LSM Newswire

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Mozarts Requiem Features World Premiere at Merrill Auditorium March 30

Presented by The Choral Art Society and Portland Ballet Company

PORTLAND, Maine The Choral Art Society and Portland Ballet Company are joining forces once again to explore an already world-renowned choral and orchestral work with the beauty of dance. The two organizations will present Mozarts powerful masterpiece, the Requiem, on Tuesday, March 30 at 7:30 p.m. at Merrill Auditorium in Portland.

This riveting performance will feature the world premier of new choreography by Kennet Oberly; the Choral Art Society singers; Portland Ballet Company dancers, and musicians from the Portland Symphony Orchestra. The dancers embody the emotion of the piece, its sense of grief, resurrection and hope. The Requiem celebrates the beauty and strength of life, and the power of belief in the face of death. The dance will visually enhance the majesty and spirituality of the music.

The Portland Ballet and the Choral Art Society have partnered in the past, in particular their productions of Carmina Burana received rave reviews from fans and press.

"Every composition has a story, even if it is only, 'I want to write a song,' said Robert Russell, music director of the Choral Art Society. The story of the genesis, and eventual synthesis, of Mozart's Requiem still grabs me. And I have read it a dozen times. We hope many will want to be taken in by its mesmerizing spirit."

The Maine Arts Commission (MAC) awarded Portland Ballet and the Choral Art Society a Good Idea Visibility Arts Grant of $1,500 to create a video element to promote its collaborative performance. MAC awards the grant with the goal of increasing the visibility of a specific artistic project.

Our joint performance of Mozarts Requiem with the Choral Art Society will be a truly extraordinary experience for audience members, notes Eugenia L. OBrien, artistic director of Portland Ballet. This grant will help us reach a broader audience and share information about the performance with those who know and love Mozart, as well as those who might want to be introduced to his work through a powerful and emotional performance of music and dance.

Tickets are available through PortTix at www.porttix.com or by calling 207-842-0800 or in person at 20 Myrtle St., Portland, Monday through Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. Tickets purchased over the phone or online will be assessed a $5 per ticket handling charge; tickets range in price from $17- $62.

The concert is sponsored by Tenney UBS Inc. This production has also received funding from the Libra Foundation, the Davis Family Foundation, the Rines/Thompson Fund of the Maine Community Foundation and the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.

About The Choral Art Society:
The Society has more than 150 members who perform in three distinct ensembles: the symphonic Masterworks Chorus, the mid-sized Choral Art Singers, and the intimate a cappella Camerata. All singers are skilled amateurs, selected by audition. The Society offers an annual concert series and appears regularly as guests of the Portland Symphony Orchestra. Robert Russell, professor of music at the University of Southern Maine, is the conductor and artistic director of The Choral Art Society.

For more information about The Choral Art Society and the season of performances visit www.choralart.org or call (207) 828-0043.

About Portland Ballet:Į
Portland Ballet was founded in 1980 with a mission to enrich the community through classical ballet training, education, outreach, and performance. This small professional company performs throughout the year in southern Maine, presenting full-length classics as well as highly regarded contemporary choreography under the direction of Artistic Director Eugenia L. O'Brien.

For more information about Portland Ballet, its school and programs, visit www.portlandballet.org or call 207-772-9671.
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Monday, December 14, 2009

The Choral Art Society Presents the Epiphany Celebration at the Immanuel Baptist Church January 2 in PortlandĮĮ

PORTLAND, Maine Celebrate the new year with the Choral Art Societys annual Epiphany Celebration at Immanuel Baptist Church in Portland on Saturday, January 2 at 7:30 p.m.ĮĮ

The concert features the Camerata chorus, the most select group of The Choral Art Society, and instrumentalists including organist Dan Moore.ĮĮ

The Epiphany Celebration is a wonderful way to usher in 2010 and reenergize after the holidays, notes Robert Russell, music director of Choral Art Society. This concert will offer hope, inspiration, and celebration for the upcoming year. ĮĮ

Tickets are available at www.choralart.org or by calling 828-0043. They are priced at $15.00 for advance sales and $20.00 at the door at time of the performance. Tickets are also available at the fine stores that support Choral Art Society: Longfellow Books and Starbird Music in Portland, Books etc. in Falmouth, and Gulf of Maine Books in Brunswick. ĮĮ

The concert is sponsored by Duffy Anderson Investment Management, Inc.

About The Choral Art Society:Į
The Society has more than 150 members who perform in three distinct ensembles: the symphonic Masterworks Chorus, the mid-sized Choral Art Singers, and the intimate a cappella Camerata. All singers are skilled amateurs, selected by audition. The Society offers an annual concert series and appears regularly as guests of the Portland Symphony Orchestra. Robert Russell, professor of music at the University of Southern Maine, is the conductor and artistic director of The Choral Art Society.

For more information about The Choral Art Society and the season of performances visit www.choralart.org or call (207) 828-0043.

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Choral Art Society Presents Christmas at the Cathedral December 5 and 6 in Portland

PORTLAND, Maine Christmas at the Cathedral is an annual Christmas holiday favorite for many seeking respite from the whirlwind of Christmas. A concert that emphasizes the beauty of song, the sound of trumpets and brass from the Portland Brass Quintet and the beauty of the organ at the adept hands and feet of organist Dan Moore, Christmas at the Cathedral provides an opportunity for calm reflection of the joys of the season.

This year the Choral Art Singers will present a new work, Charles Kaufmann's "A Longfellow Winter." The Choral Art Society (CAS) commissioned this piece from Kaufmann, an award-winning composer and the founding director of The Longfellow Chorus. CAS music director Robert Russell speaks well of this new work, "Two years ago we sang one of Chip's Longfellow settings, and we all liked it a lot. I asked him to compose around that original setting, and he has created a five-movement setting -- with his original setting in the center-- which brilliantly captures the various guises of a Maine winter: delicate, brutal, interminable, and ineffable. Some of the settings are for a cappella chorus, and some are accompanied by our keyboardist, Dan Moore."

Christmas at the Cathedral is scheduled for Saturday, December 5, with a noon preview and 8:00 p.m. concert and on Sunday, December 6 at 2:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. The concerts are held at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception, Portland, 307 Congress Street.Į ĮThe concerts are sponsored by Norton Insurance and Financial and Ramblers Way Farm.

Tickets range from $10 (preview show, available at the door only) to $30 with a limited number of $5 youth tickets, and will be available through CAS by calling (207) 828-0043 or visiting www.choralart.org.

Other upcoming CAS holiday events include their annual CAS Messiah Sing-Along and Handel on Hunger Food Drive, Monday, December 14 at 7:30 p.m. at St. Patrick's Catholic Church. The food drive will benefit Project FEED, an emergency food pantry in Portland, and admission is $5.00 at the door (students are free). An Epiphany Celebration will be held Saturday, January 2 at 7:30 p.m. at the Immanuel Baptist Church in Portland.

About The Choral Art Society:Į

The Society has more than 150 members who perform in three distinct ensembles: the symphonic Masterworks Chorus, the mid-sized Choral Art Singers, and the intimate a cappella Camerata. All singers are skilled amateurs, selected by audition. The Society offers an annual concert series and appears regularly as guests of the Portland Symphony Orchestra. Robert Russell, professor of music at the University of Southern Maine, is the conductor and artistic director of The Choral Art Society.

For more information about The Choral Art Society and the season of performances visit www.choralart.org or call (207) 828-0043.

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Portlands Choral Art Society Announces 2009-10 Season

PORTLAND, Maine Portland, Maine's Choral Art Society (CAS) has announced their 2009-2010 concert season which opens with the immensely popular annual Christmas at the Cathedral performances and, again this year, includes two concerts alongside the Portland Symphony Orchestra at Merrill Auditorium. The full season includes:

Christmas at the Cathedral
Sat., December 5, 2009 12:00 noon preview and 8:00 p.m. concert Sun., December 6, 2009 2:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. concerts at Cathedral of Immaculate Conception, Portland
The mid-sized CAS group, Choral Art Singers, will be joined by the Portland Brass Quintet and organist Dan Moore. This year the concerts feature a new work, the premiere performance of Charles Kaufmann's "A Longfellow Winter," commissioned by CAS. Kaufmann is an award-winning composer, the founding director of Portland's The Longfellow Chorus and a well-known Baroque bassoonist as well as an organist.

Sponsored by Norton Insurance and Financial and Ramblers Way Farm, the Christmas at the Cathedral concerts take place at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, 307 Congress Street in Portland. Tickets range from $10 (preview show, available at the door only) to $30 with a limited number of $5 youth tickets, and will be available through CAS by calling (207) 828-0043 or visiting www.choralart.org.

CAS Annual Messiah Sing-Along Mon., December 14, 2009 7:30 p.m. at St. Patrick's Church, Portland
CAS and the Southern Maine Symphony Orchestra present the annual Messiah Sing-Along and Handel on Hunger food drive to benefit Project FEED. This fun and popular event takes place at St. Patrick's Catholic Church, 1342 Congress Street, Portland. Attendees are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items and/or donations. A suggested donation of $5 at the door is welcomed and students are free.

Christmas with Cornils Tues., December 22, 2009 7:30 p.m. at Merrill Auditorium, Portland
For their annual holiday concert, the Friends of the Kotzschmar Organ have invited the CAS Camerata to join the Kotzschmar Festival Brass, the Parish Ringers handbell choir from Brunswick and Portland Municipal Organist Ray Cornils. The concert takes place at Merrill Auditorium located at 20 Myrtle Street in Portland. Tickets range from $19-$33 and are available through PortTix at (207) 842-0800 or www.porttix.com, or at the box office at 20 Myrtle Street.

Epiphany Celebration Sat., January 2, 2010 7:30 p.m. at Immanuel Baptist Church, Portland
The CAS Camerata, the Choral Art Society's select a cappella group, will perform the Epiphany Celebration concert with an instrumental ensemble including organist Dan Moore. The program includes a Bach Cantata in addition to seasonal a cappella songs, at the Immanuel Baptist Church, 156 High Street, Portland. The concert is sponsored by Duffy Anderson Investment Management and tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. For more information call CAS (207) 828-0043 or visit www.choralart.org.

"Life, Death, Transfiguration" Tues., March 9, 2010 7:30 p.m. at Merrill Auditorium, Portland
The CAS Masterworks Chorus joins the Portland Symphony Orchestra for a performance of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Requiem. The concert will be held at Merrill Auditorium, 20 Myrtle Street, Portland. Tickets range from $20-$70 and are available online at www.porttix.com, by calling (207) 842-0800, or at the box office at 20 Myrtle Street.

Mozart's Requiem Tues., March 30, 2010 7:30 p.m. at Merrill Auditorium, Portland
In collaboration with Portland Ballet, the CAS Singers and Camerata will perform Mozart's Requiem the composer's last work and one of his most profound pieces with musicians from the Portland Symphony Orchestra. The Portland Ballet Company dancers will present new choreography, created specifically for this joint production by choreographer Kennet Oberly. The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. at Merrill Auditorium, 20 Myrtle Street, Portland. Tickets will be available online at www.porttix.com, by calling (207) 842-0800, or at the box office at 20 Myrtle Street.

"Mighty Mahler" Sun., May 2, 2010 2:30 p.m. and Tues., May 4, 2010 7:30 p.m. at Merrill Auditorium, Portland
For the Portland Symphony Orchestra's final concerts of the year, the CAS Masterworks Chorus joins the Symphony for a performance of Mahler's epic Symphony No. 2 "Resurrection." The concert will be held at Merrill Auditorium, 20 Myrtle Street, Portland. Tickets range from $20-$70 and are available online at www.porttix.com, by calling (207) 842-0800, or at the box office at 20 Myrtle Street.

"My Spirit Sang All Day" Sat., June 5, 2010 7:30 p.m. at Immanuel Baptist Church, Portland
The CAS Camerata will perform British composer Gerald Finzi's 1937 My Spirit Sang All Day among other works at the Immanuel Baptist Church, 156 High Street, Portland. The concert is sponsored by Duffy Anderson Investment Management and tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. For more information call CAS (207) 828-0043 or visit www.choralart.org.

About The Choral Art Society:
The Society has more than 150 members who perform in three distinct ensembles: the symphonic Masterworks Chorus, the mid-sized Choral Art Singers, and the intimate a cappella Camerata. All singers are skilled amateurs, selected by audition. The Society offers an annual concert series and appears regularly as guests of the Portland Symphony Orchestra. Robert Russell, professor of music at the University of Southern Maine, is the conductor and artistic director of The Choral Art Society.

For more information about The Choral Art Society and the 2008-09 performances visit www.choralart.org or call (207) 828-0043.

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Friday, March 13, 2009

Local Composer and Professor to Present Pre-Concert Lecture at Elijah, March 31

Composer and Bowdoin Music Professor Elliott Schwartz to Present Pre-Concert Lecture on Mendelssohn's Elijah, March 31

PORTLAND, Maine In celebration of the 200th anniversary of Felix Mendelssohn's birth, Portland's Choral Art Society will perform Mendelssohn's oratorio Elijah in its full splendor on Tuesday, March 31, at Merrill Auditorium. Local composer and Bowdoin Professor of Music Elliott Schwartz will present a lecture in the auditorium before the concert, at 6:30 p.m.

Born and raised in New York City, Elliott Schwartz studied composition at Columbia University. In 1964 he began teaching at Bowdoin College, where he chaired the Music department for twelve 12 years, and is now the Robert K. Beckwith Professor of Music. A prolific composer, lecturer and author, Schwartz's works have been performed by orchestras around the world.

A hallmark among 19th century oratorios, Elijah depicts the dramatic story of the Old Testament prophet Elijah, who, according to the Book of Kings, raised the dead, brought fire down from the sky, and ascended to Heaven in a whirlwind. Mendelssohn evokes the full power of this dramatic story in his setting for orchestra and chorus.

The Choral Art Society will perform Elijah under the baton of music director Robert Russell, with the 120 voice Masterworks Chorus, members of the Portland Symphony Orchestra, and guest soloists Lisa Saffer (soprano), Jennifer DeDominici (mezzo-soprano), John McVeigh (tenor) and Philip Cutlip (bass). Cutlip returns to Portland following his memorable performance in Brahms's Requiem in 2008. Portland resident Lisa Saffer is well known for her performances in the operas of Handel, many of which have been released on the Harmonia Mundi label.

Elijah will be performed at Portland's Merrill Auditorium, 20 Myrtle Street, Tuesday, March 31 at 7:30 p.m., with the lecture starting at 6:30 p.m. Tickets range from $15-$47 and are sold through PortTix at (207) 842-0800 or http://www.porttix.com/. Tickets may also be purchased in person at the box office at 20 Myrtle Street, Monday through Saturday, from noon to 6 p.m.

About The Choral Art Society:
The Choral Art Society is comprised of more than 150 members who perform in three distinct ensembles: the symphonic Masterworks Chorus; the mid-sized Choral Art Singers; and the intimate a cappella Camerata. All singers are skilled amateurs, selected by audition. The Society offers an annual concert series and appears regularly as guests of the Portland Symphony Orchestra. Robert Russell, professor of music at the University of Southern Maine, is the conductor and artistic director of The Choral Art Society.

For more information about The Choral Art Society and the 2008-09 performances visit http://www.choralart.org/ or call (207) 828-0043.

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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Mendelssohns Elijah at Merrill Auditorium, March 31

Portland's Choral Art Society Presents a Special Production of Mendelssohn's Elijah with Special Guests and Full Orchestra, March 31

PORTLAND, Maine Almost exactly 200 years after the composer's birth, Portland's Choral Art Society will present Felix Mendelssohn's dramatic, moving oratorio Elijah in its full splendor on Tuesday, March 31 at Merrill Auditorium. Full of beatiful solos, Elijah depicts various events in the life of the Old Testament prophet Elijah. This production will include the Choral Art Society Masterworks Chorus, live orchestra and special guest soloists Lisa Saffer (soprano), Jennifer DeDominici (mezzo-soprano), John McVeigh (tenor) and Philip Cutlip (bass). The concert begins at 7:30 p.m.

An oratorio is an elaborate musical presentation composed of an orchestra, choir and soloists. A sacred response to the secular, oratorio was popularized in response to the birth of opera in the early 1600s, but in a manner appropriate for church performance. The oratorio is similar to opera in the use of a choir, soloists, an ensemble, various distinguishable characters and arias; however, as opera is musical theater, an oratorio is strictly a concert piece, often dealing with sacred topics, with little or no interaction between characters and no props or elaborate costumes.

Widely known as the best oratorio of the 19th century, Mendelssohn did not shrink from the harshness of the Old Testament plots, and his music for Elijah is powerfully full of compelling scene-setting. Composed in the spirit of Mendelssohn's Baroque predecessors Bach and Handel, whose music he greatly admired, the style clearly reflects Mendelssohn's own genius as an early Romantic composer.

Scored for a full orchestra, a large chorus, and four vocal soloists, the part of Elijah is sung by the Philip Cutlip and is a major role. The soloists include:
  • Lisa Saffer (soprano) An internationally acclaimed operatic soprano based in Maine, Saffer has performed on concert stages with virtually all leading American orchestras and regularly throughout Europe. Particularly well known for her performances in the operas of Handel, she is a recipient of the Royal Philharmonic Society Award and was nominated for an Olivier Award, London's equivalent of New York's Tony Award. She has thrilled local audiences in past performances with PORTopera and the Portland Symphony Orchestra.
  • Jennifer DeDominici (mezzo-soprano) A 2000 graduate of the USM School of Music, DeDominici is a resident of Denver and a mainstay in the performances offered by Opera Theatre of the Rockies. She performed the starring role in their production of Carmen in 2008. She has also performed for Opera Colorado, Central City Opera and the Santa Fe Opera, and was awarded first prize in the 2007 Denver Lyric Opera Guild Competition.
  • John McVeigh (tenor) A resident of Portland, McVeigh has been a full-time professional opera singer since 1995. He has performed with countless symphonies and opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, Houston Grand Opera, NYC Opera and Los Angeles Opera, as well as concert stages around the globe. Locally he has performed on multiple occasions with the Portland Symphony Orchestra and played the role of Tybalt in last summer's PORTopera mainstage production of Romo et Juliette.
  • Philip Cutlip (bass-baritone) Established on both the concert and opera stage, Cutlip has performed with nearly every major North American orchestra, and his performances have been called "moving beyond words." A distinctive element in Cutlip's career is his ongoing collaboration with both well-established dance companies and avant-garde ensembles. He performed in the 2002 PORTopera mainstage production of Gounod's Faust, and was a tremendous sensation when he performed with the Portland Symphony Orchestra at their March 2008 "German Requiem" concert.

The Choral Art Society's presentation of Elijah will be performed at Portland's Merrill Auditorium, 20 Myrtle Street, Tuesday, March 31 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $15-$47 and are sold through PortTix at (207) 842-0800 or www.porttix.com. (Phone and internet orders subject to $5 per ticket handling fee.) Tickets may also be purchased in person at the box office at 20 Myrtle Street, Monday through Saturday, noon to 6 p.m.

About The Choral Art Society:
The Society has more than 150 members who perform in three distinct ensembles: the symphonic Masterworks Chorus, the mid-sized Choral Art Singers, and the intimate a cappella Camerata. All singers are skilled amateurs, selected by audition. The Society offers an annual concert series and appears regularly as guests of the Portland Symphony Orchestra. Robert Russell, professor of music at the University of Southern Maine, is the conductor and artistic director of The Choral Art Society.
For more information about The Choral Art Society and the 2008-09 performances visit www.choralart.org or call (207) 828-0043.

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Monday, February 2, 2009

Choral Art Society Presents Mendelssohns Elijah, March 31

The Choral Art Society

PORTLAND'S CHORAL ART SOCIETY PRESENTS MENDELSSOHN'S ELIJAH ORATORIO, MARCH 31

PORTLAND, Maine In celebration of the 200th anniversary of Felix Mendelssohn's birth, Portland's Choral Art Society will present Mendelssohn's oratorio Elijah in its full splendor on Tuesday, March 31 at Merrill Auditorium. Widely known as the best oratorio of the 19th century, this production of Elijah includes the Choral Art Society Masterworks Chorus, live orchestra and special guest soloists Lisa Saffer (soprano), Jennifer DeDominici (mezzo-soprano), John McVeigh (tenor) and Philip Cutlip (bass). The concert begins at 7:30 p.m.

Elijah depicts various events in the life of the Old Testament prophet Elijah. Mendelssohn did not shrink from the harshness of the Old Testament plots, and his music for Elijah is full of power, drama and compelling scene-setting. Composed in the spirit of Mendelssohn's Baroque predecessors Bach and Handel, whose music he greatly admired, the style clearly reflects Mendelssohn's own genius as an early Romantic composer.

An oratorio is an elaborate musical presentation composed of an orchestra, choir and soloists. A sacred response to the secular, oratorio was popularized in response to the birth of opera in the early 1600s, but in a manner appropriate for church performance. The oratorio is similar to opera in the use of a choir, soloists, an ensemble, various distinguishable characters and arias; however, as opera is musical theater, an oratorio is strictly a concert piece, often dealing with sacred topics, with little or no interaction between characters and no props or elaborate costumes.

Scored for a full orchestra, a large chorus, and four vocal soloists, the part of Elijah is sung by the Philip Cutlip and is a major role. The soloists include:
  • Lisa Saffer (soprano) An internationally acclaimed operatic soprano based in Maine, Saffer has performed on concert stages with virtually all leading American orchestras and regularly throughout Europe. Particularly well known for her performances in the operas of Handel, she is a recipient of the Royal Philharmonic Society Award and was nominated for an Olivier Award, London's equivalent of New York's Tony Award. She has thrilled local audiences in past performances with PORTopera and the Portland Symphony Orchestra.
  • Jennifer DeDominici (mezzo-soprano) A 2000 graduate of the USM School of Music, DeDominici is a resident of Denver and a mainstay in the performances offered by Opera Theatre of the Rockies. She performed the starring role in their production of Carmen in 2008. She has also performed for Opera Colorado, Central City Opera and the Santa Fe Opera, and was awarded first prize in the 2007 Denver Lyric Opera Guild Competition.
  • John McVeigh (tenor) A resident of Portland, McVeigh has been a full-time professional opera singer since 1995. He has performed with countless symphonies and opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, Houston Grand Opera, NYC Opera and Los Angeles Opera, as well as concert stages around the globe. Locally he has performed on multiple occasions with the Portland Symphony Orchestra and played the role of Tybalt in last summer's PORTopera mainstage production of Romo et Juliette.
  • Philip Cutlip (bass-baritone) Established on both the concert and opera stage, Cutlip has performed with nearly every major North American orchestra, and his performances have been called "moving beyond words." A distinctive element in Cutlip's career is his ongoing collaboration with both well-established dance companies and avant-garde ensembles. He performed in the 2002 PORTopera mainstage production of Gounod's Faust, and was a tremendous sensation when he performed with the Portland Symphony Orchestra at their March 2008 "German Requiem" concert.

The Choral Art Society's presentation of Elijah will be performed at Portland's Merrill Auditorium, 20 Myrtle Street, Tuesday, March 31 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $15-$47 and are sold through PortTix at (207) 842-0800 or www.porttix.com. (Phone and internet orders subject to $5 per ticket handling fee.) Tickets may also be purchased in person at the box office at 20 Myrtle Street, Monday through Saturday, noon to 6 p.m.

About The Choral Art Society:
The Society has more than 150 members who perform in three distinct ensembles: the symphonic Masterworks Chorus, the mid-sized Choral Art Singers, and the intimate a cappella Camerata. All singers are skilled amateurs, selected by audition. The Society offers an annual concert series and appears regularly as guests of the Portland Symphony Orchestra. Robert Russell, professor of music at the University of Southern Maine, is the conductor and artistic director of The Choral Art Society.
For more information about The Choral Art Society and the 2008-09 performances visit www.choralart.org or call (207) 828-0043.





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