‘Nutcracker’ performances benefit FISH

On Saturday, Dec. 14, two performances of “Scenes from the Nutcracker” are planned at The Hood River Middle School Auditorium, performed by local ballet students of the Columbia Gorge Dance Academy.

This is the 5th annual benefit performance for FISH and Hospice of the Gorge. The public is invited to come see this traditional holiday ballet by bringing canned food for FISH, or a cash donation for Hospice. Performance times are 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Different casts will perform at each one.

Nancy Clement, ballet director at Columbia Gorge Dance Academy, danced in “The Nutcracker” over 100 times a year as a professional dancer with Ballet West, a ballet company in Salt Lake City, Utah. Her experience and excitement merge as she shares these traditional holiday dances with her students. “Scenes from The Nutcracker” began in Hood River with performances at local senior centers.

Community interest began to grow, and four years ago the production was moved to the stage and opened to the public as an annual fund-raiser.

Hannah Jacobson, a junior at Hood River Valley High School, will dance the lead role of the Sugar Plum Fairy. Hannah Diers and Hannah Wesner will dance the role of Clara. Karl Priest, a middle school teacher in The Dalles, masterfully performs the role of Herr Drosselmeyer, the town toy maker. Dolls and Bears will be danced by Katie Alaimo, Klara Apland, Madeline Priest, and Mindy Taylor. Lydia Diers will dance the role of the Dew Drop Fairy.

The majority of the ballet is staged by Nancy Clement, based on the version by the late William C. Christensen, the first person in America to choreograph “The Nutcracker.”

Margaret Dallman creates the snow scene and works with the Sugar Plum Fairies. Theresa Mason, a ballet teacher at the Academy, has choreographed the Russian dance. Rachel Krummel, drama director at Hood River Valley High School, and her students coordinate the lights and volunteer as back stage assistants.

Numerous parents have come forward to help by sewing costumes, assisting as “Helping Moms,” donating money for sets and costumes, and lending their support to ensure a successful production, according to Clement.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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