The Augusta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) is excited to invite the community to its 10th Annual Messiah Sing-along, with performances taking place at 7 p.m. on Friday, December 14 at the High Street Congregational Church in Auburn and Saturday, December 15 at Hope Baptist Church in Manchester.
Handel’s Messiah was completed in 1741, with composition beginning on August 22 of that year and finishing a mere 24 days later on September 14. Despite its swift creation, only minor errors were found within the 259-page masterpiece.
Described as “a meditation of our Lord as Messiah in Christian thought and belief”, Messiah differs from many of Handel’s other oratorios in that the soloists do not take on dramatic roles, there is no single, dominant narrative voice and very little use is made of quoted speech. It is a musical tour de force that has stood the test of time by remaining internationally popular for 270 years, featuring “Comfort ye”, the “Hallelujah” chorus and the closing “Amen.”
For at least the sixth time in 12 years, the Franco-American Heritage Center has scaffolding around a portion of its historic edifice as a local masonry company works to shore up three of the buttresses holding up the building’s distinctive spire.
The work, which began last week and is being partially paid for by a $40,000 grant from the Maine Community Foundation—money being matched by private donations—is expected to take another month to complete.
Over $6 million has been raised to renovate the Franco Center since it was purchased from the Catholic Diocese of Portland in 2000. Executive Director Louis Morin estimates that approximately $1.5 million still needs to be raised to fully complete needed structural work to the building.
Construction of the Franco Center, which used to be known as St. Mary’s Church and served mostly French-Canadian immigrants in what became known as Lewiston’s “Little Canada” neighborhood, began in 1907 and was completed in 1927.
This season’s performance calendar at the Franco-American Heritage Center is an unusually busy one. In fact, the month of December alone will feature seven Christmas concerts in a three-week span, beginning on Saturday, December 1 with a performance by local singers Just Us Entertainers.
“This is going to be a very busy place for three weeks,” said Franco Center executive director Louis Morin, who noted that with one exception, a concert by the Boston String Quartet on December 20, all of these Christmas shows will feature mostly local artists who live within a half-hour drive. “We’re blessed here in Maine with a wealth of musical and artistic talent, and we’ll be showcasing some of the best of it this holiday season.”
Morin also said that, during a season in which people are spending more on heating oil, not to mention Christmas gifts, the Franco Center is mindful that ticket prices should remain low. In the hope that patrons will be able to attend more than one holiday concert, no ticket to any show between now and Christmas will cost more than $20 – and most of them will be less than that.
The Maine Music Society is excited to share the joy of the holidays with you as they present “A Heritage Christmas” on December 8, 9 and 15.
This year’s performance of A Heritage Christmas will join the voices of the Androscoggin Chorale with those of the Lewiston High School Chamber Choir under the direction of Darren Avery. Each choir will perform works of its choosing and then the choirs will combine to celebrate music of this holiday season.
Favorites of the season will include Carol of the Bells, Ding Dong Merrily on High, and many more. Aided by the talented Bridget Convey, accompanist, the Chamber Choir and Chorale will conclude the concert with the incredible Hodie! by Z. Randall Stroope. To complete the concert, Maestro Corrie will invite the audience once again to sing several traditional Christmas carols with the combined choirs.
Les Stroud, known better to television audiences around the world as “Survivorman” for his show by the same name, joined the board of directors of the Lewiston Auburn Film Festival (LAFF) Monday to announce his involvement in the LAFF2013.
“I’m thrilled to be coming in to participate in this year’s festival,” said Stroud via Skype from Las Vegas, joining the media and others in attendance. “I’m looking forward to meeting everybody and seeing the film.”
The latest incarnation of the festival will be held April 4-7, 2013 in various venues throughout Lewiston and Auburn. It is the third year for the event, which attracted 1,200 people from more than a dozen states in its second year.
The Franco-American Heritage Center is trying something new this season by presenting three nights of stand-up comedy. The first show in the series will take place on Friday, November 16 with Rob Steen, a Boston comedian who has appeared on “The Late Show with David Letterman,” topping the bill.
Each comedy night will feature performances by three comedians. In addition to the headline set by Steen, the November 16 show will include warm-up sets by Steve Guilmette of New Hampshire, who has performed at the Boston Comedy Festival, and Maine’s Chuck Grover, a recent runner-up in a contest seeking Portland’s funniest comic.
“This is new for us, but I think it will work,” said Franco Center executive director Louis Morin. “We’re trying it as a first step in our efforts to make the Franco Center a more vibrant place for younger audiences.”
For the ninth consecutive year, The Franco-American Heritage Center hosted one of Lewiston-Auburn’s foremost social and cultural events, The Franco Center Gala and Benefit Concert with Maine’s Midcoast Symphony Orchestra and guest pianist, George Lopez.
Held on October 20 with a theme of “Las Vegas,”, the annual gala offered the community an exceptional evening of elegance, symphonic music and a generous table of wine and gourmet foods.
The benefit concert is a significant event on The Center’s fundraising and programming calendar. The Benefit and Gala included receptions before and after the concert. A Wine and Gourmet Food Reception preceded the concert, and a Champagne Reception followed the concert.
Community Little Theatre’s current production of “The Wiz” opened last weekend at Great Falls Performing Arts Center in Auburn to a packed house that thoroughly enjoyed what they saw and heard from the 62 people (and one small dog) that form the production’s large cast. The winner of seven Tony awards, this beloved Broadway show and movie sets Dorothy’s adventures in the Land of Oz to a dazzling mixture of rock, gospel, and soul music.
Performances continue on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $18 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $12 for children ages 13 and under. To buy tickets, call 783-0958 or see www.laclt.com.
The show is directed by Nakesha “Kay” Myrick. Co-choreographers are Audrey Martin and Tiffany Warren, who also plays the leading role of “Dorothy” and is the show’s vocal coach. The set was designed and built by Bill Hamilton and Phil Vampatella, and the set décor was designed by Carol Hodgkin and Glynnis Nadel, who is also the show’s stage manager and the artistic development intern at CLT.
On November 9 and 10 at 6 p.m., the Franco-American Heritage Center will present one of Maine’s more unique and magical experiences with its fifth annual Medieval Feast.
This festive event harkens back to the medieval tradition of royalty inviting guests to watch knights compete on horseback. This feast is meant to recreate just such a gathering (only without the horses). Guests may imagine themselves in the center of a medieval courtyard, awaiting the glorious arrival of the king and queen. They will then join the royal couple, along with a host of knights, minstrels, friars and wenches, in the Great Hall for an evening of magic, entertainment, pageantry – and a meal without utensils.