The Lisbon Falls Psaltery Institute appeals to singers and offers music lessons

Director Leon Griesbach conducts the Psalterium Institute Chamber Choir in the chapel of the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, during evening prayer and a concert in Lewiston. Photo submitted

Leon Griesbach, founder and director of the Psalterium Institute in Lisbon Falls, plans to provide educational opportunities for high school students and adults with little or no singing experience.

Her group singing lesson is an introduction to basic note reading, ear training and fundamental vocal technique.

Classes started on September 27. All classes will be held at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday through November 15 at Holy Trinity Church Hall at 67 Frost Hill Ave. at Lisbon Falls; No prior experience is required.

Griesbach wants to bring sacred music to life in a visceral way that touches the hearts of both singer and audience. The voice is central to the mission, but so is the atmosphere in which the music is heard and played, according to a press release from Griesbach.

As part of the evening and night prayers of the church, the institute is dedicated to creating an inspiring event that engages all the senses, opening participants to the possibility of a full body experience, and not just an intellectual journey.

Griesbach is the former musical director of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland and the Pontifical North American College in Rome, where he conducted a 45-voice choir that performed regularly at St. Peter’s Basilica in the City of Vatican. He led a small schola for a private gathering in the Sistine Chapel and other ancient churches in Rome.

Shortly after returning to the United States, he established an institute of Catholic sacred music after forming a chamber choir and a boys’ choir. Over the past year, its two choirs have made nine liturgical appearances and church concerts in central and southern Maine, singing a repertoire of sacred music ranging from Gregorian chant to 20th-century works.

The Magnificat Girls’ Choir is now the third choir to rehearse and perform under the auspices of the institute.

The cost is $10 per class; register at the door or online at psalterinstitute.org. All singers interested in one of the three choirs are invited to audition for the spring semester by appointment.

For more information on the courses and other activities of the institute, visit psalterinstitute.org.

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