VoXX Presents Annual Summer Concert Series in July: “If Music Be...”

Arts & Entertainment
Atrium @ Athena Health
3 Hatley Rd, Belfast, Maine
Gretchen Piston Ogden
Jul 07, 2012
7:30 PM - 9:00 PM

VoXX Presents Annual Summer Concert Series in July: “If Music Be...”
The a cappella vocal ensemble VoXX: Voice of Twenty will present its annual summer concert
series titled “If Music Be...” to audiences around the midcoast on July 6-8, 2102. The self-led
group of auditioned singers has once again put together a program of works that spans the
ages from Medieval to contemporary and composers from Obrecht to Britten. The selections
are both secular and sacred and examine themes of adoration, reflection, redemption, and, of
course, love, with pathos and humor.
There will be three full performances of “If Music Be...”: Friday, July 6, in the gallery at Pascal
Hall, 86 Pascal Avenue, Rockport (7:30 p.m.); Saturday, July 7, in the soaring atrium at Athena
Health, 3 Hatley Rd. (7:30 p.m.); and Sunday, July 8, as part of the Cushing Historical Society’s
series, at historic South Cushing Baptist Church on Salt Pond Rd., (4:00 p.m.). Admission to
each concert is $10, tickets are available at the door. In addition, the group will present a free,
abbreviated “sneak preview” concert/open rehearsal on Wednesday, June 27 at 7:30 p.m., in
the Rockland Gazebo on Ocean Street (bring a chair or blanket for seating).
“We crafted this program partly from our core repertoire, which contains many fine works that
we wanted to revisit. We then chose new pieces to take us through the ages into relatively
modern times,” said Gregory Moore, Music Director. “Presenting works by composers such as
Byrd and Palestrina -- and Monteverdi and Purcell, for that matter -- is expected for any group
that, like VoXX, emphasizes early works. But we wanted to also showcase some of our more
recent repertoire. Including the likes of Britten, Bruckner, Duruflé, Grieg, and Vaughan Williams
accomplished that. It’s a challenging program for us and one we think our audiences will enjoy.”
Playing off the overall theme “If Music Be...”, selections depict varied emotions from unrequited
love, as in Monteverdi’s Cruda Amarilli (“Cruel Amaryllis”) to the joys of romance portrayed in
Purcell’s madrigal If Music Be the Food of Love and the more contemporary Evening Primrose
by Britten. At more than five minutes in length, William Byrd’s five-part, Laudibus in Sanctis,
the longest work on the program, is a jubilant, polyphonic song of praise from beginning to end.
Some members have been singing this piece since the group’s name was Ave Maris Stella.
So many of the other sacred works on the concert have one thing in common--their titles
begin with the letter A--that VoXX considered calling this series “The A List.” The stately Alma
Redemptoris Mater by Palestrina, a pair of Ave Marias by Josquin and Bruckner, an iconic
setting of Ave Verum Corpus by Byrd, Grieg’s Ave Maris Stella, the devotional Adoramus Te set
by Monteverdi, and the contemporary finale of the program, the Agnus Dei from the Mass in G
Minor by Vaughan Williams, round out the A list.
Several pieces on the program will continue VoXX’s tradition of presenting works sung by small
ensembles within the group. The earliest work, Morely’s Miraculous Love’s Wounding, will be
sung as a duet; Obrecht’s Parce Domine as a trio; Byrd’s Ave Verum Corpus as a quartet, and
Cruda Amarilli as a quintet. The singers of VoXX have also been honing their chanting skills: the
men will chant Ubi Caritas as a prelude to the full group’s rendition of Maurice Duruflé’s setting
of that text; and the women will sing an anonymous setting of Alma Redemptoris Mater.
Now in its second decade, VoXX has sung up and down the Maine coast, and performs
two scheduled concert sets per year, in mid-summer and January, plus occasional special
performances by invitation. VoXX relishes the challenge of unusual vocal music, yet more
familiar works by such renowned composers as Bach, Dufay, Holst, Josquin, Lauridsen,
Victoria, and Whitacre (not to mention Anonymous) are also central to the repertoire. The group
mainly performs a cappella, but appropriate instrumentation (recorders, percussion, strings) is
occasionally added.
VoXX is unusual in that it is a collectively run, all-volunteer organization. Membership is by
audition (the group is currently seeking new members; see the group’s web site for details), and
singers come from all walks of life: teachers and students, professionals and retirees. Members
can share in the responsibility of bringing music selections to the group and may take turns
teaching and leading if so desired. The group has built a strong following and is well known for
its efforts to inform audiences through extensive program notes.
The singers recently released their first CD, VoXX: Voice of Twenty: “Favorites Old and New.”
It is available at the group’s concerts and website, and via cdbaby.com. VoXX is available to
perform by invitation. Visit www.voiceoftwenty.com or call 207-236-9413 for more information.