NEW GLOUCESTER – Mainers will soon have the opportunity to experience music and art outside of today’s norm at the Maine Festival of American Music in Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village.

This year’s theme is Shaker music and art, which will be displayed in concerts as well as an art exhibit titled “The Human and the Eternal: Shaker Art in its Many Forms.”

The festival, scheduled from June 25 to 28, is in its third year.

It is hosted by The United Society of Shakers and directed by the Portland String Quartet, which will perform at the opening concert at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 25, along with saxophonist Kenneth Radnofsky. They will present Roger Bourland’s Quintet in C for Soprano Saxophone and String Quartet. Opening with “Simple Gifts,” the program also include works by Mendelssohn, a solo work for saxophone by Paul Bonneau and Ernest Bloch’s prize-winning String Quartet No. 2.

A member of the Boston Symphony, Radnofsky is also on the faculty of the New England Conservatory of Music, the Boston Conservatory and the Longy School of Music.

Portland String Quartet members are Stephen Kecskemethy, violin; Julia Adams, viola; Ronald Lantz, violin; and Paul Ross, cello.

At 6 p.m. Thursday, June 26, there will be a tour of “The Human and the Eternal” art exhibit in the 1816 Spinhouse at Shaker Village. On display will be Shaker gift drawings, Shaker drawings of the Maine Shaker villages, oval boxes with woodburned designs, wood carvings, embroidered boxes, fancy baskets, decorated utility items, hooked rugs, painted frames, needlework, mini pails and sieves, still lifes, landscapes, tins, vases, wood, glass, quilts and samplers.

At 7:30 p.m., the venue will change to the historic 1794 Meeting House, where the Portland String Quartet will present an hour program of hymns it has arranged – with comments and memories shared by Sister Frances and Brother Arnold of the Shaker Village.

“The idea was to take the art exhibit and combine it with the music to make a meaningful connection,” said Leonard Brooks of the Shaker Village, which was founded in 1783 and is the only active Shaker community today, according to its Web site.

On Friday, talented student and adult players will be coached in a workshop by each member of the PSQ in preparation for a culminating master class. The master class from 3:45 to 5:30 p.m. will be open to the public at no charge.

The closing concert, at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 28, will be given by the PSQ along with cellist Luis Leguia, who performed with the Boston Symphony, retiring in May 2007. The program featuring Schubert’s Cello Quintet, Op.163, also includes works by Haydn and Walter Piston.

Leguia is designer/maker of the “Luis and Clark” line of carbon-fiber musical instruments. All of the instruments to be played at Saturday night’s concert are made of carbon fiber, according to Brooks.

An annual concert has been held in the Shaker Village for the last 22 years and Brooks sees the Maine Festival of American Music as a way to carry on that tradition.

“For the last couple years, we’ve been showing the European roots in American music,” he said. “It was more of a history of American music. This year, we’ve continued with that theme, but we’re also including a little contemporary music as well.”

Tickets for the festival are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors. Students 21 and younger will be admitted free of charge. Cost of the quartet workshop is $50.

Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village is at 707 Shaker Road. For more information or reservations, call 926-4597 or e-mail [email protected]


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