Smokin’ Baroque to play Monteverdi

MOUNT DESERT — Smokin’ Baroque, a Maine chamber ensemble of professional singers and instrumentalists, will perform a program called “Mostly Monteverdi” on Sunday, Aug. 4 at 4 p.m. at St. Mary’s By-The-Sea in Northeast Harbor.

Smokin’ Baroque’s core group consists of sopranos Anna Dembska and Danielle Woerner, baritone Steven Weston, and harpsichordist Edith Dunham.

They will be joined by violinists Chris Nemeth and Ron Conterio, Phoebe Durand on the Baroque harp and Max Treitler on cello.

Claudio Monteverdi, a prolific musical pioneer of the late 16th to early 17th centuries, wrote songs, madrigals, operatic and instrumental music of great variety and beauty that bridged the late Renaissance with what later became known as the Baroque period.

The program is about 50 minutes long, with no intermission.

Smokin’ Baroque was born in 2016, when Dembska, Woerner and Dunham prepared a musical set to perform at the annual Schoodic Summer Chorus fundraiser at Hammond Hall in Winter Harbor. That appearance became a yearly event for the group, each time with different guest instrumentalists; Weston joined the group as a regular member in 2018.

Dembska sings improvisational duets with vocalist Andrea Goodman as Music of a New Frequency. She also composes opera, theater and concert music, including “The Singing Bridge,” an opera collaboration with poet/librettist Beatrix Gates commissioned by Opera House Arts in Stonington. She directs the Schoodic Summer Chorus and teaches voice and musicianship.

Woerner co-found the Sunrise County Arts Institute with her husband, Claude Johnson. She holds a degree in music from Bard College and a master’s degree in songwriting from Berklee College of Music. She teaches voice at her Milbridge studio, Mount Desert Island High School and Ellsworth Community Music Institute where she directs the ECMI Youth Chorale.

Weston grew up in Bangor now lives and works in the Midcoast region. He holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from the University of Maine with a major in flute and a Master of Music in choral conducting at New Mexico State University.

Dunham is an active chamber music player in the region. She earned a master’s degree from the Longy School of Music in Cambridge, Mass. She has been organist and choir director at numerous churches during her career, and currently serves in that capacity at St. Jude’s Episcopal Church in Seal Harbor.

Admission to the concert is by suggested contribution of $10. Contact 546-2272.

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