloria in Excelsis Deo).
The high school choir also performs “The Three-Minute Nutcracker,” Tschaikovsky’s music arranged by Mac Huff, and “Jing-A-Ling, Jing-A-Ling,” also arranged by Huff and popularized by the Andrews Sisters. Neikirk and Ashlee Wilson are soloists, with sleigh bells played by Kitaira Harvey.
The combined choirs will sing “Te Quiero” by Alberto Favero, arranged by Liliana Cangiano, and “Lux Aurumque” by Eric Whitacre.
Two carols by the Androscoggin Chorale, “On Christmas Night,” English traditional, arranged by Bob Krogstad, and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” by Felix Mendelssohn, arranged by Jerry Rubino, will conclude the first half of the program.
After an intermission, the choirs join again for “Fantasia on Christmas Carols” by Ralph Vaughan Williams.
Androscoggin Chorale performs “The Ground” and “A Spotless Rose” by Ola Gjeilo.
John Corrie is soloist for “Gifts for the Child of Winter,“ by Bob Chilcott.
The concert concludes with “Coventry Carol,” English traditional, arranged by Craig S. Fryer, “Silent Night” arranged by Paul Johnson and “Go, Tell It on the Mountain,“ spiritual, arranged by Rosephanye Powell.
Soloist for various number in the concert are Elizabeth Bartlett, Barbara Leonard,  Helene St. Hilaire, Trisha Klitsch, David Blocher, Joe Hall and Carl Steidel.
“We will conclude the program with the ever-popular sing-along of several Christmas carols,“ Corrie said.
A silent auction with many unique items will take place for concert-goers in the downstairs space at the Franco Center during both concerts.
The performances of “A Heritage Christmas are at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, December 13, and at 3 p.m. Sunday, December 14. The Franco Center is located at Cedar and Oxford Streets, Lewiston.
Tickets are $20 for adults, $18 for seniors, $10 for students and admission is free for children under 12. For tickets call L/A Arts at 782-7228 or go online to www.mainemusicsociety.org.