Northfield Christmas concerts scheduled

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This is the time of year to throw the yule log on the fire! Northfield, the Farmington based early music vocal ensemble, will be celebrating the season in song in three concerts in November and December. There will be a good mix of sacred and secular songs from Europe and America, sung in many languages. Serious considerations of the season will mingle with silly humor. The rough-hewn vigor of Colonial America will contrast with the delicate tracery of renaissance Europe. And above all there will be merry-making!

Highlights of the program include “Allon, gay bergeres” by French composer Guillaume Costeley, which encourages the shepherds to come view the newborn baby Jesus in the manger. There will be a sweetly lyrical Ave Maria by little known English composer Robert Parsons. Northfield will sing some Early American hymns that present the familiar words of “Joy to the World” and “While Shepherds Watch Their Flocks by Night” to unfamiliar, lively and vigorous tunes. Some beautiful and sensuous Italian madrigals will be sprinkled in, and a the entire “Consort of Choral Christmas Carols” by the infamous P. D. Q. Bach will provide giggles and guffaws. In a more serious mood, the group of eight singers will continue their exploration of the double choir repertoire, performing “Ave regina caelorum,” a beautiful hymn of praise to the Virgin Mary by Tomas Luis de Victoria, “O magnum mysterium” by Giovanni Gabrieli, and will even split up into three choirs for the complex and sonorous “Lauda Jerusalem” by Claudio Monteverdi.

The concerts will be: Sunday November 30 at 7:30 pm at Nordica Auditorium in Farmington; Saturday Dec. 6 at 7 pm at Rangeley Congregational Church; and Sunday, Dec. 7 at 7 pm at Belgrade Union Church. The Farmington concert is sponsored by the Arts Institute of Western Maine, an affiliate of the University of Maine at Farmington, and admission to that concert is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and children. Admission to the other concerts is by donation.

For more information call 778-4572.

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