Bangor, ME — In the summer of 2020, after an unprecedented string of cancellations and with little sense of how long the new Covid-19 pandemic would continue, the Bangor Symphony Orchestra announced ambitious plans for its 125th anniversary season, including Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 for April 2021. Now, two years after the originally scheduled date, and four years since the BSO‘s last performance with full chorus in 2019, Beethoven’s 9th will be the centerpiece of the orchestra’s 127th season finale on Sunday, April 30th at the Collins Center for the Arts.
Led by Music Director and Conductor Lucas Richman, the entire program, titled “Ode to Joy”, will be a celebration of music and life. Audiences will experience the work of three local choruses in every piece on the program: the University of Maine Singers, Oratorio Society, and Euphony, Orono’s Chamber Choir, all prepared by director Francis Vogt. Featured soloists in the Beethoven will include soprano Amy Maples (returning after a triumphant appearance in the BSO‘s 2019 performance of Candide), acclaimed mezzo-soprano Rehanna Thelwell in her BSO debut, tenor Dominic Armstrong (returning after making waves in the BSO‘s 2021 streaming concert of vocal works), and bass Benjamin LeClair (who gave a critically-praised performance in the BSO‘s 2012 mounting of Dvorak’s Stabat Mater).
Before the Beethoven, the BSO will present the premiere of milihtαkʷat, a new work for orchestra and chorus created by and featuring Firefly The Hybrid. Milihtαkʷat is the Penobscot word for “It has all kinds of sounds” and is Firefly’s first journey into symphonic music. As a member of the Penobscot Nation, Firefly is celebrated around the country for his cutting edge visuals and vocals, and this significant collaboration will spotlight the past and present of Wabanaki musical traditions in a historic first for the BSO.
Beginning on Monday evening, April 24th, all members of the community will have the opportunity to stream a Pre-Concert Talk at watch.bangorsymphony.org featuring Lucas Richman in conversation with Firefly The Hybrid and exploring the full program. Additionally, on Friday, April 28th, the public is invited to attend the annual Dr. Maurice P. King and Constance King Barnes Master Class at 3:30pm in Minsky Recital Hall, UMaine.
Tickets to the April 30th performance of “Ode to Joy” are available at bangorsymphony.org or (207) 581-1755. Student tickets are $10 and regular tickets range from $15 to $46. This performance is made possible with the support of Birchbrook and the Maine Arts Commission.