Cascadia Chorale, Pipestone Orchestra, a capella group on tap
By Ann McCreary
For three decades Cascadia has gathered the community together, as performers and audience, to celebrate the holidays through music.
This year Cascadia is celebrating not only the holidays but also the Cascadia Chorale’s 30th anniversary at the annual Holiday Concerts on Dec. 15 and 16 at 7 p.m. in the Methow Valley Community Center.
The chorale is 44 singers strong, and will present a diverse program of music under the direction of Dana Stromberger.
Stromberger has been involved with the Chorale for most of its existence — 26 years — and is in her fifth year as director.
“We’ve got a fun program. It’s varied, with some international flair to it. There will be some old favorites too. People will hear things they recognize and love,” Stromberger said.
The program includes traditional carols, including a new arrangement of “Bring a Torch Jeannette Isabella” by local composer and guitarist Terry Hunt.
The chorale will also offer some not-so-traditional songs, Stromberger said. “One is a fun Hanukah piece in a language called Ladino … the language of Sephardic Jews, a combination of Spanish and Hebrew.”
The Holiday Concert features music by the Pipestone Orchestra, both accompanying the choir and performing its own pieces.
Conductor Tara Kaiyala Weaver has chosen music that includes “The Nutcracker Suite” by Tchaikovsky, selections from the movie Polar Express, and pieces from The “Faithful Shepherd Suite” by Handel.
This year’s orchestra, with about 30 members, includes five young musicians who have graduated from the youth orchestra to the Pipestone Orchestra, Weaver said.
“The Pipestone Youth Orchestra is the orchestral training ground,” she said.
The Holiday Concerts will feature a new musical group — a 12-member choir of mothers and daughters who will perform three a capella songs.
“They are also musicians in other fashions who wanted to get together and sing,” said Shannon Polson, who is directing the group. Polson is a Winthrop resident and a singer with Seattle Pro Musica, a longstanding choral group.
The daughters range in age from elementary school to high school, Polson said. “They are great ladies and great girls and they’ve done a terrific job.”
The concerts will be hosted by Kelly Donoghue, who will share memories of past performances and participants in honor of the chorale’s 30th anniversary.
Admission to the popular concerts is by donation, and the Community Center gym usually fills up for the performances.
For people who want to assure a seat in the front two or three rows, reserved seats are available in advance through brownpapertickets.com. For more information call 997-0222.