The Mount Desert Summer Chorale performs in a prior year. The chorale begins rehearsals on June 28. PHOTO COURTESY OF MOUNT DESERT SUMMER CHORALE

Chorale to begin rehearsals

BAR HARBOR — The Mount Desert Summer Chorale will begin rehearsals in the choir room at St. Saviour’s Episcopal Church, 4 Mount Desert St., on Wednesday, June 28, at 6:30 p.m. Rehearsals are Wednesdays and some Sundays through the first week in August.

This summer, the chorale will present Bach’s Cantata No. 29, “Wir danken dir, Gott, wir danken dir,” and Haydn’s “Lord Nelson” Mass on Aug. 4 and 5 at St. Saviour’s. Soloists are local soprano Annie Leonardi-Merchant, mezzo-soprano Miriam Schildkret, tenor Philip Morgan and baritone Ryan Downey. Recitalist Timothy Olsen will return as organist after a successful appearance last summer. Instrumentalists from the Bangor Symphony and summer visitors from New York City and elsewhere will form the orchestra.

Bach composed his Cantata 29 for the inauguration of the Leipzig Town Council in August 1731. The festive work begins with an adaptation for solo organ and orchestra. The opening chorus that follows forms the basis of the “Gratias agimus tibi” in Bach’s B-Minor Mass. Haydn’s mass, more properly known as the “Missa in angustiis” (Mass in troubled times), was composed in 1798 for the name-day of Princess Maria Ermengild. It also may have been performed during a visit to Vienna by Horatio Nelson, hence the nickname. Both the Bach and the Haydn are grand, festive works for chorus and orchestra.

The Mount Desert Summer Chorale has been giving concerts on the island since 1968. David Schildkret, music director of the chorale, emphasizes that all singers are welcome. “There is no audition to join the chorale. We prepare a full program in about six weeks, so people have to come ready to work!” Members of the chorale are both year-round and summer residents, most of whom sing in other choirs during the year. They range in age and work from high school students to professionals and retired people.

To join the chorale, contact the group’s managers, Dave and Marty Ward, at [email protected] Visit

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