The auditioned Midcoast a cappella vocal ensemble VoXX: Voice of Twenty will brighten the short days of midwinter with its 2018 winter concert series, Music of Mercy and Forgiveness, presented in four venues in late January.

Local concerts will be: Saturday, Jan. 20, at 7 p.m. at the Crosby Center, 96 Church St. in Belfast; and Saturday, Jan. 27, at 7 p.m. at Union Hall, 24 Central St., Rockport. The group also will perform Sunday, Jan. 21, at 2 p.m. at Lewiston’s Basilica of Saints Peter & Paul; and Sunday, Jan. 28, at 2 p.m. at the Phippsburg Congregational Church.

Music to soothe the spirit will dominate, as is often the case on a VoXX program. The themes of this particular series will be explored through such works as John Sheppard’s “In pace in idipsum dormiam et requiescat (In true peace shall I sleep and rest),” which could be seen as a response to “Peccantem me quotidiae (Me being a daily sinner and not yet penitent, the fear of death troubles me)” by Morales.

Early works, a staple of the VoXX repertoire, will include those by Byrd (“Vigilate”), Josquin (“Tu pauperum refugium”), Lassus (“Justorum animae”), and Palestrina (the Kyrie from Missa Papae Marcelli). These will be contrasted with contemporary pieces such as “My Lord Has Come,” a carol written in 2011 by Will Todd. The concert will offer aural challenges, as well, such as “Solfeggio” by the Estonian composer Arvo Pärt.

Although VoXX is a chamber ensemble, it performs some pieces in various even-smaller configurations. For example, the men of VoXX will perform “Adoramus te Domine” (Anonymous); and the women will sing Javier Busto’s ethereal “Salve Regina.” Another subset will present David Lang’s “again” (after ecclesiastes),” then the full ensemble will come together again for Henryk Mikołaj Górecki’s sonorous “Totus Tuus (I am entirely yours, Maria).” That will be followed by the concert closer, the rousing 1581 “Gaudete in Domino (Rejoice in the Lord Always)” by the Franco-Flemish composer Giaches de Wert.

Tickets for any of the Music of Mercy and Forgiveness concerts are $15 (cash or check), available at the door. For more information, visit

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or