Dr. Robert Russell, professor emeritus USM and conductor of Choral Arts Society in Portland, conducts the Lincolnaires during a singing workshop at St. Patrick’s Church.

Dr. Robert Russell, professor emeritus USM and conductor of Choral Arts Society in Portland, conducts the Lincolnaires during a singing workshop at St. Patrick’s Church.

On March 29 the Lincoln Academy honor choir, the Lincolnaires, had the opportunity for a two-hour workshop with Dr. Robert Russell, professor emeritus USM and conductor of Choral Arts Society in Portland. “Dr. Russell worked with the kids on choral tone and accuracy of interpretation of the music. It’s great to have a colleague come to work with the kids and reinforce concepts they have already worked on, and to put forward some ideas that are new. It was a great day of learning for all of us,” said Lincoln Academy Choral Director Beth Preston.

Lincolnaires tenor and LA senior Sam Bailey, who plans to study vocal performance in college said, “Dr. Russell told us, “Don’t Be Beige.” He really worked us hard on expressing the text and making sure we really observed the markings in the music.”

The Lincolnaires is an auditioned choir that is a full-year academic class at Lincoln Academy. Members need to demonstrate not only singing ability, but dedication to learning challenging, classical music, often in different languages, and also make a significant time commitment to the choir. According to Ms. Preston, “It takes a commitment to 4 years of singing in choir to create a top-notch group like LIncolnaires. The kids give up other electives and study halls to make this work. Many of them study privately during the school year or over the summer. It’s not an accident that the group can compete with other excellent chamber choirs in the state. It’s also a testament to the commitment of the individual singers that so many are accepted into Districts and All State. Many continue on in college as music majors or in campus a cappella groups.”

Lincoln Academy seniors Grace Sleeman and Sam Bailey during the Lincolnaires workshop.

Lincoln Academy seniors Grace Sleeman and Sam Bailey during the Lincolnaires’ workshop.

The choir has several performances coming up this spring. The Lincolnaires have been invited to sing at the Maine All State Convention for the Maine American Choral Directors Association luncheon on Thursday, May 19, at the University of Maine in Orono. The Lincoln Academy Spring Choir Concert, which is open to the public, will take place on Sunday, May 22 at 6 pm at St. Patrick’s Church in Newcastle.

The March 29 workshop was sponsored by an anonymous donor who has been a supporter of the choir program at Lincoln Academy. “We could not conduct the high-quality instruction, field trips, and special programs we do without the support of the community,” said Beth Preston. “We are grateful for this generous support.”