Bagaduce Chorale presents special summer concert

BLUE HILL — The Bagaduce Chorale, directed by Bronwyn Kortge, will perform two summer concerts at the First Congregational Church of Blue Hill July 12-13 at 7:30 p.m.

Customarily the Chorale performs in December and May, so this is a rare opportunity for summer residents to hear the chorale in concert. The program, “Nocturnes: Reflections for a Summer Evening” will feature works by contemporary choral composers including Morten Lauridsen, Ola Gjeilo, Sir Karl Jenkins and Christopher Tin.

The program opens with Eric Barnum’s “Afternoon on a Hill,” a quietly beautiful melody set to a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay. This is followed by “The Road Home,” a tune from Southern Harmony 1835, adapted by Stephen Paulus.

The program also includes a trio of nocturnes by American composer Morten Lauridsen, who celebrates his 75th birthday this year. The nocturnes will be presented as a seamless song cycle. The first, “Sa nuit d’ete,” is set to a lyric by Rainer Maria Rilke. This is followed by “Soneto da la Noche,” a setting of the emotionally charged poem by Pablo Neruda “When I Die I Want Your Hands on My Eyes.” The nocturnes conclude with “Sure on this Shining Night,” set to a poem by James Agee.

The principal work of second half of the concert is “Dark Night of the Soul” in which Norwegian composer Ola Gjeilo uses as text an English translation of the poem “La noche oscura del alma” written by the Spanish mystic St. John of the Cross.

“This work explores the spiritual desolation that heralds change, transformation, and ultimately, the embodiment of the divine” said Kortge. “Gjeilo braids the chorus, piano and strings together in such a way that each instrument — chorus, piano, and string quartet — serve as both soloist and accompanist.”

This concert marks the debut of the chorale’s new accompanist this season, Colin Graebert. Works that showcase the piano accompaniment range from the gentle “The Pasture,” a setting of the “Frost” poem by Z. Randall Stroope to Moses Hogan’s gospel anthem “Music Down in My Soul.”

Advance tickets are available at the Blue Hill Public Library, Flexit Café in Ellsworth, Sherman’s Bookstore in Bar Harbor and the Southwest Harbor Public Library. Tickets are $20, students free but need tickets. Visit or the Bagaduce Chorale Facebook page.

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