Lincoln Festival Chorus: ‘Panorama of American Music Tradition’

Posted:  Tuesday, August 8, 2017 - 12:15pm

Now in its 37th season, Lincoln Festival Chorus, conducted by Anthony Antolini, will perform a panorama of works by American composers from the Revolutionary period to the 21st century on Friday, Aug. 18, at 7:30 pm at the Bowdoin College Chapel in Brunswick and on Sunday, Aug. 20, at 7:30 p.m. at the Boothbay Harbor Congregational Church.  The featured work is Leonard Bernstein’s jazzy “Chichester Psalms” with treble soloist Sage Kosky, harpist Virginia Flanagan, and percussionist John Mehrmann joining organist Sean Fleming, accompanist of the group.

The program begins with Cecil Effinger’s moving arrangement of “America the Beautiful” with some verses sung by both chorus and audience. Early American repertoire includes Maine’s first composer, Supply Belcher (1752-1836), and New England's first “singing master,” William Billings (1746-1800). Three early hymns from the Shaker tradition, arranged by Kevin Siegfried, and Robert Shaw’s setting of “Wondrous Love”represent the earlier years of American singing.   Choral compositions of twentieth century composer Myron Roberts, a Maine resident at the end of his career, will include his evening canticles and the motet “O Lord, We Beseech Thee.”

A highlight of the performances will be the premiere of Maine musician Sean Fleming’s composition for chorus and piano, “Woods in Winter,” to the poetry of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Mr. Fleming’s work, written in 2016,  is dedicated to conductor Anthony Antolini.

Homage is paid to America’s African-American musical tradition with spirituals both lively and contemplative by Houston Bright, Harry T. Burleigh, William L. Dawson and André J. Thomas.

Bernstein’s “Chichester Psalms” concludes the concert. The three-movement work, sung in Hebrew, was commissioned by the Very Rev. Walter Hussey, Dean of Chichester Cathedral in England, for the Cathedral’s 1965 Choir Festival.  Originally scored for brass ensemble, timpani, two harps and strings, the work was later arranged for organ, harp and percussion so that it could be performed in smaller venues. Verses from many familiar psalms are set in a dramatic format. Bernstein originally composed much of the music for “Chichester  Psalms” as a musical setting of Thornton Wilder’s play, “The Skin of our Teeth,” but he decided after months of work that the project would not work. Shortly thereafter, when Walter Hussey commissioned “Chichester Psalms,” Bernstein decided to recycle this music into the composition that is now considered the composer’s most popular choral work.

Adult tickets are $20. Tickets for those under 18 and members of the military on active duty are free but must be picked up where adult tickets are sold.  Tickets are available for both performances at Sherman’s Books in Boothbay Harbor and Damariscotta and on Lincoln Arts Festival Website,  Tickets for the Bowdoin Chapel performance are on sale at Gulf of Maine Books in Brunswick and Sherman’s Bookstores. Any remaining tickets will be available at the door. Doors open at 7 p.m.  Both concert venues are handicap accessible.

For more information please call (207) 633-3913 or e-mail

Event Date: 
Sun, 08/20/2017 - 7:30pm