News Feature

Blue Hill
Originally published in Castine Patriot, November 29, 2018 and Island Ad-Vantages, November 29, 2018 and The Weekly Packet, November 29, 2018
Blue Hill Bach presents ‘A Downeast Messiah’

The Blue Hill Bach chorus and orchestra

The Blue Hill Bach chorus and orchestra performs Handel’s Messiah in last year’s holiday concert.

Photo courtesy of Blue Hill Bach

For many music-lovers, the holidays are not complete without Handel’s all-time favorite, Messiah, and in what has become an annual tradition, Blue Hill Bach will present the work’s Christmas selections on Saturday, December 8, at Blue Hill First Congregational Church. The cast of soloists will feature students Kayla Gayton, soprano, alto Catharine Cloutier, countertenor Andrew Cloutier, and tenor Zachary Fisher, as well as sopranos Jennifer Bates and Michele Corbeil, mezzo-soprano Marcia Gronewold Sly, tenor Francis John Vogt, bass John David Adams, and trumpet player Jack Burt.

A small ensemble featuring some of the area’s finest Baroque musicians, under the direction of Daniel Pyle, will include concertmaster Heidi Powell, violinist Mary Jo Carlsen, violist Michael Albert, cellist Max Treitler, bassist Christopher Kapsha, trumpet player Brandon Emerson, harpsichordist Gerald Wheeler, and timpanist Lynette Woods. Using Handel’s original instrumentation, they will be joined by the 20-voice Blue Hill Bach chorus. In what has become a Blue Hill Bach tradition, the audience will be invited to join in singing the “Hallelujah” chorus at the end of the evening.

Founded in 2011, Blue Hill Bach brings historically informed performances of Baroque music for voice and instruments to Downeast Maine, according to a news release. Blue Hill Bach draws on the wealth of talent in the region—including high school and college students—and visiting artists who specialize in early music. The young organization has received strong support from the community for its programs, with sold-out audiences, an active volunteer board, and funding from individuals, businesses, and foundations. Blue Hill Bach has received grants from Early Music America and the Maine Arts Commission for outreach programs, and from the Maine Community Foundation for capacity building and for the Marville Young Artist Fellowship. The fellowship, which was instituted in 2013, offers emerging young musicians opportunities to learn about Baroque performance practice by working with established performers.

This year’s performance of Messiah will begin at 7 p.m. on Saturday, December 8. Admission is by advance reservation or at the door. For tickets and information, including ticket prices, go to or phone 613-5454.