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UMaine, Community Celebrate with Songs of Season

Six University of Maine choral groups will ring in the holiday season at the Yuletide Concert at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8, at the Collins Center for the Arts.

The University Singers, Collegiate Chorale, Oratorio Society, Athena Consort, Black Bear Men’s Chorus and Euphony will all take part in the UMaine School of Performing Arts’ annual presentation and will join together for a candlelit finale of traditional holiday favorites.

Margaret Radke, a 90-year-old woman from Orono, will be among the more than 200 singers adding their voices to the Yuletide Concert. The 60-year member of the Oratorio Society has been singing since she was 9 years old growing up in Minnesota.

“I had a voice teacher when I was in my 30s who told me I would be singing into my 90s,” she laughs. “I had to prove her right.”

Despite having polio in her throat as a teenager, Radke — who once had a three-octave range — continued to sing. She sang when she attended Hamline University in Saint Paul, Minn., where she majored in biology and chemistry, as well as at the University of California, where she earned a graduate degree in zoology, and at the University of Maine, where her husband, the late Frederick Radke, was a biochemistry professor.

“Music was my outlet and solace,” says Radke, who shared her love of music with her children and grandchildren. Radke’s daughter, Eileen Nokes and son-in-law, Ted Nokes, and their two sons all majored in music at UMaine.

Radke says she cherishes the friendships she developed with directors and singers of all ages during her six decades with the group, and she encourages people throughout Maine who love to sing to join the group. “It’s very open and has dedicated people of varying abilities,” she says.

The Oratorio Society is a mixed choral ensemble of community members and university students; University Singers are members of an advanced concert choir who come from a variety of academic disciplines; the Collegiate Chorale is a mixed ensemble open to all students; the Athena Consort is a select women’s choir; the Black Bear Men’s Chorus includes students, faculty, staff and community members; and Euphony is an innovative contemporary choral group.

Admission is $12, free with a valid student MaineCard. For tickets, or to request a disability accommodation, call 207.581.1755. Tickets may also be purchased at the door one hour prior to the show.

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