The St. Cecilia Chamber Choir will present its spring concert at 8 p.m. Friday, May 14, in the Second Congregational Church in Newcastle and at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 15, at Saints Peter and Paul Church, 135 Ash St., Lewiston.

The concert in Lewiston will benefit from the acoustics of the basilica’s newly renovated apse and is well worth the trip for lovers of choral music, according to a spokesman for the choir.

The concert program gives special emphasis to French composers with the “Messe Solennelle” of Jean Langlais, a 20th century organist at the celebrated Basilica of Sainte Clotilde in Paris, and Gabriel Faure’s “Cantique de Jean Racine” composed in the 19th century during the French romanticism period.

Both works have powerful, lush choral harmonies that cause the 34-voice choir to sound at times like an organ.

A Shaker hymn also

The concert continues in its second half with “Let All the World in Every Corner Sing,” a stirring work for organ and chorus by English composer Kenneth Leighton, and Pierre Villette’s “Hymne a la Vierge,” an a cappella piece that celebrates the mother of Jesus.

The choir next presents the arrangement of a Shaker hymn by William Hawley and a composition by Maine composer Richard Francis titled “Come, Holy Spirit,” based on a text written by Waldoboro resident Lucy Trial.

St. Cecilia’s sopranos and altos also will present Gabriel Faure’s “Tantum Ergo,” using the words of 13th century St. Thomas Aquinas.

The program concludes with two glorious choral pieces by British composers: John Rutter’s “I Will Lift up Mine Eyes” based on Psalm 121 and the joyous “Jubilate Deo” of William Walton, which premiered at the English Bach Festival in 1972.

At both concerts, the St. Cecilia Chamber Choir will have for sale CD recordings of its performance last spring of Gabriel Faure’s “Requiem.” That performance also took place at Saint Peter’s in Lewiston. The Faure “Requiem” compact disc also is on sale for $15 at Maine Coast Book Shop and Serendipity Shop in Damariscotta.

The St. Cecilia choir is directed by Linda Blanchard, assisted by organist-accompanist Sean Fleming. Blanchard and Fleming, both of Whitefield, also direct and accompany the Sheepscot Valley Chorus and the choirs of St. Andrews Church in Newcastle.

This chamber choir is about to celebrate its 10th anniversary as an auditioned, amateur chorus.

Tickets to the church concerts will be $12 at the door, with free admission for those 21 and under.

For more information or to reserve advance tickets at $10, contact Jane Farlow at 832-7816 or at [email protected]

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