Gorge Winds performs Christmas Concert Sunday

The Gorge Winds concert band, a 45-member adult community band, plays its Christmas Concert on Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. at The Dalles Civic Auditorium.

The concert will feature an hour and a half of Christmas music including an arrangement of “Silent Night” by the ever popular Mannheim Steamroller, “White Christmas,” and a rousing, foot-stomping “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.”

Director Sam Grotte said the volunteer musicians “play music for the sheer joy of it.”

During most of the year, they play for outdoor festivals, schools, hospitals, nursing homes and college graduations. The music runs from Broadway show tunes to light classical, marches and pops — much like the programs of the Boston Pops, but without string instruments. The Gorge Winds is a “wind band,” meaning clarinets, flutes, saxophones, trumpets, trombones, baritone horns, tubas and lots of percussion “toys.”

Extremely popular in the early years of the 20th century, concert bands are making a comeback, according to Grotte, of White Salmon. There are now thousands in the United States and a lot more in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, etc., and more each year. In the heyday of concert bands, nearly every town of more than a thousand had a band and a fine covered bandstand, so they could play outdoors in less than perfect weather.

The Gorge Winds was started about three years ago with about 22 musicians. It’s grown to over 45 and the musicianship has certainly outgrown its physical size. The band’s members hail from nearly every community from Stevenson to Goldendale to Condon to the Tri-Cities, but most folks come from The Dalles and Hood River.

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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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