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15th annaul Christmas cantata planned at Grace Baptist Dec. 4

This year three performances planned

Mid Columbia Community Choir will present its 15th annual Christmas Concert with the performance of "Bethlehem Morning" and "Christmas Messiah Sing."

There will be three concert dates to choose from this year -- Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m. in the Hood River Valley Christian Church, Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m. in the Parkdale Community Church, and Dec. 4 at 4 p.m. in the Grace Baptist Church in White Salmon.

No advance tickets are required but a freewill offering will be received during the program.

The Hood River concert will benefit FISH, the local food bank, and in White Salmon this year's performance will benefit the Evangelical Pastors Association and Mt. Adams Ministerial Associates Emergency Funds. Last year, over $2600 was given to help these organizations.

The 65 voice choir was started in 1989 by Bob Van Alstine of White Salmon. Each year, with the exception of two, Mid Columbia Community Choir has presented a Christmas Cantata for the communities of the region. Van Alstine retired from leadership of the choir in 2001 and in 2003 Perry Cole became the new director.

The choir has been well received each year and the concerts have become a must hear tradition for many in the Mid Columbia area, as the holiday season begins. Cole has included something new each year to the choir's schedule and this year has added a third performance to be held in Parkdale.

Cole has indicated that he will seek out each year one of the smaller communities in the surrounding area, suitable to present a third performance.

"The choir works very hard, giving up 13 evenings to rehearse and so the opportunity to perform the music one more time is not only a bonus to the community, but the choir as well," says Perry.

Lana Kent, long time accompanist for the group, will again be at the piano along with Nancy Krieg on keyboard, Jerry Keith on bass guitar and Pat Tapia on percussion during the cantata performance of "Bethlehem Morning" arranged and orchestrated by Mary Hamby.

David Sauter and Aurora Hindahl join voices on the piece entitled "A Strange Way to Save the World," with Dan Nielson, Tim Wilson, Ashley Salisbury and Anita Decker joining their voices in a praise team during the arousing closing number, "Ring the Bells of Heaven."

The choir will also perform a 10 minute musical entitled, "Christmas Messiah Sing" edited and abridged for volunteer choir by Tom Fettke. Ashley Salisbury and Anita Decker will be featured soloists as the choir sings excerpts from Handel's "Messiah," ending in the ever popular "Hallelujah Chorus."

This year's performance will again close in a choral benediction of Randal Thompson's, "Alleluia."

The doors will open at 7 p.m. for the 7:30 concerts in Hood River and Parkdale and 3:30 p.m. for the 4 p.m. concert in White Salmon.


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