School of Music

USM Chorale Performs Handel's Messiah

Event Date and Time: 
Saturday, November 10, 2012, 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Woodfords Congregational Church, 202 Woodford Street, Portland
Contact Name: 
Lori Arsenault
Contact Phone: 
Contact Email:

USM Chorale performs Handel's MessiahThe University of Southern Maine School of Music will present Handel's Messiah featuring the USM Chorale directed by Robert Russell. The concert will be held at 5 p.m. on Saturday, November 10, 2012 at Woodfords Congregational Church, 202 Woodford Street, Portland. Tickets cost $6 general public; $3 students, seniors, USM employees and alumni, and will be sold at the door.

For those yet unfamiliar with this famous work by George Frideric Handel, here's a brief description from the program notes of Linda Russell, which will be provided at the concert:

With the exception of Messiah, all of Handel’s biblical oratorios are based on Old Testament stories. Most are sacred dramas (actually unstaged operas on a sacred subject) with the chorus representing either the Israelite nation or their foes. Only Israel in Egypt and Messiah stand apart because neither has a plot in the traditional sense, and they are the only oratorios whose words are taken exclusively from the Bible. For these reasons they became the most popular. “The greatness of Messiah,” writes Winton Dean, “derives on one level from its unique fusion of the traditions of Italian opera, English anthem and German Passion, and on another from the coincidence of Handel’s personal faith and creative genius to express, more fully than in any other work of art, the deepest aspirations of the Anglican religious spirit. It remains, nonetheless, an ‘entertainment’ designed to recall the audience to their obligations as members of a Christian society.”

The marvelous solos that weave throughout the work will be sung by the following USM School of Music students:

Marydel Ambe, soprano, is a sophomore voice performance major at USM studying with Ellen Chickering.  She is from New York City where she attended the Professional Performing Arts High School.  While there, she performed the role of Sister Constance in Poulenc's The Dialogues of the Carmelites. She was a guest soloist for the Armenian Youth Ceremony in Carnegie Hall.  

Jane Clukey, a soprano from Portland, Maine, was homeschooled and in high school sang with the Greater Portland Christian School Chorus and the choir of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland. Currently a junior vocal performance major at USM, Jane has sung with the USM Chorale, the USM Chamber Singers, the USM Opera workshop, and the Portland Symphony Orchestra. She hopes to go on to graduate school for vocal performance and music history.  

Jenna Guiggey, a senior music education major at USM, has been involved in many performing ensembles including the USM Chamber Singers, USM Chorale, Vocal Jazz ensemble, and Opera Workshop.  Her most memorable experience was performing in the amazing cathedrals and churches of Spain with the Chamber Singers.  After graduation in the spring, she hopes to find work teaching abroad!

Virginia Hudak, a junior music education major at USM, currently studies classical voice with Bruce Fithian and musical theater with Ed Reichert. This is her third year singing with the USM Chamber Singers; she participated in the European tour to Spain in 2011. Originally born in Melbourne, FL she now calls Saco, ME her home.  This past summer she sang with PortOpera in the chorus of Madama Butterfly.

Joshua Miller, a baritone from Southwest Harbor Maine, is a recent graduate of USM's vocal performance program. He looks forward to graduate school and a career in performance and teaching. Joshua would like to thank Dr. Russell for this opportunity to sing a major choral work and perform with a great group of young singers.

Kimberly Ouellette, a soprano from Poland ME, is a sophomore voice performance major studying with Ellen Chickering. She has sung the soprano solo in Vivaldi's Gloria. As a USM student, she has sung in the Chorale and has been an active member of the Opera Workshop. She recently placed second in the 2012 Maine NATS competition. She will sing the role of Rosalinda in the spring Production of Die Fledermaus, a joint production with the Theatre Department.

Aaren Rivard, tenor, is a junior music performance major at the University of Southern Maine.  He has performed with the PORTopera chorus in Madama Butterfly and La Fille du Regiment.  He has also sung various leading roles with USM's Opera Workshop, including Eisenstein in the upcoming spring opera, Die Fledermaus.  He thanks his friends and family for their continued love and support.

Sable Strout, a junior vocal performance major at USM, studies with Ellen Chickering. She has performed at USM with the Opera Workshop and University Chorale, and has been in the chorus for the past two years at PORTopera. Last year she was honored to perform in the School of Music’s Honors Recital. 

Jesse Wakeman, tenor, is a Music Education major who has won numerous awards for performance, including the 2011 Lillian Nordica Memorial Scholarship and most recently, the 2012 Bay Chamber Concerts Erdman/Nixon Prize for Vocal Excellence.  Over the past few years, he has lent his voice to many new works by local composers, and is excited to be taking on the role of Alfredo in USM’s production of Die Fledermaus this spring.

William Wegener, a sophomore at USM, is enjoying his second season singing with the Chamber Singers. He sang with The Boy Singers of Maine for 10 years and also plays violin, piano and guitar. William is a sprinter on the USM Track Team, plays on an Ultimate Frisbee club team and enjoys a round of disc golf with his friends when time allows.

The choral will be accompanied by a small orchestra, including:

Robert Lehmann, violin; Ferdinand Liva, violin; Kimberly Lehmann, viola; Debby Dabczynski, cello; Mark Rossnagel, organ; Kookie McNerney, oboe; Michael Albert, oboe; Travor Lavenbein, trumpet; Betty Rines, trumpet; and Joshua Champagne, timpani.

Those needing special accommodations to participate fully in this program, contact Lori Arsenault, (207) 780-5142, Hearing impaired: call USM's telex / TDD number (207) 780-5646

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