People looking for live holiday music in the Freeport area have several popular choices in the next six days, beginning on Saturday, Dec. 12, when the Greater Freeport Community Chorus performs its winter concert, “Visions of Hope,” at the Congregational Church in Cumberland.

Those who want to hear young voices can choose “A Wescustago Winter” concert by the Wescustago Youth Chorale, set for Sunday, Dec. 13, at the Freeport Performing Arts Center. And for people whose weekends are just too crowded this time of year to make it out to a concert, there’s the “Coastal Winds Christmas,” by the Freeport Community Concert Band, Tuesday, Dec. 15, at the Harraseeket Inn.

The Greater Freeport Community Chorus, which includes mostly Freeport residents but with members in 21 communities, actually has two dates at the Cumberland Congregational Church, 282 Main St. – Saturday and Sunday, both starting at 2:30 p.m. Chorus member Jay Zoeller will accompany the 75 singers on the church’s pipe organ. Director Virgil Bozeman leads the singers, and Kellie Moody is the pianist. Admission is $10, with a family maximum of $25. Tickets can be purchased at the door.

Visions of Hope will include songs with both Christmas and Hanukkah in mind.

“It’s always a little eclectic,” said chorus member Linda Carleton of Portland, past president of the Greater Freeport Community Chorus. “We have a really dynamic director and a really strong, strong sense of community. We have a very happy chorus.”

The Greater Freeport Community Chorus, founded by Sukie Rice of Freeport, is in its 20th season. Rehearsals are held from 6:30-9 p.m. on Sundays at the Freeport Performing Arts Center.

Bozeman, a native of Hawaii, became artistic director in 2006. He also directs the Richmond Middle/High School choruses, and serves as senior choir director at South Parish Congregational Church in Augusta.

The Freeport Performing Arts Center will be aglow with young people all dressed up for a holiday concert when the Wescustago Youth Chorale performs “A Wescustago Winter” at 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets, sold at the door, are $10 general admission and $5 for students and seniors 65 and older. A reception will follow.

The Wescustago Youth Chorale – Wescustago is the American Indian name for the Royal River – has 80 students in grades 3-12 from Freeport and several other coastal towns. Amanda Mahaffey of Freeport, Jen Runge of Yarmouth and Renovia Day of Topsham are the directors.

Leigh Palmer of Yarmouth is managing director of the choir, which will be performing its 18th annual winter concert. The co-ed choir is broken into the Harraseeket Singers (grades 3-5), the Kennebec Singers (grades 6-8) and ‘the Wescustago Singers (grades 9-12).

“It works well for us,” Palmer said. “We fill the hall with family and neighbors and friends. Some of the music is a capella. There are baroques, chants and pop. In some of the music, the teachers are the conductors.”

In addition, fifth-graders will perform on hand chimes.

The “Coastal Winds Christmas,” which begins at 6:30 p.m. next Tuesday, fills the Harraseeket Inn’s Casco Bay Room. The Freeport Community Concert Band, directed by Brendan Krueger of Pine Tree Academy, will perform holiday classics such a “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Sleigh Ride” and some ballads, as well. Guests are asked to bring a non-perishable food item for the Freeport Community Services Food Pantry, or a cash donation.

The Freeport Community Concert Band, now in its 15th season, includes more than 40 musicians from the mid-coast area, playing trombones, tubas, clarinets, saxophones and percussion.

A midweek concert is perfect for many people, Krueger said.

“Weekends get really full around Christmas time,” Krueger said, “but also that’s the night we practice.”

“Coastal Winds Christmas” has grown greatly since the first concert, which drew 75-100 people.

“It’s gotten to the point where so many people come, a lot of people end up standing in the back,” he said. “We had 200 or so last time. It’s a good event. It’s fun, and it’s for a good cause.”

CUTLINES

The Freeport Community Concert Band performs next Tuesday at the Harraseeket Inn. Courtesy photo

The Wescustago Youth Chorale concert is Sunday at the Freeport Performing Arts Center. Courtesy photo

The Greater Freeport Community Chorus has two dates this weekend at the Cumberland Congregational Church, 282 Main St. Courtesy photo

MUSIC IN THE SCHOOLS

Regional School Unit 5 students have scheduled their winter concerts:

Thursday, Dec. 10: Pownal Elementary School, 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 15: Durham Community School, 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Dec. 15: Mast Landing School, Freeport Performing Arts Center, 6:30 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 17: Freeport Middle School, Freeport Performing Arts Center, 6:30 p.m.

The Greater Freeport Community Chorus has two dates this weekend at the Cumberland Congregational Church, 282 Main St.The Wescustago Youth Chorale concert is Sunday at the Freeport Performing Arts Center.The Freeport Community Concert Band performs next Tuesday at the Harraseeket Inn.


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