...Mary Elizabeth Nordstrom

August 18, 2018

Kennebunk, ME.  Sunday, August 12, 2018,  3 p.m., Huntington Common.

Soprano Anne Corriveau & Mezzo-soprano MaryaDanihel: Duo and Solo performances

A beautifully choreographed duo performance by outstanding actor-singers brought great joy to a small audience at Huntington Common on Sunday afternoon.

A standing ovation was proclaimed in a loud voice by this reviewer, who used her Nordic walking poles to rise in a timely manner during lively applause. ("This is a standing ovation, " said she.)

Before retiring as active classical music critic, she often remained seated while eager New England audiences jumped to their feet at the end of any well-performed music. Nordstrom began her music writing career in North Carolina where values seem slightly different. Now in a retirement commun...

July 26, 2018

Kennebunk, ME.  Maestro Bruce Hangen returned to lead the Portland Symphony Orchestra in an outdoor Music On Main concert in downtown Kennebunk on Thursday evening July 26, 2018 at 6:00 pm, right after the rainstorm.

The sun came out and together with the music pleased an expectant audience. Maestro Hangen is a former music director of the Portland Symphony Orchestra. This is the third year for this relatively new annual event.

Eclectic programming delighted and led this obviously new symphony audience to consistent heights of responsive energy, leading them to continue to applaud between orchestral movements of the last work of the evening. 

It was the Symphony No. 1 by Ludwig van Beethoven. Hangen hung in, this time not acknowledging the applause until the conclusion of the four movements of...

August 10, 2017

Kennebunk, ME, August 6, 2017

Soprano Beverly Heald's spontaneous rendition of "Land of the Free" with the poet, Mary Elizabeth Nordstrom at the piano, inspired an uplifting round of applause from those gathered in the Huntington Common parlor for the regular First Sunday at 3 Hymn Sing.

As the song sheets were passed out, tongue-in-cheek, Nordstrom had said "You are participating in a World Premiere Performance of 'Land of the Free' ." A volunteer seasoned church musician, she organizes a monthly  Hymn Sing at the Kennebunk retirement community where she is an Independent category resident.  She moved there a little over five years ago when her late husband needed Assisted Living.

At the July 4 noonday meal in the Huntington Common dining room, fellow resident Ann Prescott said she was g...

July 29, 2017

Review of Dress Rehearsal at 3 p.m. South Concregational Church, Kennebunkport, ME. 
Oboist Kathleen McNerny and Dean Stein, violin and viola player (VentiCordi) with guests: Pianist Bridget Convey, Clarinetist Gary Gorczyca, Violist Russell Wilson and Cellist Katherine Cherbas. With generous outreach to the future, guest student Shelby Helman, oboe, was invited to be a participant.

A memorable first on the program: an enchanting strain from Gary Gorczyca's clarinet opened Alvin Etler's "Sonata for Oboe, Clarinet and Viola." The clarinetist explained to me during a rehearsal break that Etler (1913-1973) has "flown under the radar for a long time" but that his work is being programmed more often. It was a first for me. I found the pleasant texture of the Etler harmonies quite similar to Hindemith...

December 8, 2016

Entering the white-walled and ceilinged sanctuary decorated throughout with red poinsettia, was only the first uplifting experience of Christmas at the Cathedral at the Noon preview on Saturday, December 3, 2016: Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Congress Street at Franklin Street, Portland, ME.

Overtones are known for enhancing or forgiving from resonant cathedral recesses. They were obviously the defining ingredient of the ChoralArt presentation. This was  the first time I had attended one of the 29-year-old Christmas at the Cathedral presentations and it was unforgettable. 

There was nothing to forgive in this well-built program. The voices were masterfully blended  by Robert Russell whose choral ensembles are known to excel. If I could have changed anything, I would have omitted t...

December 8, 2016

The outstanding Portland String Quartet performed at 2 p.m. Sunday, December 4, 2016 at Woodford's Church on Woodford Avenue in Portland, ME.

Notable at this performance was the addition of guest soloist, Jesus Alfonzo, violist, who performed as fifth member of the ensemble, the richly beautiful String Quintet No. 2 in G Major by Johannes Brahms, after intermission.

Alonzo, born in Caracas, Venezuela, is on the music faculty of Stetson University and is a member of the Bach Festival Orchestra in Winter Park, FL. He has written a book in which he credits the PSQ as being influential in the development of El Systema, the Venezuelan system of youth orchestras. That explains their longtime relationship.

The delightful William Grant Still selection offered an opening number with a light musically op...

November 29, 2016

Just happened to be hosted this past Thanksgiving week at The Eagle's Nest in Barnet, VT,               a semi-private AirB&B run by Phyllis Nordstrom and Robert Beckhardt. My classical music experience of the day was listening to "The Creation" by Franz Josef Haydn on iPad: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kaI8x-saprI (This was added; not able to delete Google pp.)

With the wonders of creation in immediate view, I had the pleasure of being seated in the first floor living room where, through windows to the left of me, I could look across the Connecticut River Valley to the snow-sprinkled White Mountains of my native New Hampshire.

The windows at my near right looked out on the round-topped Green Mountains of Vermont. Unmistakably blessed, I took in all of this with...

November 17, 2016

Woodford Church- Portland, ME. Sunday, November 6, 2016. 2 p.m. 

Chalk up one more success for VentiCordi! 

Sunday afternoon's  audience gave the concert a sincere, well-deserved standing ovation. Then they joined the performing artists for refreshments as is the sponsoring Lark Society's custom at this location.

Where did the years go? VentiCordi was founded in the Kennebunks in 2009. It seems like yesterday that this ensemble began regaling Maine with fine ensemble music always featuring something contemporary whether or not there are classics on the program.  I make that statement without research, but that is my recollection of the concerts I have been privileged to attend. Early ones were in Kennebunk. Their base is now South Congregational Church in Kennebunkport across from the Post Offic...

July 30, 2012

A spellbound audience of children, their parents and caregivers, thrilled to the story of Abby Burgess, introduced and performed by dramatic reader, Laura Harris. Ms. Harris had introduced the instruments, Antoaneta Angelova & Mina Lavcheva, Violin I and II; George Calvert, bass; Jim Kennedy, cello; Jean Alvord, viola, one by one as the audience settled into their out-of-doors seating on the grounds of the Kennebunk Free Library. The musicians were to perform dramatic background music for a true story set at a lighthouse on the Maine Coast in the 19th century. The music reminded me of the impressionist music, “La Mer,” by Claude Debussy (1862-1918). The narrator, Laura Harris, was delightfully engaging, obviously an actor of professional stature. The instruments blended dramatically to describe an...

July 23, 2012

“A Journey to the Heart of Europe” is the romantic title that embraced the works played on this afternoon’s classical concert. The spacious two-and-a-half-story dining hall at Huntington Common once again proved to be the ideal venue in the Kennebunks for classical music, in my opinion. I came away completely nourished and eminently satisfied by musical entrees prepared to soothe the soul. It was a grand plan to program the River Tree Arts co-sponsored concert here in a recently redecorated semi-formal setting commensurate with the artistry of the DaPonte String Quartet. To fulfill the promise of “A Journey to the Heart of Europe”, selections were from Beethoven (1770-1827), Hugo Wolf (1860-1903), and Anton Dvorak (1841-1904); Beethoven and Wolf from Vienna and Dvorak, Prague.

The high-ceilinged ro...

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Mary Elizabeth Nordstrom: musician, music critic, author and poet

Unlaundered Cache

By Mary Elizabeth Nordstrom

Mary Elizabeth Nordstrom has compiled this collection of poems,  written over several decades while living in New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina and Maine. A member of the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, she wrote the title poem while on vacation at Goose Rocks Beach, Maine, when her family was living in North Carolina. A past member of her native New Hampshire Poetry Society, when she moved to Pinehurst, NC, she became a member of the Poetry Society of North Carolina that published "Unlaundered Cache" in its 60th anniversary collection, entitled "Here's to the Land", 1992.

© 2018 by Mary Elizabeth Nordstrom