Summer sing

  • Monadnock Chorus artistic director Dr. Matthew Leese Courtesy Photo—

  • Monadnock Chorus artistic director Dr. Matthew Leese. Courtesy

Thursday, August 02, 2018 3:12PM

Singers and music lovers are invited to join with the Monadnock Chorus for the group’s Fourth Annual Summer Sing on Aug. 22 at the historic Francestown Meeting House.

Participants will learn and sing choruses from G.F. Handel’s oratorio, “Semele,” a musical drama with a plot as hot as the summer weather: love, lust, adultery, revenge and self-sacrifice.

The event is open to anyone who wants to sing with the chorus, even if just for one evening.

Led by Monadnock Chorus Artistic Director, Dr. Matthew Leese, the event begins with a 5 p.m. rehearsal (walk-in registration opens at 4:30 p.m.). After a break for refreshments, the event concludes with a free informal concert at 7:30 pm.

The exciting score will come to life with guest musicians Christina Wright-Ivanova, piano and Rebecca Hartka, cello. Handel’s “Semele” tells a story taken from mythology: Jupiter, king of the gods, takes Princess Semele as his mistress. His wife, Juno, enraged by his adultery, plots Semele’s downfall. Juno appears in disguise and convinces Semele to insist on seeing Jupiter in his divine form, which results in thunderbolts burning and consuming Semele. Yet from her ashes, her unborn child arises: Bacchus, the god of wine and ecstasy.

“The work caused some outrage when it was first presented in 1744,” Leese said. “Audiences were more accustomed to Biblical oratorios and the ensuing controversy caused the work to slip into some obscurity. Several stagings in the mid-twentieth century helped bring attention back to this expressive and inventive piece.”

Leese noted that, as with other Handel choral compositions, the music is engaging for both singer and listener.

“Handel brings all of his talent for dramatic musical flair to this work,” he said. “The resulting choruses sound complex but are really not that difficult to learn. And the sensational subject matter gives the choral singer something to get excited about with titles including ‘Endless Pleasure, Endless Love,’ and ‘O Terror and Astonishment.’ Anyone who enjoys singing will have fun with this music.”

Interested participants can access registration on-line at monadnock-chorus.org. There is a $15 registration fee for singers, which includes the vocal score for the evening, available in advance with on-line registration. There are also links to recordings of the choruses in the program, so singers can get a preview of what’s in store.

The event will be held at the historic Francestown Meeting House, 1 New Boston Road, Francestown, NH.

“Part of the Monadnock Chorus’ mission is to engage with all 40 towns throughout the Monadnock region over time,” Leese said. “While Peterborough is our home, we are pleased to present this year’s Summer Sing in Francestown’s fantastic Meeting House.”

The Ewing Arts Award-winning Monadnock Chorus, celebrating its 60th season in 2018-19, is proud to be a volunteer, non-auditioned community chorus. As part of its mission to provide quality choral singing opportunities for area residents, the Chorus presents two major concerts each year. In December, 2018, the Chorus will collaborate with the Keene State College choirs to present Igor Stravinsky’s “Symphony of Psalms” among other works.

For more information and Summer Sing registration, visit “Upcoming Events” at monadnock-chorus.org. All are welcome!