LEWISTON — The Maine Music Society’s “Battle of the Blends” is back for its 19th annual concert on Saturday, Nov. 3.

This year’s edition of the popular show opens the society’s 2012-2013 season, which also includes “A Heritage Christmas” in December, Handel’s “Messiah” on April 6-7, and “Songs of the Garden” on May 11-12.

“Battle of the Blends XIX” features five a cappella choruses ranging in size from quartet to a couple of dozen voices. It is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the Franco-American Heritage Center, 46 Cedar St.

“This has been a fabulous series since it began,” said Judith Andrucki, who has been involved in organizing many of these annual vocal presentations through the years. The concerts, she said, offer an opportunity to hear the unaccompanied joy of vocal harmony.

Two of this year’s groups, Maine-ly Harmony and Renaissance Voices, are new to the local presentation.

Maine-ly Harmony is an organization of women of all ages who enjoy blending their voices in the a cappella barbershop harmony style. Members of the chorus hail from Androscoggin, Kennebec, Waldo, Penobscot, Cumberland and Lincoln counties.

The group, chartered in 1989 under its national parent organization of Harmony Inc., offers musical education and fundraising assistance to civic and charitable organizations.

Renaissance Voices is a 21-member a cappella chorus based in Portland and directed by Harold Stover. Besides music of its namesake period, the ensemble performs works ranging as far back as the Middle Ages and as far forward as local, national and world premieres of new works.

Two groups appeared in last year’s “Battle of the Blends.” They are Talk To The Hand and Take Note.

Talk To The Hand is a women’s a cappella quartet rocking out in venues in and around Boston. With no instruments other than their voices, the women sing a variety of pop, rock and country music.

Take Note is a co-ed a cappella group founded at Bates College in 2008. Its repertoire consists of an eclectic blend of classics and current hits, ranging from pop to folk to rap.

The fifth group is a returning high-school chorus that has appeared in five “Battle of the Blends” concerts. Mt. Blue Voices of Farmington was formed in 1995, when members of the Mt. Blue High School chorus approached their director and asked if he would start up an auditioned vocal ensemble. Since then, each edition of the group has been recognized as one of Maine’s premier high-school vocal groups.

Mt. Blue Voices has entertained audiences across the state, toured the eastern provinces of Canada and performed at Walt Disney World in Florida five times during the last decade.

The Maine Music Society’s December presentations of “A Heritage Christmas” will be in Lewiston and in South Paris. The Androscoggin Chorale will be joined by the Lewiston High School Chamber Choir, under the direction of Darren Avery. The Chamber Choir and Chorale will conclude the concert, aided by accompanist Bridget Convey.

As is tradition, John Corrie, conductor and artistic director of the Maine Music Society, will invite audience members to sing several Christmas carols with the combined choirs.

The two presentations of Handel’s “Messiah” will be performed in April by the Androscoggin Chorale with soloists Susan Strickland, Shannon Rolbiecki, Martin Lescault and Leon Griesbach, along with the Maine Music Society Orchestra.

Other offerings during the Maine Music Society’s upcoming season are a silent auction in conjunction with the presentations of “A Heritage Christmas” in December and a wine-tasting event on Feb. 10.

For information about tickets and shows, call 782-7228 or visit www.mainemusicsociety.org.


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