Composer George Emlen and Acadia Choral Society Director Jamie Hagedorn at a 2016 choral concert. The 2017 spring concerts will take place in early May. PHOTO COURTESY OF BOB PENNINGTON

Choral concerts scheduled

BAR HARBOR — The Acadia Choral Society’s spring 2017 concerts will take place at St. Saviour’s Episcopal Church on Saturday, May 6, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, May 7, at 3 p.m., and at St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Ellsworth on Sunday, May 14, at 3 p.m.

The performances will feature two major choral works: “Requiem” by Gabriel Faure’ and “Te Deum” by Marc-Antoine Charpentier. Douglas Beck is the guest conductor for this season. Beck’s holds degrees from the Peabody Conservatory of Music at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. He has directed church and community choirs of all ages throughout North America and Europe, from Ottawa to New York and London to Cologne.

“I think I speak for all of us affiliated with this performance when I say that, in this same spirit, we are thrilled to unite our own hearts and voices with you, our audience, in this performance,” said Beck.

The Acadia Choral Society will be joined by soloists Joshua Miller, Katelyn Parker Bray and Joe Cough, as well as a small orchestra. The chorus’s assistant director, Kimberly Maney Haller, will accompany on the organ.

The version of Gabriel Fauré’s “Requiem” that will be performed dates from 1887. The composer was deeply affected by the death of his father in 1885 and his mother in 1887, but he made no mention of a direct relationship between those deaths and this work. Further, Fauré’s is not a setting of a full requiem mass as is the case of Mozart’s or Verdi’s. What those composers’ settings are to stormy drama, Fauré’s is to sublime transcendence. Of it, the composer wrote, “It is gentle in character, like myself.” Fauré’s setting links life in the present to the promise of the light, hope and essence of life to come. In so doing, this work is rooted more in life’s present and future possibilities than in any past narrative.

Though not known for certain, scholars are in some agreement that Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s (1643-1704) “Te Deum” is one of his later works. Some suggest that this work is Charpentier’s tribute to a French victory in the 1692 Battle of Steinkirk. The familiar “Prelude” is a favorite choice for bridal processions. In all likelihood, brides would be surprised to hear that their procession of choice is the opening theme to a hymn of battle victory. What is known for certain is that the “Te Deum” text is a hymn of praise. This hymn is often associated with the daily worship in the monastic tradition. The text dates to the year 387. Its authorship is often credited jointly to Augustine of Hippo and Ambrose, Bishop of Milan. Roughly following the outline of the Apostle’s Creed, this hymn unites the voices of Saints present, Saints past and Saints future in the reconciliation and restoration of all things.

Tickets for the May concerts are available for a suggested donation of $15 at Sherman’s Books & Stationery and Fiore Artisan Olive Oils & Vinegars, both in Bar Harbor; the Northeast Harbor Library; the Southwest Harbor Public Library; and the SevenArts gallery in Ellsworth. Tickets also are available from chorus members. Tickets for the Ellsworth concert are limited; therefore, advance purchase for that performance is recommended. Visit

Fiore Artisan Olive Oils & Vinegars and Bar Harbor Savings & Loan are corporate sponsors of the Acadia Choral Society.

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