Quoddy Voices, an international choir formed in 2014, will resume weekly rehearsals at the Eastport Arts Center (EAC) on Monday, February 19 at 7 pm. Director John Newell welcomes singers of all experience levels to join the group; no audition is required. Rehearsals will be in preparation for concerts at the EAC on May 18 and 20, with a program based on the theme “Something About Love.”
The chorus will explore the many aspects of love, from romance to ecstasy, pain and humor, in a wide-ranging program of works. There will be jaunty madrigals by Messrs. Dowland, Farmer and Purcell, some ravishing arrangements of folk songs from Ireland and Newfoundland, and classic a cappella works by Gustav Holst and John Clements. And yes, the audience will hear from Cole Porter and the Beatles. Featured works are settings by two noted contemporary choral composers, Gwyneth Walker (settings of two poems of May Swenson), and Joan Szymko (with text by Mother Teresa of Calcutta).
Current members hail from Campobello, Charlotte, Cutler, Eastport, Lubec, Machias, Machiasport, Pembroke, Perry and Calais, and are enthusiastic about their Monday-evening pastime: “Singing with Quoddy Voices has helped me to come out of my shell, make new friends, and overcome my fears of performing—all while doing something that I love,” says Ann Franklin, an alto from Perry. Soprano Manuela Brice, an Eastport resident, spoke about vocal work connecting singers “with the truer parts of ourselves … As Director, John Newell manages to unite folks of all ages and ways of life with his love for music and as such holds the space to bring out the best in each and every one of us, regardless of expertise levels to sing or even read music. John manages to unite us all in the music, where the differences of each and every one of us create something new and beautiful.” Lori Schneiders, a soprano who makes the trip from Cutler each week, adds, “After a long day at work being surrounded by the Quoddy Voices during rehearsal fills me up and I can make it through another week.” “Monday night rehearsals are a highlight of my week,” commented Jeanne Peacock, another Eastporter and an alto. “I always leave with a smile on my face.”
Newell holds degrees from Duke University, California Institute of the Arts and SUNY Buffalo. He teaches piano at SummerKeys in Lubec, and serves as music director for Christ Church in Eastport. A versatile composer and performer, he particularly enjoys engaging performers and audiences with music from the choral traditions of different times and places.
Quoddy Voices is a constituent group of the Eastport Arts Center. For more information please visit www.eastportartscenter.org or email Newell at email@example.com. The Eastport Arts Center is at 36 Washington Street in Eastport, and is handicapped-accessible.