The Andover Choral Society, directed by Michael Driscoll, celebrates its 85th season with Carl Orff’s dramatic “Carmina Burana” on Sunday, Jan. 25, at 3 p.m. at the Rogers Center for the Arts at Merrimack College, 315 Turnpike St., North Andover.

Even if one doesn’t recognize the title, almost everyone has heard music from “Carmina Burana,” which is popular in television advertisements and movies.

The piece is based on a set of provocative, medieval texts that were discovered in a Bavarian monastery in 1803.  More than a century later, German composer Carl Orff selected 24 of the poems to set to music.

The poems are at times tender, bawdy, amorous, irreverent and satirical, according to a release from the choral society. Orff’s musical setting combines memorable melodies and colorful harmonies with heavy percussion to create music with a primal, visceral character, the release said.

“This concert promises to be a memorable experience. Twentieth-century German composer Carl Orff’s setting of the often-outlandish poems by anonymous Middle Age poets has become a modern-day pop classic,” Driscoll, who has been the chorus’ director since 2013, said in the release.

The chorus will be accompanied by two pianos and percussion. Soloists will be soprano Alecia Batson, tenor Christopher MacRae and baritone Bradford Gleim.

The performance will also spotlight a group of young singers from the Andover middle schools, under the direction of Katie Simko. The group, which includes students from Doherty, West and Wood Hill middle, is in its second year and Simko says the members are excited to take the Rogers Center stage with the Andover Choral Society.

The Andover Choral Society is a community chorus dedicated to bringing high-quality choral music to the Merrimack Valley. The chorus performs two concerts each year at the Rogers Center featuring a repertoire that focuses on fine choral and choral-orchestral works from the Baroque era to the 21st century.

Since 1929, membership in the chorus has been open to anyone with a love of great choral music and a desire to share that love with others.

The concert is sponsored in part by a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Tickets are $20 for adults and $5 for students. Group rates are available. For tickets and information, call 978-682-4050 or visit


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