UMF Community Chorus and Orchestra present winter concert, Dec. 7

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FARMINGTON — At 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7, the anniversary date of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the University of Maine at Farmington Community Chorus and Orchestra will present a concert that is both a memorial and an expression of hope.

Under the baton of the chorus’s director, Bruce McInnes, with accompaniment by Patricia Hayden, the concert will begin with Mendelssohn’s sacred cantata, “Hear My Prayer.” The cantata will open with words from Psalm 55 where the soloist asks for guidance in a world of woe. Suddenly, “The enemy shouteth,” and it seems all is lost. But then, the cry “Lord, hear me call!” leads to one of Mendelssohn’s most beautiful musical offerings that transports us to another world, “O for the wings of a dove! Far away would I rove!”

Next on the program is one of most beloved works of choral music, Fauré’s “Requiem, the Mass for the Dead,” which serves as a magnificent tribute to those who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor. With an orchestration that focuses on the lower strings—violas, cellos and bass—the Requiem has an especially somber and velvety tone, but is enlivened with the rich and striking harmonies that are so characteristic of Fauré, not to mention the harp that appears in several movements. The last movement “In Paradisum” offers a gentle hope that those lost have found their way to Paradise.

The final work on the program is Beethoven’s “Choral Fantasy,” conducted by Philip Carlsen and featuring Steven Pane in the demanding and brilliant solo piano part. As in his Ninth Symphony, Beethoven in this work employs a text that expresses a hopeful ideal of the fraternity of mankind, concluding with the words, “Once one’s being has taken flight, a choir of spirits resounds in response. Accept then, you beautiful souls, when love and strength are united, Divine grace is bestowed upon Man.”

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The event is sponsored by the UMF Division of Sound, Performance and Visual Inquiry.

The concert will be held in UMF’s Nordica Auditorium. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and free for children and UMF students. For further information, email carlsen@maine.edu.

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