LEWISTON – Music of George Gershwin and Cole Porter are the theme for an “American Songbook” concert scheduled for May 30-31 in South Paris and Lewiston.

It’s the season-ending presentation of the Maine Music Society and the Androscoggin Chorale. As is customary for the Maine Music Society, the late spring concert brings a light pop flavor to the chorale’s repertoire.

“There is so much good music that doesn’t have to be classical,” said John Corrie, conductor and director of the Maine Music Society. “Although our year-round focus is classical, this type of music is also a very important part of what we do.”

The two concerts feature some of the best-known songs of Gershwin and Porter from the 1930s. Corrie said the audiences will hear the music of these giants of American popular music in many different ways.

Both George Gershwin and Cole Porter wrote the music, but Porter’s wry and delightfully perceptive lyrics add a special dimension to his tunes. The chorale’s crisp ping-pong delivery of the male-female exchanges in “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off” is an example of this.

Gershwin’s music also benefits from the timeless lyrics contributed by his brother, Ira.

The baritone voice of guest soloist Peter Allen will be heard in two sets, Corrie said. Allen’s first set will be Gershwin only, and the second will include songs by both composers.

Pianist Bridget Convey performs three Gershwin preludes, and Corrie will present a solo piano rendition of Gershwin’s “I’ve Got Rhythm.”

An a capella group known as Vocal Solution also will be making an appearance for two selections in the “American Songbook” concerts.

Corrie said the Androscoggin Chorale’s rendition of Porter’s title song from “Anything Goes” is going to be “a real rouser.” Another exciting song to be presented from that perennially popular show is “Blow, Gabriel, Blow,”

He said audiences will be treated to “really luscious and tight harmony” on Gershwin’s “Embraceable You.”

There’s also a rendition of Gershwin’s “S’Wonderful.”

Corrie said next year’s program for the popular music presentation is already being planned. He said the music of Frank Loesser will be on the program, and because it’s the 100th anniversary of the birth of composer/conductor Leonard Bernstein, there will be selections from his Broadway and classical works.

Corrie said both audiences and members of the chorale love the songs of Broadway and other compositions that have become standards. The Maine Music Society’s pop concert presentations are very popular each year.

Founded in 1972, the Androscoggin Chorale is an auditioned, mixed-voice chorus with members from Lewiston-Auburn and many surrounding communities.

Corrie said the 40-voice chorale has distinguished itself with an ever evolving level of excellence and professionalism.

The “American Songbook” concert will have two performances. The first on Friday evening, May 30, is at 7:30 p.m. at the First Congregational Church, South Paris. The second is on Saturday, May 31, at 7:30 p.m. at the Franco-American Heritage Center in Lewiston. For tickets, call L/A Arts at 782-7228.


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