Blake's Blog

Musica Artistic Director, Blake Clark

Musica Artistic Director, Blake Clark

We at St. Maries Musica are thrilled to be entering head-long into this year's performance season with new people, new music, and a fresh excitement for providing choral music to the community!  I am Anthony Blake Clark and I have the distinct privilege of being the Artistic Director of this long-storied arts organization; words cannot accurately reflect the gratitude and anticipation I have to lead St. Maries Musica in bold and artful music making this season.  I have been asked to give an introduction of myself, an always difficult task.  It has been wonderful to be welcomed back to the USA from my graduate studies in England with internationally renowned conductor Simon Halsey, CBE, by having the privilege of leading organizations such as the Richmond Women's Chorus, holding the position of Director of Music and Worship at Chevy Chase United Methodist Church in the DC area, and of course being named conductor of this flagship choral ensemble of Southern Maryland.  My musical pursuits have led me across this country and indeed across the pond.  I suppose the most exciting thing I have been blessed to work on recently was a collaboration between the Berlin Radio Choir and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra in their performance of "Oedipus Rex" by Igor Stravinsky this past summer.  As assistant conductor of the professional choir it was my role to help prepare and rehearse the ensemble for the eventual arrival of Sir John Eliot Gardiner, the guest conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic.  It was a true pleasure to work for him and it was definitely an experience I will not forget easily.  In the UK, I studied in Birmingham with Simon Halsey, CBE and had opportunities to conduct the of City Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO) Chorus, conducted in the London Symphony Chorus' "Come-and-Sing" day, conduct university orchestras and CBSO Chorus.  Now freshly returned to the USA, I am very much enjoying my time in the DC area where I am in charge of weekend services at Chevy Chase United Methodist Church (CCUMC), conduct special choral masterworks concerts at CCUMC, and am also the Artistic Director of the Soundings Concert Series which sees many local and national level performers come to present programs in our beautiful sanctuary.  One of the highlights of this year's Soundings series is a performance by the National Philharmonic Chorale, in which one of my original compositions will be premiered.

Here at St. Maries Musica, our newly formed structure now puts us in league with other music organizations in the Southern Maryland area including the Chesapeake Children's Choir, St. Maries Singers, St. Maries Musica, and other break-out groups deriving from these three ensembles.  In our first major endeavor this season you will see all three ensembles from St. Maries Choral Arts present timeless and new Christmas and holiday repertoire.  There are many opportunities to see this group; the Christmas performance schedule can be seen below this article.


We are also thrilled for our spring performances which will include an incredibly exciting collaboration with the Symphony Orchestra of Northern Virginia in a world premiere as well as Beethoven's less heard musical romp "Choral Fantasy".  This thrilling piece, some say, is the precursor to Beethoven's most iconic and timeless work, Symphony No. 9 in D minor, in which he utilizes monumental choral forces in the work's final movement.  You will not want to miss hearing this piece and the rest of the well-balanced program.

I hope that you will join us for some of our many performances this season.  2016-2017 promises to be the most exciting season for us and we want nothing more than ever to share our music with you.  Our Winter 2016 performance schedule is listed below.  Check our website, SMChoralArts.org for more information about our concert venues and tickets for Readings and Carols.  We look forward to seeing you in the concert hall!

With great anticipation,

Anthony Blake Clark

Monday, December 12th at 7 pm — “Readings and Carols” St. Mary’s Ryken High School, 22600 Camp Calvert Rd, Leonardtown, MD 20650. All groups will perform, including St. Maries Musica, Chesapeake Children’s Chorus, St. Maries Singers and St. Maries Minstrels. Special guest: COSMIC Brass. *Tickets will be $10/person (buy at the door or on website)

 St. Maries Musica Winter 2016 Season:

“A New Old-Fashioned Christmas”

Monday, December 5th at 7 pm — First Saints Community Church St. Paul’s Campus, 25550 Point Lookout Road, Leonardtown MD

 Wednesday Dec. 7th at 7 pm — Rivers Edge Catering and Conference Center, Naval Air Station Patuxent River, MD. Call 301-342-3656 to purchase tickets.

 December 10th, 16th and 17th at 8 pm — Madrigal Dinners at St. Mary’s City Reconstructed State House. Call 240-895-4991 to purchase tickets.

 Thurs, December 22nd at 7 pm — The Lotus Kitchen, 14618 Solomons Island Rd S, Solomons, MD 20688

Chesapeake Children's Chorus 2016 Winter Concert:

"A Peppermint Winter: A Christmas Twist"

Thursday, December 8th at 7 pm — Hollywood United Methodist Church, 24422 Mervell Dean Road, Hollywood, MD 20636