Tapestry Singers: Weaving vocal and instrumental music and dance

Posted:  Wednesday, December 5, 2018 - 11:00am

For this year’s Tapestry Singers holiday performance, “Woven in Song,” the audience will be treated to a panoply of songs—some familiar and some new—with harp, marimba, guitar, woodwinds, and piano accompaniment. The concerts take place on Saturday, Dec. 15 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 16 at 4 p.m. at St. Patrick’s Church, 380 Academy Hill Rd. in Newcastle.

Music Director Beth Preston continues her Tapestry tradition of finding unusual arrangements of well-known and lesser known holiday music. This year, the first half of the concert consists of a collection of eleven Spanish and Catalán carols and lullabies arranged by composer Conrad Susa. Coincidently, local Spanish teacher Lourdes Von Vogt, a native of Barcelona, joined Tapestry Singers in the fall, and members were able to avail themselves of her help in learning authentic pronunciation. The carols and lullabies are arranged for marimba, harp, and guitar accompaniment, contributing to the lively Latin flavor of the music.

Nathaniel Hackworth of the University of Maine, winner of the Midcoast Symphony Orchestra’s inaugural concerto competition, joins Tapestry to play the marimba, while Suki Flanagan on harp and Dave Martin on guitar round out the instrumentation. Later in the program, keyboardist Sean Fleming and woodwind player Marcus Hutchins also accompany the chorus on many songs.

The concert opens with an instrumental piece by Conrad Susa that will be joined by dancers with choreography by Michelle Bruckner. Many favorite songs of the season follow in the second half of the program, including Howard Blake’s “Walking in the Air” from the film “The Snowman,” and the much-loved “White Christmas.” Choral music fans will especially enjoy Eric Whitacre’s composition, “Glow.”

Interestingly, all of the songs’ composers or arrangers are still living, bringing a contemporary feel to some of the tunes that harken back to ancient times. Two rather raucous “wassail” songs add to the jollity, and a medley of Hanukkah songs brings the Jewish tradition into the celebration. The concert ends with the Tapestry Singers’ tradition of surrounding the audience while holding candles and performing “Silent Night,” to which the audience is invited to sing along.

Tickets for “Woven in Song” will go fast. They can be purchased online at www.TapestrySingersMaine.org,  directly from chorus members, or at the door. Tickets are $15 for adults, free for students.

The Tapestry Singers of Maine is a group of approximately 60 auditioned singers ranging in age from high school to retirement. They rehearse on Monday evenings throughout the school year at Lincoln Academy in Newcastle, where Beth Preston is the choral conductor and music teacher.