Recorded works will be aired on KTRT
In a longstanding Methow Valley tradition, hundreds of valley residents gather together in the Community Center in Twisp each December to share music of the holidays performed by members of the local orchestra and chorale.
In this season of COVID-19, however, packing the gym for a community concert is out of the question. The good news is that the show will go on — but like so many holiday traditions this year, it will be a very different event.
Cascadia Music, the organization that presents the annual holiday concerts, has devised a creative way to give local musicians the opportunity to bring seasonal music to the community. Cascadia invited musicians and singers to record and videotape performances, while taking appropriate protective measures.
The recorded performances are being arranged into a virtual concert, which will be broadcast on the valley’s local radio station, KTRT (97.5) on Saturday, Dec. 12 at 7 p.m. and on Sunday, Dec. 13 at 2 p.m. A video of the performances will also be available on the Cascadia website, http://www.cascadiamusic.org.
The broadcasts on Dec. 12 and 13 will hopefully help fill the void of the traditional jam-packed community performances, said Rebecca Gallivan, Cascadia’s executive director. “We are going to present it like an event. We encourage people to gather with family and listen together at home …along with their dogs and cats,” Gallivan said.
The broadcast concert will be about an hour long and feature seven ensembles of musicians and a vocal group singing carols. Performances include a piano/saxophone duet, brass duet, piano/flute duet, flute trio, the Tamarack Quartet (strings), the Cub Quartet youth strings ensemble, an adult chamber group, and carolers.
The music chosen by performers is joyful and uplifting, Gallivan said. “People very strongly wanted to focus on positive music that brings us together for the holidays.”
Gift to community
This is Cascadia’s 34th year of presenting free holiday concerts as a “gift to the community,” Gallivan said. “We wanted to make sure we didn’t miss a year.”
In March, Cascadia held its annual spring Musicians of the Methow concert, “right before we got the news we would be shutting down and facing restrictions” to control the spread of the coronavirus, Gallivan said. Realizing that “live music was going to be in jeopardy,” Cascadia began thinking about other ways to bring music to the community during the holidays, she said.
Earlier this fall, Cascadia put out a call to musicians and singers, inviting them to participate in a recorded concert. They came together in small groups to rehearse, using masks (except for people playing wind or brass instruments), staying 6 feet apart, and opening windows to increase ventilation.
“When COVID hit this spring, we all just hunkered down at home,” said Pam Hunt, a cellist with the Pipestone Orchestra and chamber ensembles, and a strings instructor. “By summer, we were all really missing playing together, so we started weekly rehearsals. Over the summer, we met in the Commons Park with social distancing, and when it got colder, we moved into my studio with masks, social distancing, and an air purifier.”
In mid-November, Cascadia board members decorated Hunt’s music room in the Community Center in holiday decor, and musical groups were recorded and videotaped by Terry Hunt, a musician and videographer. “We wanted to make sure we had good production values and great sound,” Gallivan said.
The carolers, organized by Gallivan, gathered outside in the Commons Park to sing. “I think people were just grateful for a chance to be masked up and share music,” Gallivan said. “The concert is presented as a hopeful message of joy for the season, until we can gather again.”