Thumbs-up weekend: So, it’s fair to say that I had an excellent weekend. It began Saturday morning, May 19, when I got myself out of bed very early to head down to Damariscotta’s Lincoln Theater from my home in Whitefield to watch the wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry on the big screen at 7 a.m. (I am an unabashed Anglophile, with a particular fascination for the goings-on of the royal family. Don’t ask me why; that’s just the way it is.)
Kudos to Lincoln Theater Executive Director Andrew Fenniman for treating the viewing public (and there were quite a few of us) to the opportunity to watch, for free, the royal wedding in all its elegant splendor. Among other things, the music was fantastic. The Kingdom Choir’s version of “Stand By Me” was exquisite, and 19-year-old British cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason’s classical music performance was breathtaking. I overheard an inspired Fenniman singing along softly to Gabriel Faure’s “Apres un reve,” delivered skillfully and beautifully by Kanneh-Mason.
The theater even provided free coffee and British-inspired treats, such as yummy little lemon tarts.
Fast forward: After a weekend of good weather, I headed to St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Newcastle on Sunday evening, May 20, for the Lincoln Academy Spring Concert, featuring the Lincolnaires, LA’s auditioned choir; the LA Concert Choir; and the LA String Orchestra.
What a nice way to cap off the weekend! LA Choral Director Beth Preston deserves great credit for the excellent quality of the performances that night, as does her sister, Carol Preston, who directs the recently formed LA String Orchestra.
From the opening number, the LA Concert Choir singing Bruno Mars’ “Count on Me,” to the combined-choir closer, a swinging mashup of “Fly Me to the Moon” and Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat’s “Lucky,” the well-attended concert was an undeniable hit. Along the way, the LA String Orchestra, which meets for only one hour per week, did an impressive job on a variety of songs, including Rob Thomas and Santana’s “Smooth” and Scott Joplin’s “Paragon Rag.”
The LA String Orchestra nicely supported the Lincolnaires on several songs, such as the lovely “Cerf-Volant” and “Vois Sur Ton Chemin,” by Christophe Barratier and Bruno Coulais, both sung in French.
Beth Preston made a point of letting the audience know that most of the songs sung that evening were chosen by the choir members, including such sacred music as “Dixit Maria,” performed by the Lincolnaires.
At one point, former Lincolnaires were invited on stage to join the current Lincolnaires in what Beth Preston termed the “anthem” for the group, the Scottish folk song “Loch Lomond.”
Senior choir members were acknowledged toward the end of the evening, and awards presented. Sammi Aho and Phoebe Pugh were awarded the National School Choral Award, Miles Jackson got the Director’s Choice Award, and Jackson and Aho were honored with the Tapestry Singers Award.
Beth Preston even got an award of sorts, from her choir students. She was presented with a gift bag containing sea salt and salt-related items, for being “salty,” as it was affectionately announced that night.
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